TV-sets were invented in the 1920s but today, almost everyone has one. Whether one is a billionaire with the latest flat-screen LCDs in every room or whether one is an average shop keeper in Ethiopia with an old set, the fact is the same: everyone knows the importance of owning a TV to be connected to the world and watch entertainment. In fact, this invention has affected people’s lives so much that people are shocked when someone admits to not owning one. Despite the large influence of TVs, there are those who see it as a threat to their mental peace and to their households. This is to the group that believes TVs are great sources of learning, for reaching out to international audiences, and for entertainment.
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Those people who are against televisions say that they affect society negatively. The biggest concern is that sex and violence is the focus of entertainment, both through direct and indirect content. Mostly in the West than in any other part of the world, criminal offenses, drug problems, teenage pregnancies, killings, burglaries and crimes against women are all connected to information presented on TVs. Since teenagers are the largest audience, they are targeted the most through advertisements, movies, various products, and even news. During the innocent teenage years, people’s morality values are negatively affected.
Furthermore, the so-called educated adults use TV for their own evil purposes. For instance, advertisers depend on vulnerable audiences to blindly follow their colorful and tempting commercials. Whether it is food or sex, there is an advertisement for everything. Young people are constantly pressurized to have the latest trends in technology, music, clothing and much more. This separates people socially and disables the human mind to think for itself. In fact, people have stopped being creative and good consumers because of such negative advertising.
Next, there are hundreds of channels just for movies and music. The problem is that actors, directors, producers, or anyone in Hollywood could care less about the messages they are sending through their films. Movies are focused on business and commercial success and people will do anything to make movies that will sell. Kids watch movies and music videos all day and have unlimited access to R-rated adult material, which contains immoral things like nudity and drugs. They then the immediately memorize the latest song lyrics and dialogues and idealize uneducated yet popular celebrities who have little or no morality in their life styles.
Another negative effect is that ever since TV became popular, people do not do other things like playing sports, spending time with friends and family, reading, and exercising. This is because when a person has a free time (or weekend); he or she grabs the potato chips and the remote, jumps on the couch and starts ‘flipping’ channels. The black box is such an addiction that even babies have their own channels that babysit them while their parents are busy. These are the reasons why Americans are facing health problems, kids are becoming rude, and there is a lack of communication skills and good grades. Depression and other mental problems are also a concern because people watch horror and crime movies on TV.
Even though there is a dark side of TV, there is a more positive side as well, if people watch it in moderation. Many people argue that it is up to the parents to control their children’s television exposure. Television is not the only influence in child’s life and therefore, it should not be blamed for all behavior problems. Other things like friends, teachers, neighbors, family and events also influence kids’ personalities. In fact, the biggest responsibility is on the adults like parents and teachers, for educating kids about what is reality and what is fiction. These adults need to teach kids how to do things with a balance.
As for TV violence increasing crime rates, there are cases which prove that there is not always a connection between watching violence and doing it. For instance in some countries, like Japan, people watch a lot of action films but the country’s crime rate is significantly lower than most countries around the world. It seems that the TV, video games or other such influences are purposely attached to criminal offences and this is not right because now criminals can blame the TV for their actions and get away with it. For children, parents can use parental controls in their television settings.
Focusing on advertisements and their impact, they are more beneficial than harmful. Their number one benefit is that they reach out to the average middle class man or woman informing them about the latest resources available, such as clothing stores, medicines, cars, and much more. Without commercials, people would not be actively aware of what goods and resources are there for their advantage or how old resources are improving each day. Advertisers work diligently to present even the dullest and complicated information in ways that are not only fun but also simple to understand. In fact, many people appreciate this diligence and look forward to commercials during long football games or even during some entertainment segments.
Moreover, television has a lot of educational programs and people can learn a lot through them. There are even special channels that have learning material for people who want to learn. Many people do not have finish school get surrounded with things like family responsibilities and jobs. Educational programs via TV give people an opportunity to increase their knowledge in various fields while doing their daily chores at the same time. Even though people cannot receive their academic degrees, they can always learn something new because of television.
Contrary to what television haters believe, television does not cause people to waste their time, gain weight, decrease in health, or have social problems with friends or family. Human beings have free will and are responsible for their own actions. People have full control over their lives and how they bring up their children, so a lack of communication should not be blamed on television but instead on the ability of the parents to teach their kids how to do things with balance. Even though everyone has TVs, not everyone is fat because of them or socially awkward. In fact, people are informed about what is going on around them and those who want to can even exercise by watching fitness programs on TV.
All in all, whether one thinks that television is the greatest invention ever or the biggest curse, the person’s views depend on his or her personal experiences. Those who can control their schedules and limit TV time can easily make room for other things, but those who cannot control themselves have many problems and it seems as if it is because of what they watch on TV. There is no doubt that what a person watches impacts him or her directly, but it is also a fact that everyone has a choice of what they choose to do and watch on television. Before deciding to throw out the television or get the latest flat screen, one should look at the pros and cons and decide which scenario suits his/her personal needs and circumstances.