It is a fact of life that whenever anything new, good or useful is invented for our enjoyment and edification, it is soon corrupted by the immoral, the greedy and the evil among us.
Take, for instance, the internet. It never ceases to amaze me just how much useful information can be gained at the click of a button when once it took sometimes hours looking through encyclopaedias, manuals, dictionaries or thesauruses.
Yet if you type the word "porn" into Google, it will present you with 1.7 billion (yes, billion) pages of prurient material, some of which is so perverted and sickening to almost (yes, almost) put you off sex. And the worst of it is that it is readily available to anyone who knows how to work a computer.
Before the internet came television - one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. But it, too, has been corrupted by the immoral, the greedy and the evil.
It seems to me that since television first arrived in this country back in June, 1960 (just ask Google), it has progressively improved and degenerated in equal measure so that nowadays, like Google, much of the content is grubby, gruesome and unacceptable, at least to those of us who try to maintain some sort of moral and ethical standards.
So it didn't surprise me in the slightest that a Tauranga psychotherapist should tell this newspaper that children under 3 should not be watching any television and those up to 7 should be limited to 30 minutes a day.
Augustina Driessen said parents were jeopardising their children's futures allowing them to vegetate in front of the television for hours a day. And she reckoned that up to 75 per cent of children could be suffering problems associated with media overload, becoming monosyllabic and introverted through addiction to TV.
How right she is. Using the TV as a babysitter is one of the most destructive parental failures of the age and accounts for a lot of the misbehaviour, disrespect, anger, aggression, criminality and sexual immorality so common among children in our society today.
But it's not just the tiny tots who suffer from too much television watching. It has had a marked deleterious effect on our teenagers, too.
As Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ, told the Times: "One of our major concerns is that the 8.30pm watershed for families is just a farce. There is sexual content, foul language and sexual innuendo in programmes as early as 5.30pm.
"Also, adult-rated programmes are being promoted during the kids' viewing times, which is simply wrong. There have been plenty of studies which show the adverse effects on children of prolonged exposure to violence and sexual content."
He is right. It might not be the sole cause, but excessive TV watching has been linked to teen suicides, the increase in venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancies, crime and violence and the apparently mindless destruction of property.
It creates anger. Confronted every few minutes with people, products and services promoted as if they were absolutely necessary to a satisfactory lifestyle, is it any wonder that so many people, young people in particular, become angry that they cannot even aspire to such?
Unfortunately all the efforts of people like Mrs Driessen and Mr McCoskrie will largely fall on deaf ears, simply because so many parents are themselves addicted to TV, which they use to try to fill the emptiness of their own lives. So, what with social networks on the internet, and constant TV watching, we are producing generations of self-absorbed zombies who cannot communicate with others in person and face to face. How achingly sad.