Beware of Television

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 1996

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It is considered that one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century--the television--completely changed the way of a person's life. Television has brought into every home a lot of information and easy-to-reach entertainment. Is its influence on the personality, family, or children positive only or is there another side of the coin? Yes, there is. A negative one. The effect of television depends not only on the content of its programs, but there are more general aspects of influence of TV viewing on intellectual activity. To make sure of that we need to look scrupulously at every aspect of this phenomenon in general, not emphasizing on the quality and content of its production.

An abundance of information pouring into a person's consciousness at a fast pace does not allow him to analyze and comprehend it properly. For example, let us make a comparison between reading and viewing. The pace of reading, clearly, depends entirely upon the reader.

He may read as slowly or as rapidly as he can or wishes to read. If he does not understand something, he may stop and reread it, or go in search of elucidation before continuing. The reader can accelerate his pace when the material is easy or less than interesting, and slow down when it is difficult or enthralling. He can put down the book for a few moments and cope with his emotions without fear of losing anything.

Unlike reading, the pace of the television experience cannot be controlled by the viewer; he cannot slow down a delightful program or speed up a dreary one. The images move too quickly. He cannot use his own imagination to invest the people and events portrayed on the screen with the personal meanings that would help him understand and resolve relationships and conflicts in...