THE EFFECTS OF TELEVISION ON SOCIETY December 12th, 2007 At the end of the XVIIIth century, scientists have discovered a way to transmit an image from a point to another. It was the beginning of television. Since then, every household has a television. Over the years, it has revolutionized people’s life. Now, as it has become a spread consumer good, everybody has one television at home, even sometimes, two or more. It has changed people’s life because the television is seen as a mean of entertainment.
The striking point is that television has become a usual good whereas in the past it was almost considered as an expensive good that not all the families could afford. By watching television, people are easily able to escape from the routine of their everyday life, and to relax. In other words, television is a mean of discovering, exploring, learning, dreaming, and thinking. However, even if it has changed people’s life and has a good effect on them, it has many bad effects on them too. In fact, it is also a mean to destroy people’s life.
It destroys people life because, in most of the cases, it influences a lot of people. Orson Welles, a famous American screenwriter, film and theatre director, a film producer and an actor in films, and theatres, once said: “I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts”. This quotation is a way to show to people that television can be compared as a drug that people cannot get rid off. Like drugs, it makes people doing things that, in most cases, they would not have done. Actually, it has a strong power of influencing people in a bad way.
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It influences the ones who are psychological weak, and people who cannot make the difference between the fiction and the real life. As a result, some people think that violence on television influences people because they are not able, to see what is true and what is false. However, even if it has some bad sides, television is seen as educational and a mean to develop people’s knowledge. Even if books and newspapers are the two most important ways of learning, television had conquest people’s heart and now is trusted by lots of them.
Television has many bad sides and bad effects that can be very dangerous for people and the ones who live around them. It destroys people’s life in a way, and sometimes pushes them to do things they would not have thought they would have done such as commit crimes. Over the years, television has become a drug for a large amount of people. In fact, they cannot live without it and have to watch it everyday. People became addicted to their everyday shows, and cannot live without watching them. Actually, some people cannot imagine their everyday life without a television.
Television has become their most popular hobby. It is, in fact, the most popular one even before sport or going out with some friends. Socialization does not seem anymore to be a priority in people’s life. It seems that nowadays, people prefer watching TV rather than doing other things. According to the website www. turnoffyourtv. com, people spend about two hours per day in front of their television set. In this survey, men are pointed out because they spend more time watching television than women. So, they are more addictive than women because they watch television between two and three hours per day.
It is all the more outstanding as television has become most popular than other hobbies such as sport that could be more interesting. To show that people are really addicted to television, the Media Awareness Network website says that “A scientific American article entitled "Television Addiction" examined why children and adults may find it hard to turn their TVs off. According to researchers, viewers feel an instant sense of relaxation when they start to watch TV—but that feeling disappears just as quickly when the box is turned off.
While people generally feel more energized after playing sports or engaging in hobbies, after watching TV they usually feel depleted of energy. According to the article "this is the irony of TV: people watch a great deal longer than they plan to, even though prolonged viewing is less rewarding. " Because of this addiction, people can withdraw into themselves and live apart from the society they are living in. According to another website, children spend twenty five hours per week in front of their television set instead of spending their free time playing with their friends or practicing sports.
This behavior should alert their parents because going outside and meeting people are parts of their education. As a result, children should not stay all day long in their house watching television and playing video games. It is not good for their education as well as for their socialization. Moreover, the television has other bad consequences and the first target is children. In addition to what was said previously, television influences the youngest. In fact, children are an easy target for television producer.
They are much more easily influenced than adults for example. As a result, they can be influenced by violent movies such as thrillers, and can have a weird and violent behavior after having watching such a movie. Watching a violent show can give children the taste of violence and other related behaviors. As they are innocent, they cannot make the difference between what fiction is and what reality is. They want to do what their superheroes do, no matter what. As a result, watching a violent movie can affect in a bad way the weaker.
It can make them thinking about murders and sometimes make them committing crimes. Even a person who comes from a well educated and wealthy family can be touched by it. It does not only affect people with financial and other problems. As a result to this violence on television, on April 19th, 2001, in Columbine High School, Colorado, two teenagers named Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed twelve students and one teacher and then killed themselves. They had guns that they had ordered online and homemade bombs they had made days before the massacre.
