Most people of my generation have never known life without television. We have grown up sitting in the living room in front of the flickering TV screen. It is hard for us to see how television affects our lives. The belief that television is destructive to communication among family and friends is quite common. On the other hand, television has increased the speed at which information travels, and it can transfer circumstances and images into our homes that previous generations never had. People tend to idealize the past; they imagine a group of family and friends entertaining themselves by playing games and telling stories around a warm fireplace, but I do not think that TV can be blamed for the lack of communication among family and friends.
Without a doubt, television is one of the most powerful means of communicating in the past decade, competing with other forms of communication such as the Internet, telephone, movies, cellular phones, and of course, our speech. Due to its extensive availability and enriched media with images and sounds, it is very difficult to keep it away from our lives. Television is a necessity of our lives like our meals, clothing, and home.
At first, the broadcasting industry was started for public purposes. Nowadays, as to the influences of television, some people say that television offers a relaxing time and useful information to us while others argue that television does not always have a good effect on us because of its hindrance to communication among people. However, television provides us with rich topics to talk about and a chance to get together with each other. Most of all, television helps us communicate with others. We watch television almost every evening with our family. For example, my father and I enjoy watching news or knowledge-based documentary programs. Watching these programs we sometimes discuss current affairs such as the Presidential election or economic problems. Likewise, hot issues on television like news or trendy programs are the most common topics among my friends in my college. If some of them did not watch television the previous night, they cannot even take part in the discussion because they have nothing to talk about. In this respect, since television provides us with various topics related to our lives, it helps us form our sense of intimacy with family or friends.
Next, television promotes our communication because it offers a chance to get together with families or friends. Nowadays, most people are so busy that they do not have much time to spend with family and friends. However, through TV programs, we can have a chance to get along with them. For instance, when the 2002 World Cup was held in Korea, many people had a great time with their family or friends. To watch soccer games, we gathered in front of TV with friends or family who we were alienated from for a long time. Consequently, such TV programs help us build up closer human relationships among people. Thus, I think television plays an important role in promoting communication with family or friends.
“Children are more likely to become actively engaged with anything that attracts them. Especially, television provides great interests with its variety of sounds and images to children”. They immediately desire for watching it whether content is neither too easy not too difficult to understand. By its providing some challenge, television allows them to gain an abundant vocabulary. Just like our muscles, the brain gets stronger when it is used, and declines when it isn’t used. Television is so commonly criticized as being bad for children that an important fact sometimes gets overlooked”. (ScienceDaily, 2001)
Some types of television viewing may actually enhance children’s intellectual development. Television contains an enormous variety of forms and content. In a study, the effects of television viewing depended on program content.”
There are always bad effects on children watching TV. Children who are TV viewers increasingly view life as an entertainment extravaganza in which they are fond of playing role in TV show, and there are aggressive content of current broadcasting that greatly affect children. Besides, it is inevitable to watch TV without facing revolting violence. Once more, the effects of television viewing depend on program content and genre. Children are required to be advised what right TV program to watch by their parents. (Carter Bill, 1996)
Children have no ability of choosing what is good or bad.Parents and teachers restrain children’s watching TV which is just ignoring their needs. Parents and teacher should be responsible for teaching how to manage their time and what benefits children acquire while watching TV. (Austin W.P, 2003)
“This problem was less severe before cable and the advent of hundreds of channels. The increase in choice has increased the probability of every family member being addicted to a different program on some channel and this eventually leads to time conflicts when two channels show their programs at the same time and there are different viewing demands. Among high-income families this results in more than one television in the house and the physical togetherness of the middle-class family is sacrificed to television addiction. Television addiction increases because in a given family there are people of different ages, genders, with differing levels of education, personal beliefs, intellectual orientation, and personal tastes.” (Television addiction, 2007)
Therefore, family members are obsessed with watching their favorite channels. Naturally, their watching time gradually increases and they become addicted to it after all.
