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Watching TV - Essay on The Positive and Negative Effects



EssayChat / Dec 26, 2016

When looking at the effect of watching TV in America, it is possible to say that it has become a defining factor as what it means to be an American starting from the 1950s. Watching TV had become as important as sleeping, going to work, and eating meals when looking at it from the perspective of the time designated to it and had been responsible for shaping the culture and norms of the American populous. This demonstrates the existence of cause and effect relationship where if Americans were not watching TV there way of doing things might have been totally different. The reason for that is TV had been impacting how people work, how they mate initially, and how they rear their families, how they spend their spare time, and for the youth how they approach their school life as a whole. Whatever TV had been promoting or propagating about values, morality, and lifestyles have had a negative, as well as a positive effect on the lives, expectations, norms, behaviors, and interactions of Americans for many years.

What the Statistics Figures Are Saying



Watching TV ResearchClose to 98% American households have TV and the dwellers in each household, whether it is the parents or the children on average could spend at least 5-6 hours watching TV. The average TV watching hours could easily surpass 30 hours a week revealing that it is only work that surpasses watching TV when seen in the life of an average American. Based on such assumptions, the major effect of TV-watching had been that the American society that was heavily reliant on the written work for getting most of its information had become heavily dependant on what the modern TV had been availing in various forms such as shows, movies, and commercials that are available in big numbers showing the total volume of programs is inexhaustible.

According to Hoppenstand , earlier shows that had left their mark on the American public such as Leave it to Beaver, Small House on the Prairie, Twilight Zone, and to a good extant Cheers all had very sophisticated storytelling styles, whose metaphor had been easy to adapt into the Americans everyday life. When comparing these shows to what is taking place today that is dominated mostly by reality TV, all that camaraderie and the sense of community had disappeared and in its place people had become passive viewers. Such outcome could demonstrate that the producers of some of today's shows have made their priority making money, instead of advancing the cause of the American way of life.

When looking at the cause and effect of TV, it is possible to highlight areas where such effects are felt the most. Allor (2006) had demonstrated how people's eating pattern had been influenced by the barge of commercials that are bombarding them when they turn on their TV everyday. Their interaction had also been heavily influenced by what the TV programs are showing as a norm. It is not difficult to recognize the kind of power TV is exerting on the American public and had already become a long time ago, the center of everything replacing the family, the school, and even the church, in becoming the source of the right kind of information, for doing the right kind of things, and attain success in today's modern world. For many individuals TV is the place to be after school or work. Even on weekends most people tend to spend their time watching TV programs that broadcast sports in stead of going to the arenas and mingle with other people. The only problem is TV does not have a certain location that is open for everyone, since everyone watches TV in the seclusion of their own homes, eliminating the chance people would have had to interact with each other.

Brody, Stoneman, and Sanders had studied the effect of TV on family interaction and their findings indicate that there are obvious signs of family fragmentation that could be the outcome of lack of interaction, as a result of time spent on watching TV. Hence peoples life, their values, and norms at least in America could be controlled by industry leaders whose sole drive is making profit, the reason why some of the show could miserably fail to depict reality as it is. Unless a program is sensational, it does not attract viewers; hence the deviation from reality for the sake of entertaining could be tolerated. The photo below depicts what kind of programs are available for viewers on any given day.

Such approach could have a dire consequence especially on the youth that start out watching cartons that have become more abstract in order to entertain that could take them away from depicting reality as it is.

Positive Aspects of TV



Because of the fact that TV is becoming the center of existence for many Americans, it plays a significant role in shaping the American culture simply because some of its programs reflect the world we live in, without being biased or exaggerating. It is not only that, even schools and families recommend TV to the youth to find out how to survive in the modern world, because the answer could be there, although in a highly fragmented form. Furthermore, because of its affordability, both in terms of buying the equipment and paying for the programs, it has enabled the less financially endowed to have access to quality entertainment, informative broadcasting, commercials, and especially news not only from the home front, but also around the world. This is in addition to its effective use as an affordable and valuable pastime outlet, both the youth and adults can use for relaxing and passing time. At the same time it is not possible to deny some of the negative effects such as violence, drug use, crime scenes that could add to the stress level of the modern life and are better off left alone from being stereotyped in popular shows, but since such shows sell more, they are an avoidable.

Negatives Aspects of Watching TV



Coats and Feldman had shown that especially for the youth, there is a profound fear that watching TV could affect negatively skills such as cognition and social interaction. Furthermore, when taking into consideration the number of hours spent watching TV, areas such as reading skill could suffer, because TV watching can depress it. There are also some myths that could have adverse effect on the American society as a whole, because in most TV shows the standard of living of the people is contrary to what takes place in real life leading to shutting out a considerable segment of the society, such as the poor or under educated members of the workforce, not to mention certain ethnic groups. The various shows on TV are also blamed to be responsible for the excessive material pursuit seen among Americans that could interfere with the normal development of the population. According to the book Postman wrote, "Amusing Ourselves to Death" he had stated that what is ambiguous about TV is it is difficult to tell whether it is controlling vs. equipping or misleading vs. empowering. One thing clear according to him is that dealing with stimulating observation or looking at situations critically is frowned upon.


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