Influence of Television on People

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Influence of Television on People
The first television was introduced to the public by a Scotsman inventor John Logie Baird and an American inventor Charles Francis Jenkins. They soon undertook the broadcasting experiment, and the United States and England had some television broadcasting available to public by nineteen-thirty two (Feffer). Ever since television had been invented, it has become the most dominant and significant technology in our society. People have been fascinated by those colorful, intense images on the screen, and now almost every household in the U.S. has at least one television set. The average American watches more than four hours of television every day according to the A.C. Nielson Company (Herr). However, is spending such a huge amount of time in front of TV good indeed? As television became more dominate over our lives, such a question had been raised. Many studies and experiments were conducted to discover how television influence people and how it is addictive and hypnotic; people automatically turn the television on when they get home and keep watching it even though there’s nothing they want to watch. They simply can’t take their eyes off TV. Surely, people can get useful information and entertainment from TV. However, it was discovered that excessive television viewing has negative effects on people. Too much TV viewing is not good for young children’s brain development. After many programs targeting young children such as Sesame Street and Teletubbies arrived, mothers tried to have their children watch those programs, thinking that Sesame Street was good for their children’s education. However, the testimonies of the mothers of young TV viewers show us that TV is not that helpful. In the interviews, many mothers describe “the trancelike nature of their children’s television watching; the child’s jaw is relaxed and hangs open slightly; the tongue rests on the front teeth. The eyes have a glazed, vacuous look” (Winn 17). According to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, a pediatrician and writer about children, a young child has a device called the shutdown mechanism. When in an environment that overwhelms and disturbs the child, the child can respond to it by “tuning out the disturbing stimuli and going into a sleep like state” (Winn 18). To the young children, watching TV is like sleeping with their eyes open. Also, a theory called the displacement theory tells us that TV viewing is not helpful for young children’s cognitive development. The displacement theory suggests that the time for more valuable and helpful activities such as reading and playing is displaced by the time spent with TV which provides no practice for interaction or communication for young children. Children who are heavy viewers seem to spend less time in activities that encourage cognitive development (Lorch). Reading, playing, and practicing verbal skills are important for young children’s cognitive development. Reading develops children’s imagination and inner visualization; compared to TV that presents images incessantly in a face pace, reading allows them to be lost in their thoughts and have their own perspective because the pace can be controlled while reading (Winn 95). They learn how to manage their time and what to do in their free time as they play (Winn 79). When they watch TV, they can’t feel the time flowing and don’t realize they need to do some other things instead of watching. Also, young children need verbal experience with real people; by talking to their parents, hearing responses and making eye contacts, they can develop their language skills. Letting them watch TV does not help them practice verbal skills because television neither listens to them nor responds back to them (Winn 7). Obviously the hours spent in front of television are hours they could have been reading, playing, and having verbal experience; television is not helpful but interferes with children’s cognitive development....
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