First, books are a very important source of information in our lives. They played a crucial role in human society throughout thousands of years. Written sources were a way to communicate information to descendants. Later, it became a tool to consolidate certain ideas. It is, apparently, the greatest invention of humankind. Books were always appreciated, and millions of writers and researches used this medium to contribute their works to publicity. Reading books has lots of benefits. One of them is that a person has a huge variety of choices, he or she can find any topic to read for learning purposes, research or just out of curiosity. Reading involves active imagination, and developing reading skills impacts on one’s education process in a very positive way. Reading books for children helps them to understand the world, develop mental imaging, instead of idle and passive watching TV for hours. Reading enriches vocabulary and develops speaking skills. “Dr Marieh Evans from the University of Melbourne said while Australian children tend to achieve good levels of education anyway, those with access to books were doing even better.” (Hele, 2002.) People who read more speak very fluently, and their speech flows in a very melodic and charming manner.
However, every stick has two ends. Our choice is to hold the right end. Example of a negative effect can be reading a lot of fantasy literature. They may forget about real life around them and get more involved into imaginary world of the books. Books and stories have very strong emotional impact on people, these stories have ability magically take a reader far away from the reality. There are, certainly, books that are not recommended to read, for example books, that tell about crime, drugs and violence; and there are other types of books that give a reader relevant knowledge in sciences, music, classic literature, etc. It always depends on our choice which book to read for us or to our children.
Parents should read for their children out loud fairy-tales, funny stories to invoke an interest in reading right books. Picking a suitable book for you child is a good step in child-rearing process. Reading itself is a very active brain work, it is a decoding process, that last throughout all reading process. The faster child learns to read, the better he or she succeeds at school, it’s obvious to many parents. Unfortunately, fewer people read nowadays, more prefer watching TV or surfing the Internet. “Fifty-three percent of people did not read a book in the past month, an increase of seven percentage points from a year earlier, with elderly people in particular turning away from books, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.” (“Poll: Fewer people,” 2009).
Television has been introduced to people much later than books. However, it has penetrated in our lives very rapidly. Marie Winn writes: “Not much more than fifty years after introduction of television into American society, the medium has become so deeply ingrained in daily life that in many states the TV set has attained the rank of a legal necessity, safe from repossession in case of debt along with clothes and cooking utensils.” (Winn 207) Television has a huge influence on society, from commercials to sitcoms we watch everyday. Vast majority of people who have TV at home prefer watching it to reading books. According to Marie Winn, “almost 60% of American families watch television during meals, and not necessarily at the same TV set.” (Winn 213)
Watching television, is a passive brain action. Some people may argue, that educational programs, like those on National Geographic or Discovery are good for people and widens their scope. I would agree with that, because their benefits are obvious. Talking about other types of programs, like action movies with aggressive crime and violence scenes and rarity shows, real people are being humiliated and stressed out for ratings and commercial sake. “Statistics read that some cartoons average twenty acts of violence in one hour, and that by the age of eighteen children will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence on television. Young people are especially in jeopardy of the negative effects of television violence because “many younger children cannot discriminate between what they see and what is real,” reports the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Adams, 2011) Furthermore, it is not a new notion, that television influences children in bad way, like vision damage; but it also creates wrong role models. Considering, that adult TV shows characters, who act inappropriately, use foul language and spend time lavishly, may become children’s role models. Letting children view inappropriate TV channels and music videos, can have damaging influence to their psychology.
Nevertheless, Television can be an educational tool as well. It broadcasts news and announcements, along with educational programs and decent movies. When I left out one very important factor, it is a social factor. Reading books is an action, that is preferable performed in silence and solitude, whereas watching Television is a very social action. Recall, when you enjoy watching a favorite TV program with your family or friends? It is very enjoyable and amusing to share pleasure of doing it altogether. So, Television is a better option for a social entertainment. It may seem reasonable, but Winn thinks differently, she claims, that television is a way to escape from conversations, the way to elude the social interaction within a family. Television also has two sides, it can be a useful thing in a house or can create a wall between housemates.
In conclusion, both television and reading has two sides, our choice is to pick the most convenient and less harmful for us. Television plays a huge role in broadcasting rules, entertaining people, educating and widening an individual’s scope, but misusing it leads to unintended consequences, considering many negative and immoral TV programs and movies. Whereas books are and always will be a way to develop imagination, educate yourself and children, if you pick right ones.