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Television Essay, Research Paper

Television is playing a big role in today s society. Technology is growing and expanding into the 21st century. Almost everybody in the United States watches television. People even plan some of their lives around it by tuning in to a show every week. Stuff that people see on television affects their lives, by watching a television which shows killings and foul language can lead to the people who are watching might try to do the same.

In 1835, Samuel Morse sent an electrical signal over wires. By starting and stopping the signal, the electricity arrived at its goal in a pattern of short and long signals. In 1878, in England, a scientist named William Crookes designed a glass tube that glowed when an electric current was passed through it. In 1924, a Scotsman named John Logie Barid, broadcasted the first television picture. It was blurred and flickering image of a Maltese cross, but it was definitely a picture. Experimental television stations began broadcasting occasional programs throughout the 1920s and the 1930s. However, there were still many problems transmitting a clear picture. The picture sometimes flickered and began to roll. There also was a second picture of whatever was being transmitted appeared just slightly to the side of the original image. Television also faced a challenge from the country s economic problems. After the stock market crash in 1929, the U.S. entered a decade of economic slowdown known as the Great Depression. In 1939, RCA set up 12 television sets in its display at the New York world fair. Millions of people saw television for the first time; and were amazed. Some of the most popular shows were two children s shows Howdy Doody and Kookle, Frank and Ollie .

All this adds up to more than simple entertainment. Since American families spend more rime watching television than doing any other single activity except sleeping, working, or going to school, we are, in terms of time, paying more attention to video heroes than to our families and friends. Women, who make up less than a third of the television population, tend to be unemployed and either dependent of a man or without any visible means of support, although recently there has been an increase in women who manage to be both professionals and motherly housewives. According to a survey in 1974,over 57 percent of men who watch television were employed in upper management positions. Only 28 percent of women had such jobs. On March 30,1981, John Hinckley fulfilled his fantasy quickly and violently, and people wonder how much of his insanity was absorbed from a television set. During prime time, a violent incident occurs five times every hour, and on Saturday mornings, it flares to eighteen times per hour. Seventeen percent of all television characters are law enforcers, and 60 percent of all crime victims are murdered. All this adds up to more violence in a day of television the fight is usually between a hero and a criminal or a victim and a criminal. When magnum type hero or the S.W.A.T. team resort to violence, as they inevitably do, it is clear who is wrong and who is right; that the right have good reasons to fight, and that in the end, the right will win. Video violence also gives a distorted view of what violence involves. After a few shots fired by Kojak, for example, the problem is solved and forgotten. There is no discussion of the fundamental cause of crime, the blood and suffering of either the innocent victims of crime or the criminal, or of the long-term effects of the incident.

In 1967 the public broadcasting system created the children s television workshop and began planing America s first children s educational television program. In the existing field of cartoons and other kids shows, children s television workshop had nothing to copy from to generate ideas. Imagine you are a teacher without knowing who is present or absent, who is asleep or active, who is bored with simple lessons or confused by hard lessons. Children s television workshop decided to use some basic advertising techniques to keep the audience s attention Sesame Street messages are short, easy to grasp, often repeated, and without logical continuity from one message to the next. Quick camera shots and lots of action keeps interest at a peak. Plenty of puppets, clowns, and cartoons create the fun that makes the children want to learn. With no punishment for failure and no humiliation for getting an answer wrong, there is little to discourage children. If a particular lesson gets too boring, within moments it is finished and replaced with a new situation under such opinion learning conditions, the pupils tend to stay around for more fun and more information. It is very easy to point out the negative effects of television. Most studies and experiments have been searching for the antisocial ways that television hurts society by negatively affecting children. But there are also pro-social affects that contribute to society. Unfortunately, in most cases it has not been intended to teach and therefore its lessons taught are everything from geographical to social behavior. In terms of social behavior and morality, all that television portrays is not bad. In fact, most of it is good. There is plenty of violence but the good guys always win, and the children who see it, while perhaps becoming more prone to violent behavior, at least are learning something about the difference between good and bad. Hard work, perseverance, courage, and kindness are usually depicted as desirable traits that result in some sort of reward. Drugs are never glorified and rarely involved with children. Children respect and obey their parents. Professionals and working people are both ethical and good at their jobs or else play the antagonist in a conflict they will lose. All these typical television situations are subtle lessons that children pick up and it is hoped, believe and practiced later in life.

In summary, the medium of television can be a visual tool for growth and tolerance within our society or an unhealthy and mindless waste of our generation s time.


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