Television. Love it or hate it, you cannot ignore it. The television is one of the most important technological inventions of the 20th century, and, looking at how things are right now, it is clearly here to stay. Maybe fewer numbers of people watch television on a regular basis now that the internet is here to stream everything from TV shows to movies, but you will be hard put to find someone who never switches on the television to watch a match or check out the latest happenings in a reality show.
Television has long been the subject of much criticism. It has been rebuked for spouting mindless entertainment, inappropriate violence, and making couch potatoes of entire generations. It has been convicted of single-handedly robbing children of the pleasures of reading a book. But how much of those accusations really hold water under close investigation? Let’s find out.
Pros of TV
TV has lots of advantages. Let’s take a look at the pros of the TV.
Keeps the kids busy
Every working parent knows how difficult it is to get back home and manage the household duties after a full day at the workplace. Add a bored child running after you into the mix, and it becomes positively impossible. But, if you are able to judiciously monitor and filter the content your child will watch, television can become a great way of keeping the kid engaged for the couple of hours you are busy elsewhere. But remember, monitoring is key here.
There’s quite a bit to learn
This might seem preposterous, what with it being the idiot box and all that, but the television actually has some great content for kids and adults alike. Channels like National Geographic and History Channel showcase some great quality entertainment for all ages, and the kids’ channels have fun shows that can also be quite morally educational.
A visual learning mode
Think of textbooks with pages of words, and no illustrations. We do learn that way, but research suggests that visual aids are more appropriate modes of learning, and audio-visual is the best in the business. Infotainment channels like Animal Planet and Discovery do just that: they take your boring textbooks and bring them to life. Audio visual modes make it easier to learn, and boosts memory retention. Think how much better your history scores would have been if you had actually studied Roman history among the artifacts.
Television serves the invaluable purpose of delivering authentic and highly analyzed information about current affairs to people’s homes. Without TV, we would be hard put to know important events happening internationally in real time, minutes within they happen. Even today, the internet get the news secondhand.
Cons of TV
As they say, there’s no smoke without fire, and all the flak television has received down the years do have some solid ground.
Discerning is difficult
There is too much going on in television all the time, and it is not easy to choose the right thing always. This is especially true for children; they are really too immature to be able to distinguish between what is good and what is bad for them. And shows with murder, infidelity, and intrigue are aired irrespective of whether the young demographic watches TV at the time or not. So, more often than not, children end up watching quite inappropriate content, and their impressionable minds soak up the elements like sponges.
Might impact health negatively
The legend of the couch potato is not far from reality. Studs suggest that there is a distinct correlation between addiction to television and obesity. Besides, watching too much television can cause sleep disorders and associated problems, stress, low attention span, and behavioral issues.
Warped perception of reality
What we see on television is often a highly exaggerated or watered down version of the truth. Teenagers dressed like divas in high schools are not really seen in real life, and it is well nigh impossible for one man to single-handedly beat down a dozen attackers. It is easier to filter the takeaway as an adult, but for a child, the television might well be spewing gospel truth. This leads to a warped view of the world, culminating in unnatural behavior and attempts to emulate the events on TV, often with serious consequences.
Also read: Negative and positive effects of internet
The television is here to stay, with all its good, bad, and ugly aspects. It is never going to become really unpopular, and its benefits cannot be denied either. The responsibility, therefore, falls on the adults of the society. Using their judgment, the adults can choose to filter the content they would watch at home, and monitor the children’s viewing material. Only then can television be a really worthwhile mode of wholesome entertainment.