Comparison of Different TV Habits

            Television is considered to be one of the most controversial and debating subjects in contemporary culture, therefore not surprisingly there is a lot of moaning about what is on TV - Comparison of Different TV Habits introduction. People consistently deny that they watch as much television as they actually do. The stigma attached to saying that you like television is strong.  Practically, people’s interest and TV viewing habits to the very degree are shaped by personal interests in their lives, age, occupations, income and even gender.

            For instance, many people, including myself, watch more news coverage. CNN, Fox News, BBC World and many other news programs work for those fairly well as long as they keep live newscasting and constant news updates. I prefer news, because news is storytelling, and TV news is story-telling with sharp and terse commentary, bountiful pictures, and a compelling sense of immediacy. Some people stay tuned in news all day.  Other groups of people, including my parents, simply do not go places on Monday nights, because they want to watch the CBS sitcoms and others always stat home on Tuesday night to see “Judging Amy.” Friends of mine, whose parents do not work outside the home often tell me their parents even let television rule their lives during the day: if friends invite them to lunch, they do not go, because they miss “The Bold and the Beautiful.” They are letting television structure their lives, but in a sense they are also structuring the lives of others.

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            However, from the critical perspective, the diversity of available programs, TV channels, and ultimately programs’ content are now the strongest variable affecting where family members might view television, at least in our family. Among our family members, the consumption of all media is a solitary enterprise; we do not gather to share an evening with Osbornes or the Waltons or Huxtables. Similarly to the majority of American families, in our family teenagers watch about 11 hours of television each week, and their program selections are not likely to coincide with parents’ choices. So today, when teenagers watch their favorite programs, The Simpsons, Osbornes or MTV and teen girls consume their most preferred fare, Dawson’s Creek (Kantrowitz & Wingert, 1999:39), they probably are not watching television with parents at their sides. As one teenager noted, “TVs raise children now more than parents do …” (Leland, 46). Parents who neither know their children nor the media they consume have little opportunity to recognize symptoms of trouble, to prevent viewing of inappropriate programs for instance those depicting violence, or to intervene in antisocial or destructive responses to media exposure.

            During the century-old history of television, there had been a trend when TV became a center of family life and method of keeping happy family members together. However, this trend is unlike to happen again, because contemporary television is perceived as something individualistic, an expression of own style and character. Now modern families have to find other strategies not connected to television or home entertaining centers to keep family ties.


Kantrowitz, B., & Wingert, P. (1999). “How well do you know your kid?” Newsweek, May     10, pp. 36– 40.

Leland, J. (1999). “The secret life of teens.” Newsweek, May 10, pp. 45–50.


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