Is Television Bad for us?

“Watching television is bad for you!”

Are your parents always annoying you saying, “Your eyes will go square” when you sit to close to the television or are they constantly saying “Watching television is bad for you”? But is it? The impact of television has been breath taking in both family life and society since the first television was introduced in the 1920s. Television is a part of all our daily lives. It is on everywhere we go: nurseries, waiting rooms and surgeries. How does television really impact on our lives? Is watching Television really bad for us?

In today’s world, many child experts would argue that television discourages play amongst young people. Today’s children have a “couch potato” lifestyle. Most of them plug into the world of television before they even get an application form for school! As a result of this, a growing number of young people today are inactive, unfit and increasingly overweight. Obesity figures among children have doubled since 1948. We know television is really bad for us is when children no longer want to play catch or go outside and run about; instead they prefer to sit with their eyes glued to the television. Is it that addictive? Critics refer television as the “plug in drug” How can television be any use to any child if their brain is more active when they’re sleeping?

Watching television kills conversation! Many critics of television believe that it has a negative impact on family life, already under threat in today’s society. For instance, many families no longer meaningfully communicate with each other; instead they are completely absorbed in the television often using it as a babysitter for their children! As a result, the only thing that families do together is watch television. Alarmingly, this is still a surprisingly solitary activity as in most cases families have more than one television set and spend most of their days shut away from each other in separate rooms.

Television is often slated as being a poor role model for Teenagers. Many impressible teenagers are influenced by the bad behaviour of models and celebrities. The drug taking, binge drinking lifestyles of celebrities like Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty and Kate Moss, who are featured regularly in celebrity gossip programs. Who do young girls have to look up to in the entertainment business? Where have all the positive examples gone? Well, we should all agree that parents should be the role models of today’s teenagers, not someone who is beautiful, thin and rich. Although it is quite sad to say that teenagers don’t have any celebrities or models to look up to and have something to believe in. Instead they get to see celebrities taking drugs and alcohol, and people wonder why in today’s society teenagers drink and smoke at a young age! Television has a big part to blame in all this; if television did not glamorise this behaviour, it would not be as appealing to today’s teenagers.

There has long been consensus that television puts unfair pressure on consumers. Television advertisements attempt to brainwash consumers into buying their products, for instance consumers cannot go into a shop and decide on a product to buy themselves. Instead they see a range of products that have already been flashed in front of their eyes the night before on television. Immediately they buy that one! In contrast to this, consumer are placed under a lot of stress around Christmas time when every time a new toy is advertised, there is a new item on their child’s Santa list meaning that consumers are scrapping out money that they might not already have. Given, the current credit crunch climate, this will inevitably cause financial problems for consumers and disappointment for children.

On the other hand, Television shows a range of educational programmes.

Television shows are not all bad; In fact, lots of them are very educational, helping to develop the minds of young children everywhere. These educational shows inspire and stimulate children, helping them to learn in a fun and easy way without them even thinking about it. As a result children are also learning about different cultures around the world, forming an understanding about the way different people think and how they feel about different things. A very popular example would be “Dora.” Dora is a children’s television programme which helps children to learn different things such as their numbers, not only in English but also in Spanish.

Television provides instant access to news and other information. Television can be very useful in the way that it helps people gain insight to what’s going in different parts of the world. It is quick and easy to gain access to the news. In actual fact, some televisions depending on whether there is sky or cable connected to them, have channels you can watch 24-7.

Health and fitness programmes motivate viewers to make lifestyle changes. People say that children nowadays just “plunk” themselves in front of the television and don’t do any exercise at all. However in most children’s shows such as “Barney” and “Hi five,” they encourage the children who are watching to get up and sing and dance along with them. As a result, children are not sitting about and becoming obese. Most adults also watch work –out channels and programmes such as “The Biggest Loser” which inspires them to get up and do the exercise along with them. This type of programme also encourages them to make changes for the better.

Finally, television is a form of relaxation. Watching television relieves boredom and can be a safe activity for children and teenagers if it is monitored by parents regularly. Television can be another form of entertainment for some people and is another way of relieving stress for others.

From carefully reviewing my essay, I have come to the conclusion that even though there are many points to suggest that television is bad for you, for example, television discourages play amongst young people; equally, television can also be very stimulating for a young child. A young child can learn to speak whilst just watching and listening to their favourite characters on Television. In conclusion, I believe that quality television can enhance our lives. However, parents have a responsible role to play in monitoring what their children watch.