According to the media, they did that because they were both influenced by television and both influenced by a singer named Marilyn Manson and his music videos. Moreover, as they were the victims of mockeries and were rejected by the others, they decided to killed people to show them that they were not as stupid as they thought. In a way, both killers were influenced by violent movie. They were both full of anger and were ready to kill everybody. In fact, in the cybercollege website, it is said that the more children watch television, the more aggressive they become in the future.
Moreover, they would be more likely to repeat what they have seen on television. In addition to that, an article in changingchannels. com says: “Basically, what these studies indicate is that violent media images tend to make us all just a bit more aggressive and impatient. The effect is more dramatic on children, who mentally process media violence the same way they would actual violence -- and can be traumatized by exposure to excessively violent scenes. ” As a shocking fact to prove that, in howtotalktoyourkids. om website in 2001, 75% of boys and 60% of girls said that they hit somebody in the past year because they were angry. Another outstanding fact that could be added is the event that occurred on April 16th, 2007 in the United States of America. Seung-Hui Cho, an American Korean who was a senior at Virginia Tech University, killed thirty three people and killed himself. His motivation to commit murders was because he wanted to kill people. In other words, he did that just to kill and to have blood on his hands. In fact, this student had psychological problems as doctors said.
However, he was not the only one to be blamed. In fact, as he was also part of a generation that spends their time watching violent movies and that is very easily influenced, television should also be blamed. Plus, by watching such movies, kids can think that violence resolves any problems they have to face. As a result, they are willing to practice bullying, to employ swear words and to hit people if they do not have what they want or if they are disappointed of something. They think this is the only way and do not think that talking could be a good solution.
Moreover, the ones who watch violent movies could become afraid of the reality. They could, in fact, think that what happens in movies could become true. It can destabilize them. As a result, they can have psychological problems. The university killer had psychological problems, so people can say that he may have watched violent show on television when he was young, and since then he had been traumatized. Then, people should be aware that sometimes wrong information is given on television. As a result, people should remain conscious that information can be amplified to scare people.
Most of the time, the weaker cannot see what is wrong and what is true. People should listen to what is said on television; but to confirm what they have learned they should read the newspapers, for example, to expand their knowledge and to have many different points of view to construct their culture. The more information people have about a subject, the more able they are to see what could be true and what could be false. So, while everybody is sitting in front of the screen, many people work “behind” the television set. Who are these people see?
Who controls what will be shown and what won’t? People do not know anything about what happens backstage, and all these people who are working hard “behind” have a big influence on television viewers. Most of the viewers do not know it, but they work in order to control their mind. Even if they think they can have their own opinion on what they are seeing, television has an important influence on people’s thoughts. If people do not know a part of an information, or if they only have one point of view about the news, they can not be really objectives.
In fact, television is absolutely not objective! There are too many possibilities to influence people thanks to television (for politics, or economics managers) than it is a very practical way to introduce some ideas in households and in people’s minds. Television also influences people in their way of consuming goods. It has, in fact, increased the amount of goods purchased per family. Kids sometimes see some toys on television advertisement and want it because it is brand new. They are always influenced by new products coming out and their parents have to buy the toys they want.
Because of television and its commercials, people are willing to buy the same things. So, television is used by brands to promote themselves. That’s why there is a lot of advertising on television, during movies, between programs. Companies use the fact that many people watch television to set their spots when many people will see it. As a result to that, most of households have felt into a society of mass consumption that increases each year. Finally, television has bad effects of people’s healthy development. Researches were made to prove to people that watching television increases people’s obesity.
In fact, people like eating junk food and drinking sodas while watching television. Excess of nibbling between main dishes is not good for people’s body and increases a lot their weight. A lot of American families cannot spend their television time without eating food. They need at least something to put in their mouth to feed them. However, it does not only touch the American culture. As the Media Awareness Network website shows, almost one in four Canadian children, between seven and twelve years old, is obese (researches made by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada).
