Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Television does more harm than good

The End-of-Year examinations are approaching (you don't say) and I'm sure everyone's feeling the stress and anxiety. The English paper is on Friday and Mrs Rethinam gave us a so-called pre-written argumentative essay to write (oh the irony). Haha basically it just means she listed all the points for us so we just have to, well, write. Since I have nothing to lose anyway, I'm posting "my" essay up for fun and yeah if it's horrible, well I never said it was going to be good! I bet most people won't even read it anyway but oh well it's a great way to fill the empty void which is my heart. I'm kidding.


  Television undoubtedly does more harm than good. Today, almost every household in first-world countries own at least one television set. Having more than one television is also not unusual. Due to its popularity in millions of homes, television is treated as a part of the furniture; an ever-present, seemingly innocent piece of technology. However, extensive research has proven that television does more harm than good. Not only does it not have educational value, but it also discourages human interaction and spreads Western values across the globe.

  Advocates of television assert that television programs allow audiences to gain knowledge of subjects that they previously are not aware of, such as various species of animalia in far-flung destinations around the world. On the contrary, research has suggested that watching television discourages critical thinking, as the majority of television viewers watch television indiscriminately. Most of the newly acquired “information” either does not stay in one’s mind for long or is not absorbed at all. Thus, it is safe to say that the time spent watching television has been mindlessly wasted. It has also been found that there is a link between literacy problems in children and frequent television viewing, and this is especially so for young children. Therefore, watching television is not only a mindless, passive activity but is also a cause for speech impairment. Hence, television does more harm than good.

  In the urban societies, human interaction is already being negatively affected due to the many social networking websites that encourage users to spend time in front of a screen instead of interacting with a fellow human being face-to-face. Television does nothing to solve this problem, but instead, makes it even harder to resolve. It is common to see visitors lounging on the sofas of their hosts, with their eyes glued to the television screen while their hosts sit about in uncomfortable silence, after having their attempts at conversation rejected. The idea of whiling away precious time that could be spent talking to friends and family on watching television is absurd, but it is an unfortunate reality. How silly it is to move from one screen to another! Hence, television escalates the problem of a society that lacks human interaction by disrupting human interaction. Thus, television definitely does more harm than good.

  Supporters of television allege that television facilitates the sharing of information, opinions and cultural expressions among international audiences. They claim that by watching television, we are able to gain insight on the cultures of other countries. However, it is no secret that the most satellite channels are controlled by power-house Western corporations, which broadcasts television programs on international television networks. Such programs are largely the Western-made programs. Local Singaporean programs, or even Asian programs in general, on the other hand, are a rarity to find in Western countries. How would these Westerners then gain insightful knowledge of our Asian culture and values by watching television? In addition, us locals are tuning in to these Western television programs and it is inevitable that we subconsciously soak in their values, opinions and cultural expressions. It is said that Western values are “looser” than our Asian values, as Westerners are stereotyped to be more liberal and open to issues that Asians may not feel so comfortable with accepting just yet. Even though it is just a stereotype, it still contains a certain amount of truth in it. Hence, by watching television, we may be compromising on our cultural values and slowly but surely, adopt the Western way of thinking.Therefore, not only is there an unequal sharing of information between the different cultures in the world, but by watching television, we may be easily influenced by the Westerners and become more like them, losing bits of the things that make us uniquely Asian.

  Television impairs the growth and development of children and turns people into unthinking “couch potatoes” with passive acceptance. There are many more downsides of television, one of which is the destruction of conversation that is essentially what differentiates us humans from other less intelligent life forms. Also, the proliferation of Western values, standards and acceptance is a major cause of concern regarding the increased viewing of television. Therefore, television definitely does more harm than good.

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