Asked by: Toby Graham, Shrewsbury
The idea that technologies, like TV, can be considered truly addictive in the same way as substances like nicotine and alcohol is controversial. Nonetheless, many of us spend huge amounts of time watching TV and – if we are honest – often more than we would like.
Alongside the more obvious pulling power of cliffhangers and plot twists, TV’s main attraction comes from its ability to serve many of our most basic psychological needs on tap, and with little cost. It allows us to alter our emotions, to learn, to find out what’s happening in the world, and to enjoy long-running, so-called ‘para-social’, relationships with fictional characters, who can serve as substitute friends and relatives. And all this from the comfort of our sofas.