Moreover, watching too much television during the same period of time is not good for people’s eyes. In fact if people stay focus in the same position and in the dark while watching their favorite show, it will damage their eyes vision. In addition to that, smokers smoke a lot of cigarettes while there are in front of their television set. So, it increases a lot the possibility for them to have a cancer. It also touch people’s health because instead of doing sport people do another one which is “coach potato”. This sport is not a good one for people’s health. As a result, people do not lose ny weight because most of them spend a lot of their free time in front of their television set. However, some people think television is good for everybody because positive points can be seen. In fact, even it influences a lot the weaker; it gives a lot of useful information and is a mean of learning. First, television is a new way of learning. When television first arrived, it was a revolution for people because they could get the chance to have news from it by watching the daily news magazine. It gives people information about what happen all around the world.
It is a mean to have more information so that people can easily make up their mind. In fact, by reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, and then watching documentary shows or news on television, people can increase a lot their knowledge. Television is also seen as a mean to learn. For example, in schools teachers use a lot television to show to their students some documentaries that could be related to their courses. This is seen as an incentive for students. Thanks to it, they can make direct relationships between what their teachers have taught them and what they have seen on television.
As teenagers were born with a television, not as most of the teachers were, the teachers think that using television could interest them more. Laurie Rozakis, a writer, focuses a lot of the good effects television has on people. In fact, in Writing Essentials for the Pre-GED Student, she stresses the fact that television helped her in three different ways. First, it helped her to learn English better, and then, it helped her to learn more about the country she was living in: the United Sates of America. The third way was that television helped her to stay out of trouble.
She did not go outside at night because she was watching the shows she liked the most. Then, television is a way to escape from reality. Sometimes, it helps people dreaming about a new world for example. Some movies can help them traveling. For example, the ones who cannot travel would enjoy watching a travel documentary of the country they are dreaming about. Television also gives the “family model” through shows on television. It is the model everybody dreams about. In addition to that, people who have financial problems or who are in hospital can escape their problems by watching television.
Thanks to that, they forget for some hours what they have to endure every day. Television is also a family time. It gathers people around the same thing. The Media Awareness Network website focuses a lot on the fact that television is good for family values. First, it allows people to spend time together. Nowadays, people do not have a lot of time to spend with their family. As they spend many hours at works and in transportations, they do not get the chance to have time with their family, except during week ends. As a result, television watched at fix hours allowed them to gather and to discuss together about important subjects.
The more information people have from others, the better it is for them and their general culture. As a result to these discussions, children would learn more from it and would become more open-minded. Moreover, they can have the chance to discuss these subjects in class, and give their own opinion to their class. To conclude, the effects the television has on people are an opened debate since many years and would still be in the future. Even if it has bad repercussions, such as fear of the others, violence, mass consumption, it has also good effects. In a way, television increases people’s knowledge.
It gives them more information about an event, and it gathers people round the same sofas to share ideas, opinions and feelings. As the Media Awareness Network website says “Parents should also pay close attention to what their children see in the news since studies have shown that kids are more afraid of violence in news coverage than in any other media content. Fear based on real news events increases as children get older and are better able to distinguish fantasy from reality. ” It has been shown that television is something very important in households, and that many people care a lot about their television and about what is shown.
However, people who control television channels know that and they try to influence people. They know that what they will show will be heard by thousands of people and that it will have an important influence on the society, and sometimes on the consumption. So, people should seriously take into consideration that television has both good and bad effects on them. These people should warn the youngest about what is good and what is bad, and what to do with the massive information the television gives them. BIBLIOGRAPHY Rozakis, Laurie. Writing Essentials for the Pre-GED Student. Thomson Peterson’s. 2003: 182. • Changing Channels Website. http://www. changingchannels. org/effects1. htm. 16 October 2006. • Media Awareness Network website. http://www. media-awareness. ca/. • Kill Your Television. http://www. turnoffyourtv. com. • How To Talk To Your Kids website. http://howtotalktoyourkids. com/index_base. html • Medias Literacy Review. 15 October 2006 http://interact. uoregon. edu/medialit/mlr/readings/articles/front. html
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