to have an adverse impact, to influence adversely, the visual impact of television
couch potato, to play couch potato
zap, zapper, to zap through television channels;
to change channels, to channel surface; to change over
to grow up addicted to the telly
to be glued to television screens
to be irrelevant to real living, to provide second-hand experiences, to be content with second-hand experiences
the findings of a questionnaire
a notional watershed
to throw the onus on to smb, to pass the buck, to off-load one’s responsibility
mayhem, gore, gory
to underestimate/ play down, to overestimate
to exercise little/ no control over one’s children’s viewing, to supervise children’s viewing habits
to reduce level of violence, to block violent shows, to preface violent programmes with a parental advisory
to turn to violence through watching it
to curb violence
to rate broadcast programmes, a violence ratings system
to give viewers more control over what they are watching
viewer discretion technology
to provide television sets with viewer discretion technology
censorship, to exercise censorship, to be subject to censorship,
safeguards, to provide safeguards
to infringe on smb’s rights
to degrade, to corrupt
Television: Advantages and Disadvantages
Television is one of most powerful inventions of all the many inventions of this century. It has changed the way we look at the world. Through satellites, pictures are sent from one part of the earth to another within seconds. “News travels fast”, is an old saying, but it has never been more true than it is now.
Television has increased our knowledge and opened our horizons. Never before have we known as much about other parts of the world as we do now, and television must take a lot of the credit for this. Through our television set, other countries, cultures and events are on display in our own living rooms. Documentaries about different countries and religions as well as about people in our own society, have widened our knowledge of the world and surely, ultimately, this must result in greater tolerance and understanding.
Television has many positive uses. In most countries of the world the television has been directly used for educational purposes. There are amusing children’s literacy television programmes in the USA, university linked courses on the television in Britain and programmes to encourage vaccination against diseases and to change attitudes towards birth control in India.
The television is such a powerful medium in this modern world as the pictures you see reach into your life. We can understand for ourselves what is happening in the world and this often leads to strong reactions to the injustices we see.
However, television has another side to it. It is big business and different companies compete with each other to procure the highest ratings. For example, the news channels try to get the “hottest” piece of news and this often means the most horrifying pictures to accompany it. Pictures of dying soldiers, earthquake victims and so on, would definitely be prime fodder for the News at Nine. What does this do to us, the viewers, especially younger viewers? There we are sitting curled up in front of the television in our favourite chair watching people dying from starvation or killing each other in wars. One result has been that we become immune to all the violence and terrible things we see and turn off the television and switch over onto our favourite game-show. We no longer really see or hear what is happening and the danger seems to be that we come to accept violence as a part of our world. We become harder and harder to shock. What happens to our sense of injustice if we continually see tear-jerking and heart-rending scenes daily on television?
What we see on television must also be biased in one way or another. Someone has to choose what pictures to show and which to leave out. The television companies are either state owned or increasingly owned by commercial companies whose aim is to make money. Censorship of the media and television goes on in all countries, to a greater or lesser degree. Yet, unfortunately most people seem to think that whatever we see on television must be the truth of a situation. We must realise the power of television companies and stations to distort our reality and to give us another sense of reality.
Television can be used for good purposes. However, since television has become such big business, particularly with the growth in commercial stations, we must all develop a healthy suspicion of what we see and hear. The television stations are increasingly, purely profit making businesses so we must all realise that whatever will “sell” will be on the television regardless of the consequences or effects on people.