Paul Lachine

Una nación de vidiotas

NUEVA YORK – El pasado medio siglo ha sido la era de los medios masivos electrónicos. La televisión reformuló a la sociedad en cada rincón del mundo. Ahora una explosión de nuevos dispositivos mediáticos se suma al televisor: DVDs, computadoras, consolas de juegos, teléfonos inteligentes y más. Cada vez hay más evidencia que sugiere que esta proliferación de medios tiene infinidad de efectos negativos.

Estados Unidos lideró al mundo en la era de la televisión, y las implicancias se pueden ver más directamente en la prolongada relación amorosa de Estados Unidos con lo que Harlan Ellison memorablemente llamó "la teta de cristal". En 1950, menos del 8% de los hogares estadounidenses tenía un televisor; para 1960, el porcentaje había pasado a ser del 90%. Ese nivel de penetración en otros lugares se demoró muchas más décadas, y los países más pobres todavía no han alcanzado esa cifra.

Como era de esperarse, los norteamericanos se convirtieron en los mayores telespectadores del mundo, lo cual probablemente siga siendo válido hoy en día, aunque los datos son un tanto imprecisos e incompletos. La mejor evidencia sugiere que los norteamericanos miran más de cinco horas por día de televisión en promedio -un número sorprendente, dado que se pasan varias horas más frente a otros dispositivos que transmiten video-. Otros países registran muchas menos horas frente a la pantalla. En Escandinavia, por ejemplo, el tiempo que la gente pasa mirando televisión es aproximadamente la mitad que el promedio en Estados Unidos.

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