Professor Krystle Klein
November 28, 2012
Media 1 Research Paper
Television Broadcasting—The Magic Bullet For Our Lives?
Television is considered by many people as one of the greatest inventions in the 20th century. It appeared at a time when entertainments are luxurious to working class families or residents living in the rural area. While what and when the first TV program broadcasted in history was remains a controversial topic, the magic of television was irresistible. It made entertainments accessible to everyone regardless of their age, gender, or race. It has, doubtlessly, added amusements and enjoyments to people from all walks of lives. Besides entertainment, television also made the spread of information fast and easy. With televisions, people can sit on their couch and still be connected to the world by simply pushing a button. It has never been easier and faster for people to know what is happening on the other side of the country, or even around the world.
Nowadays, television relates closely to our daily lives. It is inevitable that people are exposed to either TV programs or advertisements every day. Research shows that a household in North America owns 2.8 television sets on average. As of 2011, the sales of televisions achieved as high as 44 million sets each year (Martin, paragraph 14). Time spent on watching television, also, continued to grow since the 1950s. According to the research done by Nielsen Media Research and published in New York Times in November 2008, the average American watches 142 hours of television per month, which would be an average of 4.7 hours every day. Internationally, people, on average, watch TV for 3 hours and 12 minutes every day (Braun, page 4). These figures are on a trend to keep increasing each year. Television developed with enormous power to influence decisions, cultures, and even moral values. The importance of television grows and becomes a necessity in many households. The magic of television persists. Yet, is television truly a blessing to people? Or is this powerful magic wicked? The answers may not be positive.
Impact of Television on Young Children and Teenagers
Children are highly exposed to programs of context that are not suitable for them in television. On average, children between 2-5 years old spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV, while kids between 6-11 years old spend 28 hours a week in which the vast majority for them are watching live TV (McDonough, page1). Television, thus, is an important source of knowledge and information to children. However, more than 60 percent of TV programs contain some violence, and about 40 percent of those contain heavy violence. "Exposure to violent electronic media has a larger effect than all but one other well-known threat to public health. The only effect slightly larger than the effect of media violence on aggression is that of cigarette smoking on lung cancer," Huesmann said (University of Michigan, paragraph 4). Although parents usually take control of their children’s choices of TV programs, children are still exposed to programs that are not suitable for them.
The influence of TV programs on children is immense. Young children are at the major stage of brain development. They do not have the ability to select and analyze yet. They are like sponges that absorb everything surround them. Some argues that children, especial those age between 1 to 3, do not understand what is showing on the television. However, kids may imitate the actions they see in the television, which is dangerous. Social cognitive theory, developed by psychologist Albert Bandura, stresses that children learn many social behaviors by observing those modeled by others (Child Development Reference. Vol. 8, paragraph 14). I still recall when I was a kid, I like to memorize and use the catchy phrases I heard from drama. There was a popular drama broadcasted every night in which the heroic character said the same line every time he appeared.