Television Harmful for Children

Though not in the way you’d expect (from the BBC):

“Falling television sets have injured nearly 200,000 children in the US over 20 years, a study has found. Most injuries were not serious, and only 2.6% required hospital admission, the study in the journal Pediatrics says. But the injury rate has climbed substantially for these accidents, it says.

Researchers say changes in the location of TV sets in the home may be responsible for the figure.Most injuries occur in children under five, with head and neck wounds the most common.”

It’s funny how we’re often most frightened by the most unlikely of events, but at the same time we ignore the more probable threats that exist.

Take the example of sharks: without a doubt more people are scared of sharks than of vending machines. However, the numbers show that more people are killed every year while getting a Pepsi than fighting off Jaws. And of course there is the fear of flying. This remains a common phobia despite the fact that we’re are far more likely to die on the way to the airport than in the plane itself.

It’s important to keep in mind that the way we feel often lacks a rational basis. Economics tell us that people discount the future, meaning that $5 dollars today is worth more in our minds than $5 dollars tomorrow. So things that can kill us today (like plane crashes and terrorist attacks) provoke more of a response than things that can kill us far into the future (like cancer and heart disease).

It takes a conscious effort to override this natural discounting, but being able to put the future in the proper perspective allows us to lead happier and healthier lives both now and in the long run.

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