Real-time war watching harming real lives? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Real-time war watching harming real lives?

March 25, 2003

Even though the war is thousands of miles away, it's playing out right in our own living rooms.

This war has unprecedented media coverage, with journalists imbedded with American troops. So anywhere there is a television set, the battlefield can be seen. This real time reporting might be negatively affecting our real lives.

You might say Tammy Conner is a news junkie, "Quite a bit, the television is never turned off at my house. I'm not watching it 24/7 but quite a bit of it." The TV is not off at the gym either. While she walks on the treadmill, she watches the latest developments in the war. Tammy is not the only one.

"Over the weekend six to eight hours over the weekend at least on the war, yeah." Myers Pait, a Korean War veteran, remembers when journalists were not allowed on the front lines, and doesn't think it's a good idea to have them there now, "I don't think it's good for the American people to see dead soldiers be it ours or the Iraqis. It doesn't serve a purpose. It's bad for the moral and I don't think it's good, not a good move."

"We've already seen people in the last few days this has affected and in 99 percent of cases, its negatively affected." Therapist John Stoeckel says the gory images of war arouse feelings of anxiety, sadness, even depression, "We get instant news, that's intriguing some people, holding people to the television. But we are not healthier people for it, our balance of life changed greatly."

Bodybuilder Ray Drake watches the war for about 25 minutes a day--and no more, "I think it's a drawback of this technology we have and letting reporters come in, but a lot of people think it's good. I don't think people should know all the gory details of war I really don't think that's good."

Striking the right balance--between watching the war and the rest of your life--is the only way to stay mentally fit. If watching the war is making you feel sad or anxious, Therapist John Stoeckel recommends you take a break. A good idea is spending some time with your family.

Posted at 3:50 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com