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Is Television a Bad Influence?

Komal Bakhru
As kids, a whole lot of us must have been told not to spend "so much time in front of the television." Were we ever really affected? How many of us really stopped, because "TV was spoiling us"? We doubt too many people listened to their folks.
Of course years later, the fetish for spending so much time in front of that blessed television set just comes to an end. Whether out of choice or out of force, not too many people have the time they must have had when younger.
In our youth, television is an addiction of a sort. It does wear off eventually. But on a more serious note, is television not recommended? How about a closer look at the question...

The Influence of Television

Certain questions are the kind that make for never ending debate. But honestly, why the fuss? Watching television really isn't such a big deal. Undoubtedly, people do have their own opinions, but then, everybody does. So, let's take a look at it one question at a time...

Effects of TV on Children

The most important question of all time, is what the effects of television on children are.
Truth be told, answers to questions like these are always subjective. But while we are at discussing the topic of is television harmful for children, we may as well take a look at how this works. As a personal opinion, the question of television acting as a bad influence seems almost incredulous.
Children grow up watching cartoons and animated series chosen by parents for their kids, but has anyone ever realised, that some of the first few shows we've ever watched (Tom & Jerry, Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny) are probably that could act as the cause for misbehavior.
But if dropping an anvil on someone's head never crossed a child's mind, chances that bigger, more destructive things will influence them, seem bleak.
On the other hand however, it could be called a lousy distraction for sure! Right from taking up quality time with the family, to eating into the time that should ideally be devoted towards homework or recreational activities, television does act as a terrible distraction, that is a given.
Apart from the disadvantage just mentioned, there isn't much else to say, because if kids are ill-mannered or badly behaved, chances are it is because of some really bad upbringing and not the influence of television.
In fact, if given the right kind of exposure, a child could learn a lot, and benefit greatly from all the marvelous technology that's available these days. So yet again, effects of TV on kids are like two sides of the same coin.

Effects of TV on Society

Yet another question that is based entirely on perception, television need not necessarily be a bad influence on society, unless someone wants it to be. In all honesty, it should be considered a more mindless influence rather than a bad one.
It depends on what you choose to watch. There is the option of using television and media as a source of knowledge, and you have to admit, choosing the right shows can render educational without a doubt. Quite the contrary to that, mindless reality TV is nothing short of a waste of time.
Either way, it isn't so much of a bad influence. By no means is this a method of advocating the immense viewing of television, it very simply is about working with the way it really is.
Very often the only thing you get to watch on TV is negativity in the form of news and other world happenings. But how many people out there feel inclined towards terrorizing behavior? If someone does feel so, odds are they already had such tendencies right from the start.
Television does patronize all those pretty faces and next to perfect figures. Now, that could be damaging in its own right. People do get influenced by the "flawless" looks of those admirable people on television, and often want to imitate. Not quite the best idea!
But if it weren't for that one little drawback, it hardly ever qualifies as a negative influence. But hey, to each his own, right? Those were just a couple of opinions in regards with the influence of television. At the end of the day you can use it, the way you would like.
If you don't believe that, take a look at these words of wisdom by Groucho Marx... "I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book." So maybe, just maybe, television isn't such a bad influence after all!