Most of the people prefer spending time with their families and friends rather than spending time watching television. Television plays an important role in people’s lives. However, most people would definitely choose family and friends over television. Moreover, most knowledgeable people are aware of the harmful effects of watching too much television. Through my experience, after a long day at school, I had plenty of time talking with my parents. For me and my family, our precious time together can not be compared to anything.
In addition, the effect of television is simply not so great that it could be said to have “destroyed” communication among family and friends. Granted, communication among people in industrialized countries has decreased in recent years. It might be tempting to blame this problem on television since its rise roughly coincided with the decrease in time we spend with our families. However, I believe this situation is more likely due to increased pressures relating to work, school, and the economy. In my case, for example, I find that my pressures from studying are so great that I must often sacrifice time at home so that I can meet the challenges of achieving my own goals.
In some situations, however, it is true that TV is responsible for decreasing communication among family members. In my childhood in the countryside, I frequently saw parents and children watching television for hours every day, and they barely talked with one another. It seemed for them that television was a way to escape from when they were sad or in a miserable mood. However, admittedly television brought on bad circumstances
However, even in this case, I would say that television merely contributed to the bad situation, but it did not cause it; if television were nonexistent, surely these people would have found other escapes, alcohol or gambling, for example. In other words, people always find a way to do want they want to do.
Likewise, we need to realize that nobody forces us to sit in front of the TV. We can choose to turn it off and spend more time communicating with our loved ones. Instead of thinking of ourselves as victims of television, we should see how TV can be a good tool for us to use as we see fit. Also, we are able to use it to learn about the world or simply to entertain us when we are bored.
“Television addiction becomes a problem when a subject does not want to watch TV, but experiences an uncontrollable compulsion to start or continue watching.” It is common beliefs that stop watching TV is the fastest method to quit TV addiction. Addicted people just turn off TV screen and try to never approach to it when they find out first time. It may seem work at the beginning. However, as time goes on, they get stressed out by what they are restricted to. They should find out root cause of it and at least show some efforts. Even though it takes long to quit TV addiction, the main purpose is to find you feel free from TV watching.
It is common a belief that the fastest method to quit TV addiction by stop watching TV. Addicted people just turn off the TV and try to never approach it. It may seem work at the beginning. However, as time goes on, they get stressed out by what they are restricted to. They should find out the root cause of the addiction and at least show some efforts. Even though it takes a long to quit TV addiction, the main purpose is to be free from TV watching.
There are five steps that help us to deal with TV addiction. First of all, you keep a record of how much TV you watch every time you do. You need to know how much time you spend watching TV. Next, compare the amount of time you watch TV to average time people spending on TV. If you do more than the average, try to reduce the amount of time. Secondly, List all the other fun activities you can do at home instead of watching TV. Place your list on your refrigerator so you can check this list before you turn on the TV. Consider fun activities to do as family, household projects you would like to complete, outside activities, reading, exercise, etc. Third, set a limit for how much TV you will watch in later on. Fourth, record your time and stick to your commitment. You can control yourself spend watching time within limited time, Fourth, commit to exercising whenever you watch TV by walking on a treadmill, or riding a stationary bike. If you do so, you will feel less guilty about wasting your time watching TV. Last, Consider removing your TV for a set period of time. You might find yourself talking to your family again instead of watching the TV too much. (N/A, 2007)
From these beliefs, I strongly believe that television has not damaged or harmed interpersonal communication among families and most people. Most people think that television is simply a temporary means of spending time, and they do not use it to substitute for interpersonal communication. The damage is attributable to other social factors, not television. Therefore, all of us must choose what we want to do with our free time. We should quit thinking of ourselves as victims of technology and realize that technology offers us choices. Let us take control of technology and use it to improve our lives. Only we can decide how much time we want to spend communicating with friends and loved ones. The television does not decide this for us, we decide it by ourselves.
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