Television And Society Essay Research Paper The

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Television And Society Essay, Research Paper The commercial use of television began in 1946 and has continued to grow through the rest of the century. Television has changed how society spends its leisure time; how it feels about politics, how much people read, how its children are raised and how its culture is expressed (S5 p.701). The power that television has to influence people in various ways lies mainly in the fact that people spend a lot of time watching it (S7 p.8). So one can see why the type of programming being shown is so very important to society. Television has frequently been blamed as being the breeding grounds for all types of social ills (S7 p.71). The introduction of television has coincided with rises in crime and in other incidences of social disruption

in many countries (S7 p.72). Television has had a negative effect on American society, especially in the areas of child rearing, marriage and sex, and violence. 2 The effect of television on children and adolescents had been more worried and studied over than any other cultural phenomenon (S8 p.114). Only four years after the commercial release of television, there was already evidence of TV interfering with children?s schoolwork. A study showed that, in 1950, children spent almost as much time watching television as they did attending school. The majority of the students studied admitted that television often interferes with their homework (S5 p.677). More recently, a survey showed that a third of children ages two to seven, and two-thirds of all children eight and older have a

television in their bedroom. The typical American child under eight years of age spends about five and one-half hours per day watching television. For children over eight, the time jumps to almost seven hours per day. The typical American teenager spends the equivalent of a full day at the office in front of the television. But the most frightening part of these results is that half of the parents surveyed in this study reported that they had no rules about television (S8 p.114) Without parental guidance, children are receiving images that are absolutely inappropriate. And the most frightening of all these statistics are some of the responses children gave when asked about giving up television: ?If I had to give up TV, I don?t know what I?d do,? and ?Life without TV would not be

worth it (S7 p. 35).? 3 Children also witness many acts of violence on television. Children are very poor at distinguishing fact from fantasy in what they see on television (S7 p.43). Regardless of social class, or race, there are relationships that are found between aggressiveness and exposure to television violence (80). Michael A. Howe said, in his book Television and Children, that ?if a child comes to believe that acting violently is the normal way of dealing with?problems, and at the same time learns how to act violently from watching violent situations on television, he will be more likely to acquire violent habits?(75).? Seeing violence on television makes children more apt to become violent, as they get older. Television has the ability to introduce children to

frightening events, ideas and images, many of which they would not otherwise encounter at all (S6 p.3). With programs like ?Buffy the Vampire Slayer?, ?The X-Files? and even ?Unsolved Mysteries?, it is no wonder that children become frightened. From her fifteen years of research on mass media and children?s fears, Joanne Cantor is convinced that TV programs are the number one preventable cause of nightmares and anxieties in children (5). Children do not realize that the images they view on television are not reality. They become so frightened that it can actually make them physically ill. There have been several instances where young people had to 4 be hospitalized for several days or weeks after watching horror movies such as ?The Exorcist? or ?Invasion of the Body Snatchers