Watching TV Can Be a Genuine Addiction; RESEARCH: Television Can Work in Same Way as Habit-Forming Drugs, Say Scientists

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

Watching TV Can Be a Genuine Addiction; RESEARCH: Television Can Work in Same Way as Habit-Forming Drugs, Say Scientists


Byline: HUGH DOUGHERTY

TELEVISION addicts have the same symptoms as alcoholics or drug addicts, according to a study published yesterday.

The research, by US scientists, claims television addiction is a real affliction which works in the same way as habit-forming drugs and leaves sufferers craving more viewing.

Professors Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi make the claim in The Scientific American and argue that watching television is like gambling or sex in the way people become addicted to it.

"The term 'TV addiction' is imprecise and laden with value judgments, but it captures the essence of a very real phenomenon, " said the scientists.

According to the professors' research, people in the developed world spend an average of three hours each day watching television, while opinion polls show up to 70pc of teenagers and 40pc of adults worry that they watch too much television - and 10pc of adults call themselves addicts.

In their study, the researchers paged volunteers up to eight times a day and asked them to write down what they were doing and how they felt when they received the message.

"People who were watching TV when we beeped them reported feeling relaxed and passive, " the scientists wrote.

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