March 30, 2008
By Sameera Kanneganti, Palatine, IL

Television has become a big part of our society today. Many people rely on it as a source for information and world news. Some watch with the purpose of educating themselves or others and some learn things even without consciously meaning to. And of course, there is the obvious reason for watching TV: for the entertainment it provides viewers. Televisions are being watched by a growing number of people and today, 99% of US households possess at least one TV. This spreading popularity of television is causing people to worry. Many people think that television has been a negative influence on our society, but I strongly believe that if watched in limitation, it can be an extremely beneficial tool for acquiring information.

First of all, television is a source for information. Knowing what is going on in the world around us is very important. It is crucial that everyone in our society has an idea of what has happened recently and what that might mean for us. Many people learn of these current events by watching the news and shows that talk about recent world happenings. Not everyone has time to sit down and read the newspaper or read news magazines, so the invention of television has given a number of people an easy and fast way to get information. It is arguable that the radio is another fast and easy way to get info, but the television, unlike the radio, can provide visuals that correlate with the news and these visuals often help people understand the situation. Television is one of the most effective ways of sharing important info with the rest of the world and this aspect of it is extremely beneficial to society.

Another way television has been advantageous to us today is through the things it can teach us. For one thing, there are numerous educational shows on TV such as Sesame Street and educational channels like the Discovery Channel and The History Channel. Children, and even adults, can learn a lot from watching shows like this. Also, there are many reality shows or just shows about relationships that we all can learn a lot from. Programs like this teach us what things can be like in the real world. Until we finish college and go off on our own, we are often protected by those around us. They try to hide horrible events that are happening in the world from us and for a long time, we are clueless about a lot. Now, the people that try to protect us only want the best for us, but, in a way, doing this is just hurting us. By never knowing about this stuff, we are kept unaware and unprepared for things that we will have to deal with eventually. Certain TV shows are about things that real people will have to face and they teach us how to get through crises like this, so if we ever find ourselves in a position like theirs, we will know what to do. For this reason, television can be educational, not only in the sense that it teaches us actual facts, but also in the sense that it gives us some important life experiences and lessons through the characters on TV.

Although many people may not agree, television has also been beneficial to our society because of the entertainment it provides. Sometimes, people just need a way to sit back and relax. And many people do this by watching TV. There a great number of people who would argue that there are better ways to relax than watching television, and I completely agree. But I also see the advantage TV has over other forms of relaxations such as spending time with family and friends or reading. Unlike most other things, watching television requires very little thought. There is no need to think about the things you watch on TV. Everything—the information, the story, the solution—is given to the viewers in black and white. All they are required to do is watch and listen. Sometimes, when someone is so tried that they can barely think, this type of relaxation can be calming and can provide a much-needed break from everything they may be dealing with in their lives.

Although it is true that television can sometimes be a bad influence on people and their habits and behaviors, there are also a variety of ways that television can be advantageous. TV provides us with information, knowledge and entertainment; all we have to do is know how to properly use it. By limiting our viewing time and censoring what we watch, we can make the most out of the time we spend in front of the TV. Once people realize that it is not the television itself that has negative effects on our society, but rather our own choices regarding television, they too will see that the invention of this popular household item has been incredibly beneficial.

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