Since the 1960s and 70s, having a television in the home has become a mainstay of American culture and for families. Television provides a great source of entertainment for people of all ages, but it has been questioned as to whether its entertainment can be actually valuable to viewers. Television does possess some value as entertainment; however, television also has the possibility to negatively influence viewers, depending on the amount of time spent watching, and also in regards to the type of content being viewed.
Television is a remarkable resource in that it aids viewers in being well-informed of matters both at home and abroad. Since the early stages of television decades ago, viewers and television programmers realized the real value and power of the television, as it had the ability to broadcast programs on any number of issues: news both at home and abroad, entertainment, talk shows, weather, and a number of other entities. With the advent of the television, many families began spending their evenings at home together watching the news or their favorite shows, sometimes while eating dinner. Today, this is still a regular part of American culture, as many families still gather to watch television, often on a daily basis.
Having a television allows viewers to be more informed on any number of issues. For example, during the Civil Rights Movement, most people across the country relied heavily on the television as their primary source of information, as it provided live footage and coverage of the strikes and violence occurring throughout the nation. Additionally, the television also provided farmers with a reliable source of weather reports, which is paramount to the farming industry. Perhaps the most common reason people watch television today, however, is merely for its entertainment value, referring to talk shows, television series, news reports, and other various shows. Many people have a number of different shows they keep up with and, often, have “watch parties” in which they get together with their friends to tune in to the latest episode of a show. Watch parties are excellent ways for people to connect with one another in a social activity, and also provoke thinking and debates for which can be discussed among group members.
Although television provides a valuable source of entertainment for viewers, it is arguable that, with television, too much time spent watching can be detrimental to viewers. While viewing television together with friends can be a great social activity, too many Americans watch television for several hours on end while alone. In this way, the television become’s one’s only source of company, thus depriving the viewer of necessary human interaction. Additionally, many viewers that watch television excessively also watch content that is questionable. For example, studies have shown that those who watch violent television on a more than average rate possess a proclivity to be either aggressive or violent themselves. Also worth noting is the fact that, the more a person watches violent television, the more aggressive they may become. Thus, television is something that should be watched in moderation, as too much can be detrimental to one’s development and social skills.
In summary, watching television does provide some value as entertainment, when done in moderation and on topics that are educational, though provoking, or merely entertaining. However, television does have the tendency to be harmful to viewers, particularly if one watches it excessively, or watches questionable content, such as overly violent or gruesome shows. As with everything in life, television is something that should be done in moderation, as too much can be unhealthy.