November 17, 2018

How television is affecting your life

Right from the its hay days when television became popular among Americans after the second world war, and much of the 1950’s till the mid 1960’s when the colored version was introduced to replace the black and white type that had been in existence since inception, the television set have remained one of the most important assets that decorated our homes.

It was not just seen as a mere decoration to complete our interior décor but a very essential necessity, albeit one we must have for its informative and entertainment value. The fact that it afforded us the opportunity of hearing and seeing people in far flung places in real time was an amazing pleasure that really shaped our lives in many ways than one over the years.

As one of the earliest form of audio-visual technology humanity ever witnessed, right from a period when internet and its various components like the social media, youtube, skype and even smart phones where not even on the imagination of the most technological savvy inventors, the television remained a lone ranger in an otherwise boring world. However, if the evolving realities, records and projections are to be relied upon, then this may actually be the beginning of the demise of television sets in our homes! “That’s impossible…”, “it would never happen…..,” are some of the adjectives that would describe some people’s feelings about such an idea.

But who will blame those having this line of thought? Come to think of it, television supplies us with cable news of events happening all across the globe in real time, it makes it possible for Americans to watch their super bowl games regardless of where its being played, the Olympic games and world cup or champions league matches are beamed live in our homes, Indians get to watch their beloved cricket etc. What about those nice and engaging TV series we always keep a date with and can’t seem to miss any episode for anything else in the world. Considering the amount of value we get from the television, the idea that it may one day disappear from our homes is what many people will most likely not envisage or consider as totally inconcievable. Regardless of what it seems on the face value, the reality still remains that ownership of television sets has been on a steady decline in America and the trend is projected to continue going forward. Before we delve further into what the statistics is saying about television, lets first have a look at how television affects our lives.

How Television affects our lives

Television was specifically invented in 1935, and from that moment of its humble beginning, it soon grew and metamorphosed into a small but mighty box that played a very prominent role in shaping our lives. The television has become a tool for acculturation as the worlds most influential country, the United States’ ways of life, including fashion styles, language and accent etc is gradually being absorbed by people in different parts of the world. It also plays important role in politics, sports, economy, tourism growth and several other forms of awareness it brings to the fore.

On the other hand, critics have argued that the influence of television has had a negative impact in many areas of life like eroding of reading culture among people, encouraging laziness as people sit idly and waste many hours that should have been used in productive ventures, adverse effect on health like disrupted sleeping pattern and inadequate time for sleeping, problems associated with obesity caused by too much of sitting idly and eating excessively while watching programs on television because of inactivity.

The impact of television on our lives can be more appreciated when we consider the numbers statistics is throwing up as it paints a very clear picture of what is going on.

What Statistics is Saying About Television Viewing in the United States

In the United States, almost 100% of all households own at least a television while a little above 65% of American homes own at least three televisions. Also, studies have shown 67% of Americans watch television at night over dinner. Demographically, while the average American spends about a little more than 5 hours daily watching television, the numbers among different races differs significantly. Blacks watch television the most at 7 hours per day while the Asians watch the least at 3 hours each day. Others like the whites spend a daily average of 5 hours in front of their television and the Hispanics 4 hours. 56% of Americans also spend money on expensive cable TV.

Kids are also not left out in the addiction to TV watching as the average American child spends almost 1500 minutes every week glued to their various televisions. Interestingly as well, when interviewed, 54% of kids below the age of six preferred to watch the television than spend time with their fathers. The statistics even highlights a more worrisome picture when it comes to the juveniles, at 1200 hours per year spent watching the television as against 900 hours spent for academics in school, more emphasis seems to be placed on television than books.

Its important to also acknowledge that television has been complimenting eductaion and learning in some aspects like learning mathematics or other courses on television but on the flip side of it, television has also contributed to moral decadence in the society, some children will go ahead to watch adult contents or programs rated 18 when nobody is looking there way or even try to emulate and practise violent acts they saw on television.

Why there is a Shocking Decline in Recent Times

  • Perceptions are rapidly changing, according to a recent nationwide survey conducted by the Pew research center, only 42% of americans considered owning a television as necessary, a significant drop from 64% in 2006 and 52% in 2009.
  • Viewership of television news has continued to fall as more people are no longer interested in watching news. It declined from 60% in 1993 to 42% at the moment. The TV industrial complex in recent times has acknowledged that there is indeed a drop in the number of people paying for TV.
  • The decline is not just felt on viewership of programs alone, after years and decades of growth, the average number of televisions in our homes has diminished from 2.6 per home in 2009 to 2.3 in 2015.

Several reasons have been giving as the cause for peoples recent lack of interest in televisions, but the ones that have stood out is the fact that a lot of devices now compete with television for peoples attention like desktop computers, laptops, phones, ipads etc. Although some people have argued that people still get to watch television from such devices but when we take into cognizance that there are a lot of features competing for attention in such devices.

As more smartphones with increased features keeps are being produced in quick succession, the place of the television as the most important electronic gadget in our homes has now been dethroned. The televisions may still be with us into the foreseeable future but the idea that it may not have a place in our homes one day is no longer inconcievable.

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