Television has been a large part of American lives for decades. The content that is shown on television influences, persuades, and fosters conformity in U. S. society. Males, females, the young, and the old are all impacted in some way by watching television. Over time, society has changed because of television and society will continue to change because of television. Over the years, research has been done to determine the effects television has on people and their behavior. According to Myers (2009), “In the average U.
S. home, the TV is on seven hours a day, with individual household members averaging three to four hours” (p. 287).
This means that a significant amount of time in homes is spent with the TV on. With the TV on this much, it only makes sense that human behaviors are impacted by this. Social behaviors are modified in many different ways and have changed our way of living. People are influenced by the content of what they watch on TV, in the movies, and during commercials.
When people watch these things, they get ideas of what they can do and many times they feel like they want to do what they see on TV, even if it is not a positive thing. Television can give people ideas that they may not otherwise have, and these ideas may have legal consequences.
For example, people who have recently lost their jobs and may be watching a movie in which a bank robber gets away with stealing a lot of money might get what they feel is a bright idea. Because the jobless people are down on their luck and need money, they may be influenced by the movie to go and try to rob a bank. However, this is against the law, not okay, and they will probably get caught. So this is an example of how people in society may not conform to socially acceptable ways of life. However, it is also an example of how people are influenced and persuaded by what they see on television.
On the other hand, there are many creative and positive ideas from television that can influence, persuade, and foster conformity in U. S. society. For example, shows about socially acceptable activities can give people ides as well. Specifically, TV movies and shows about sports can motivate an individual to possibly join a sports team or start exercising which are both socially acceptable activities. Also, there are many segments on TV about giving back and paying it forward that influence people to donate to charitable causes and help others.
Likewise, shows that depict violent behavior such as murder and rape can have effects on an individual’s behavior. According to Myers (2009), “ In one survey of 208 prison convicts, 9 of 10 admitted learning new criminal tricks by watching crime programs” (p. 288). Watching these types of violent shows can foster aggression in people. Television, to some, is a permission slip to do bad things. If a person in a movie can do it and get away with it and the network is allowing it to be aired, some people may then think that it must not be that bad.
All people have been affected by TV in some way, directly or indirectly. People who watch TV are affected directly by it because it influences their behaviors, and those who do not watch it are affected indirectly by the behaviors of those who watch it. Television has impacted our society as a whole, but I believe that the younger people are being affected the most. According to Chevallier and Mansour (1993), “It is a fact that in the USA, as in most industrialized countries but also in a growing number of developing countries, children now spend more time watching television than at school” (p. ). Younger people seem to be more impressionable than older people.
Over the years, research has shown that TV violence can influence children in a manner that negatively impacts society. As children, they are still developing their social skills and coping mechanisms, so seeing violence on TV is teaching them some unhealthy ways of coping with things. As reported by Eastman (2001), “Children who see, over and over again, that violence is an acceptable solution to problems on TV, tend to work out their own problems in the same way” (p. 8).
Also, the sexual identities of young people are still developing and with the variety of sexual material on television, it could negatively affect their natural instincts. Over the next 10 years and beyond, television will continue to be a large influence in the lives of people. With people turning to television for entertainment and news, they will continue to be influenced by what they see and hear. The Internet is a new way that people access information and entertainment as well though. So as the World Wide Web continues to grow and as people continue to use it, television may be used less often over time.
However, movie and series producers will continue to produce what they feel is entertaining, new, and edgy as this industry is huge. With this kind of entertainment that includes twists and turns in creative storylines, people will continue to be influenced by television. It is possible that in 20 or 50 years that television will not be as common as technology continues to advance. However, there will always be some kind of entertainment that will influence, persuade, and foster conformity in U. S. society.
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