A percentage of people will argue that television is nothing but garbage, while others will demand that TV is a tool for good. Some people blame television shows for all of the world’s violence, while others see it for being a resource for education. Who is right and who is wrong? Well, it is not as simple as that. The truth does not come packaged nicely in a concrete answer, rather it is more of a discussion with compelling arguments on both sides.
The Pros of Watching Television
Those who are opposed to television time might ask if there are any advantages to it at all. Yet, here are some of the pros of watching television:
- Television is a cheap and easy source of entertainment in this life that is quite busy and expensive. It provides us with access to international news, making it easy to stay informed about world news.
- There are also channels that are exclusively educational that increase our knowledge about the world around us. PBS and Discovery are just a few of the educational channels available.
- DIY channels provide access to information on cooking, home improvement, investing, and so much more. Many people even use television to help them learn another language.
- Television also provides a way for people to realize dreams or goals that they didn’t even know they had, and it can give them a push in the right direction.
- Social Surrogacy is the term used by psychologists to explain how television can make people feel less lonely. It sort of fills the shoes of absent family or friends. Television also helps people to expand their minds through watching others travel and being taught about different cultures and societies, giving us a broader understanding of the world that we live in.
- Television events like the Olympics or an award show can gather families and friends around in a central location, where they are able to discuss their thoughts and feelings on the particular event.
The Cons of Watching Television
This list could go on and on, but here are a few of the highlights.
- The violence, crime, and sex depicted on television shows can have negative impacts on young, impressionable children. Some researchers argue that the kids that see these violent acts are more likely to reenact this violent and aggressive behavior.
- Watching too much television is also bad for your health. Watching more than 3 hours of television a day may contribute to behavior problems, sleep difficulties, health issues, and lower grades.
- Too much television can also make you antisocial, and it is potentially a waste of time. The time that is spent watching television could be spent doing something productive like being social with other people, doing physical activity, enjoying the outdoors, reading, chores, or homework.
- Some people fear that television brainwashes people into consumerism. Advertisers target children and on average, children will see 40,000 advertisements per year, many of them being for snack foods and alcohol. The motive is to get consumers to buy.
- Television can be seen as making people shallow, because that’s what the majority of the content is. Many programs do not go into detail about issues, or they actively present them in a way that is biased. It has also been said that too much television can ruin relationships. This happens when someone is spending too much time watching the TV, and not enough time with the ones that they love.
- Oddly enough, television can also be addictive. Those who watch a lot of TV may find it harder to stop. Some studies have found that as much as 12% of TV watchers are unhappy with the amount of TV that they are watching, and would consider themselves addicted and feel incapable of stopping this habit.
To conclude, television time can both positively and negatively affect the viewer, although children tend to be affected more adversely than adults.