tvSmarter – Life in a TV Nation

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People Unplugged – new Website


People Unplugged – new Website

How does TV effect individuals and society?

A new website looking at the effects of TV has just gone live. Instead of short blog posts and/or links, will specialize in longer form essays and books reviews. Wilfred Clifton is the webmaster and author and in charge of the graphics. I am also a contributor, writing as Terry Severson.

Hope you will check it out!

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Snake oil salesmen selling torture


Excellent critique of the CIA torture program from a scientific point of view.

Originally posted on Mind Hacks:

The US Government has just released its report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, aptly branded the “torture report”, which is available online as a pdf.

It makes for appalling reading but sheds light on the role of two psychologists in the creation and running of what turned out to be genuinely counter-productive ‘enhanced interrogations’ that were used in preference to already productive non-abusive interrogations.

In the report the psychologists are given the codenames Grayson SWIGERT and Hammond DUNBAR but these refer to James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen who have been widely identified byothersources in the preceding years.

Mitchell and Jessen were both contractors, who, according to the new report, arrived at detention centres to direct CIA interrogations, despite having no interrogation experience, and in face of sometimes severe reservations of regular CIA staff.

Later, Mitchell and Jessen formed a company, Mitchell Jessen and Associates –…

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Why Are Parents Getting Arrested for Letting Their Kids Go to the Park Alone?

Kids, a photo by Stella Yodo on Flickr.

Is your child ready for grade one? According to a 1979 checklist there are number of things to look for, such as:

“3. Can your child tell, in such a way that his speech is understood by a school crossing guard or policeman, where he lives?

9. Can he be away from you all day without being upset?

8. Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?”



So in 1979 (not that long ago) it was considered normal for a 5 year old to be able to walk eight blocks unsupervised to the “store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home…”

Now, parents are being arrested for letting their kids go outside unsupervised:

“Working Mom Arrested for Letting Her 9-Year-Old Play Alone at Park”

“Nicole Gainey Was Arrested For Letting Her 7-Year-Old Son Walk To The Park Alone”

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Does too much TV damage the brain?

Via Whitedot Board:

Scientists at  Tohoku University in Japan decided to look at the brains of children (ages 5 to 18) and look for any differences between those who watched lots of TV and those who watched much less.

MRI brain scans showed children who spent the most hours in front of the box had greater amounts of grey matter in regions around the frontopolar cortex – the area at the front of the frontal lobe. But this increased volume was a negative thing as it was linked with lower verbal intelligence, said the authors, from Tohoku University in the city of Sendai. They suggested grey matter could be compared to body weight and said these brain areas need to be pruned during childhood in order to operate efficiently.”


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A repost of a beautifully written post about growing up without TV from the blog We Canoe.

Originally posted on We Canoe:

Reposted from my facebook page:

I consider my childhood to be idyllic, there was no tv or expensive toys but there were bikes, a canoe, the outdoors and as many trips to the library as I wanted, and I was always reading.

Kids are great at adapting, adults much less so and I’m very grateful that I was brought up without depending on money or television to provide entertainment.

I learned to enjoy all things active, and overall a pretty simple but happy existence. I may have been bored from time to time, but never for very long. I remember my dad saying – “if you’re bored, you’re boring”

I think about that all the time and consider it to be pretty accurate. I had a pretty (over) active imagination, and can still call upon it from time to time.

Incredulity is often the first reaction when people hear we…

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Turn-off Week 2014, May 5-11

Screen Free Week 2014

Screen Free Week 2014


CCFC had another excellent screen turn-off week May 5-11, 2014.

The emphasis was on families going screen free for a week (or at least going low-screen for a week).


My favorite write-up was by Traci McGrath. She described how her children have already gone low-TV, watching only about 1 hour per day, and how she was dreading losing that hour per day of uninterrupted time to get things done. But as it happened, things turned out much better than she anticipated:

“I try to make it a habit not to ‘entertain’ the kids all the time. I believe in giving them lots of opportunities to solve their own boredom with creativity – but during Screen Free Week, I hardly had the opportunity to push this little soap box of mine at all. They were so tapped into their own creativity, they were no longer coming to me to ask me what they could do, and they completely forgot to ask if they could “watch a show” (a question I’m used to fielding 2 or 3 times a day.) We still made a point to play together, but it was almost always the case that I was simply invited in to join a game they had invented or go on a scavenger hunt they had created.”

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