In the modern times, television has occupied a significant position in virtually all families. A substantial amount of time is spent at home watching it. In most cases, the time that families spend watching television is more than that spent while discussing family issues (Nelson p 47). For example, in the case of a working couple, they may spend 8 hours of day at work from morning to evening. The time they have together in the morning for breakfast is partly used to watch the morning news after which the children leave for school while parents go to work. In the modern offices, there are usually large screens where people can watch television as they take a rest after several hours of working. During lunch time, hotels have television for people to catch a glimpse of the lunch time news. In the evening after a long day of work, people either relax in social places or at home where they watch their favorite programs or live games such as football.
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Most of the free time for the families who can afford television as well as the energy to keep it running is spent watching shows. There are some television programs that are organized in form of episodes which are aired at a particular time in certain days of the week. They attract the attention of people who never like to miss a single episode. Family disagreements are known to have occurred as a result of preference of television programs and channels. This is because each channel has its own programs and episodes, and they try as much as possible to outdo each other in order for them to attract more viewers. There are incidences where it has turned out in to real violence for example when the children want to watch an episode while the father wants to watch football (Hilmes and Jacobs 2008 p 66).
However, it is not always that families disagree because of television. It is also a source of contentment and relaxation. Many times the family is united through watching a particular favorite program for all. Under such circumstances, even if there were quarrels, they are usually forgotten for at least the time that the family will be viewing television (Sinha 2006 p 45). On the other hand, television is informative especially in regard to the events of national concern. People can see and listen to important people in the government, churches and many other leaders in the society on television. They also learn a lot concerning global events. It is a form of global networking in terms of information. People can learn the culture of others distributed globally.
Television also provides information regarding healthy living. It provides an avenue for families to learn from health professionals on matters concerning their health. This is usually an effective way of educating masses of people at the same time, not only on health issues but also other important matters that are beneficial to the general public such as through programs providing information on modern farming methods as well as climate change and environmental conservation. Companies are also provided with an opportunity to advertise their products, and demonstrate how they are used. Television therefore helps in the promotion of business as well as providing the people with information on where they can get essential commodities (Hilmes and Jacobs 2008 p 81).
However much the television may be educative, there are incidences where it has been proved to display unwarranted information to the public, especially the children. Some of the episodes presented in television programs usually display violent actions which create a negative perception to the children. For example children tend to believe that in order to demonstrate strength; a person has to fight others the way it is presented in programs such as wrestling and violent movies. On the other hand, some channels are known to present explicit programs meant for adults, which most of the time are also viewed by the children (Nelson p 77). This lowers the morals of the society as the children are exposed to such information. In other cases, there are television channels that present live information on war torn areas. It is usually unethical for viewers to be exposed to situations where they see people being hacked to death and others being tortured.
Although presentations concerning war should not be shown explicitly, television is usually important in providing information on the status of their security. This can save lives since people can vacate and escape the risk of attacks. The major failures occur when television is used to incite groups of people against each other. In the recent years, politicians have used it as a tool for political campaigns and spreading incitement in the public. This has caused violence and divisions within families and communities (Sinha 2006 p 67). However, if utilized effectively, television can be an important source of information for the people in regard to their political leaders. They are able to analyze the policies of each contestant and make an informed choice.
In conclusion, the good or bad aspects of television depend on the information it conveys to the public. Some of the programs that it broadcasts make it appear to be one of the worst inventions of the modern times. These are mainly the ones that facilitate the deterioration of the integrity of the society in terms of behavior, especially the youth who may not be mature enough to differentiate between reality and fiction. However, there are other shows that indicate that it is an essential invention that facilitates the improvement of the standards of living of families. It therefore depends on the presentations and hence it can not be argued that it is the worst invention of modern times per se.
- Sinha P. Elements of Electronic Media: Tools and Techniques, Kanishka Publishers, 2006.
- Hilmes M. and Jacobs J. The Television History Book: Television, Media & Cultural Studies, British Film Institute, 2008.
- Nelson C. Bad TV, Delta, 1994.