TV and the associated technology is so important to our culture that no real discussion of the twentieth century can really take place without mentioning it. From its beginnings as simple films to its complete ubiquity today (even if its presence in the home is currently in a state of change), television is very important to society. There have always been people who have decried television and the associated forms of media as something which will corrupt the young and only lead to bad outcomes (we see this particularly with people claiming that television is to blame for violent behavior). This is definitely a minority view, however – most people agree that television has the greatest potential for educational and information than anything else in existence, bar the internet. Television is definitely something which brings out strong opinions in people, no matter what side of the debate they are on.
Aside from anything else, we can credit the existence of TVs with the invention of the TV lift (using linear actuators to bring a TV up to the required level and keel), which brought a whole new level of comfort and luxury to many TV-owners around the planet.
There are many people who talk about the negative effects of television, both in itself and in the effects it has on society, and some of them have more validity than others. We have found that television has an almost drug-like effect on people, especially children, to the point that it is extremely difficult to try and wean their attention away from the television when it is needed. Television is also credited with children (and adults) becoming sedentary in their everyday lives; rather than going outside to play and find entertainment – or in the case of adults needing to go and find entertainment themselves – the TV provides entertainment without the need to find it. People who watch television, particularly since so much of our television comes in series, will find it to be a valid excuse for not seeking entertainment elsewhere.
Negative Effects for Children
The drug-like effect TV has on people has already been discussed, but there are additional problems when it comes to children – TV watching encourages a more sedentary lifestyle in children, especially if they are emulating the adults they see in their lives. Exercise is important for everyone at all stages of their life, but children in particular need to develop the habits of physical activity to enable them to grow up stronger and healthier. Getting fresh air and exercise is also good for children because it can help them to grow – exercise strengthens muscles and helps in bone growth, both of which are important in childhood.
Something which is not normally thought of is the effect that television might have on a child’s ability to differentiate between what is reality and what is made up. Not in the overall sense, which is a phase we all grow out of as we get older, but in the more specific sense of them learning about social cues and interactions from the fiction-based scenarios played out on the screen. Drama is created through conflict, which means that children may grow up thinking that the antics onscreen are perfectly appropriate for everyday interaction when they are not. This is shown especially in our fixation on shows and programmes which seem to exist specifically to hurt and humiliate certain people.
Television has been hailed (and in fact, was partially brought into being as) a new pioneer in the field of public education. Government films and information, documentaries, history programmes…they are all able to be entered into the reasons why television can stand as one of the great informers of the age. Even if the programme itself is not strictly informative, such as The Tudors featuring various actors in a historical fiction series, it can always be seen as potentially introducing people to a section of history which they may not have known much about before, but which they might be interested enough to pursue afterward. Similarly, programmes about different places and foods can encourage people to step outside of their own comfort zones, and try new things and meet new people. Many holidays have been informed by programmes seen on TV! The role of television in bringing new ideas and cultures into people’s lives should not be ignored.
Actuatorzone.com is perhaps glad of the television because of its role in bringing linear actuators into common use, but television has always been of some importance in education and informing the general populace. While there is a lot of discussion concerning the negatives and positives of television and the effects it has on people (More than can reasonably be gotten into here), hopefully this article has been helpful to anybody reading, in helping them to see what some of the individual arguments concerning the television are, for either side.