Television viewing is a regular part of American daily life. Many Americans, especially children ages 8 to 18 watch television more than 44.5 hours a week (Espejo). Approximately 38 hours of these is spent watching commercial media (Rowe and Ruskin 28-35). This allows children to be manipulated by companies, especially since "Most children under age 6 cannot distinguish between programming and advertising and children under age 8 do not understand the persuasive intent of advertising." This can cause problems such as obesity (Espejo) and materialism (Rowe and Ruskin 28-35). Television even encourages youths to smoke (Gidwani). Television viewing in America has negative effects on health, children's development, and the economy.
People, especially youths, are encouraged to undergo risky behaviors such as smoking (Gidwani).
Although government bans prevent tobacco advertising on television, the act of
smoking is still often depicted in television shows and televised sporting events.
This study finds that youths who watch a greater amount of television than their
peers are more likely to begin smoking. Thus, researchers conclude, television
viewing should be included as a risk factor in future studies of youth smoking,
and efforts to reduce television viewing among youths may reduce the number
of youths who begin smoking. (Gidwani). In other words, excessive television watching, which includes numerous advertisements on billboards during sporting events and the use of tobacco in films, encourages smoking. Youths and even some adults may see smoking as attractive since it is almost never negatively portrayed. In a study of 81 G-rated films, 35 showed tobacco use. In music videos, smokers are successful people who get along with their peers (Gidwani). "Television provides adolescents with role models, including movie and television stars and athletes, who portray smoking as a personally and socially rewarding behavior" (Gidwani).
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