Television (TV) plays a very important role in the building of a society. TV has changed societies of the world so much that we can’t ignore its importance. First of all, we have to know what the media is. TV is a source of information or communication and media plays a very significant role in everyone’s life. In today’s modern society, the media has become a very big part of our life. Its duty is to inform, educate and entertain. TV acts like a bridge between the governing bodies and general public. It is a powerful and flexible tool that influences the public to a great extent. TV is the voice of the voiceless and a great force in building the nation.
Although there are some positive effects of TV on people, there are also many negative effects of TV on children. For example, respect for life, bad influence on children and hurting celebrities intentionally. Since the birth of communication, media has been used to convey information to those willing to absorb it. Beginning with publications and simple spoken words, and soaring to new heights in the twentieth century with radio, television, and the internet, media have been made accessible to people in every aspect of their daily lives. With such a stronghold on modern society, mass media have been able to shape popular culture and often influence public opinion. However, when abused, the power of TV can harm the general population. Biased media tend to make people strive to be someone else’s idea of perfect while subconsciously ignoring their own goals. Stereotypes formed by the media that include thin, tanned women, and wealthy, muscular men have led to a decline in self-acceptance. The majority of media today often present the perfect body to the public, hoping that consumers will strive to achieve fitness using a certain product or idea. While this form of advertising may somewhat increase a product’s market share, many people suffer from inner conflicts as a result of failure to achieve the body of a top athlete or fashion model.
Unless reality is discerned from what is presented in certain media, some people will continue to suffer. Consumers could find the truth more easily if TV offered products advertised by normal people without all the extra glamor. In addition to this, if the public could view advertising only as something to get one’s attention and not a portrayal of how one should look, there would be fewer problems. Until either is accomplished, the negative effects will be felt by the vulnerable, and companies will continue to make their money.
If TV were encouraged to present products in ordinary situations by ordinary people, there would be fewer negative effects as a result of advertising. Consumers might realize that an article of clothing is not meant solely for slender women but can be enjoyed by people of all sizes. The products may not necessarily sell because of their sexy advertisements, but rather because of the appearance of the items themselves. In the long run more customers would buy the product simply because it appeals to them. There would not be as many disillusioned people, and possibly some of the harmful activities done to lose weight could cease. If manufacturers would agree to this, it could help them financially as well. For example, in the Redux case, glamorous advertising cost the company millions of dollars in lawsuits and brand name recognition. If the product had been aimed only at seriously overweight people as the drug was originally intended, less money would have been lost, and the company could still have its good name. The bottom line is that people should make up their minds that they will not be negatively influenced by the media. In doing this, the public can view TV for what it truly is-a means of conveying information or supplying entertainment. Good common sense should tell a woman that the overly attractive person in an advertisement is a model and should be admired for her beauty; all women are not required to look like her to be attractive. The process of differentiating fact from fiction in advertising cannot be described on paper. It can only happen in people’s minds, one at a time.
As long as this method of advertising continues to sell products for companies, there will still be the gorgeous woman bouncing around one’s television screen with a Marlboro in her hand and a Versace evening gown covering very little of her body. Although there is no direct solution to ending personal suffering due to the images put in front of the American population, there is a starting point. Companies can still successfully sell products without beautiful babes. Also, if certain media can be viewed for entertainment purposes only, people can enjoy the beautiful bodies before them. However, if some still model themselves after Cindy Crawford or Tom Cruise, they will keep failing to meet their extremely high personal goals. The media’s negative grip on society can be greatly decreased if people remember just one thing what is on television is only an advertisement.
To sum up, the effects of TV cannot be underestimated. They reach far into the foundation of the child’s relationship to the world. They affect the child’s values, their relationship to and estimation of other people, their relationship to themselves, their perception of reality. Even children’s programs, cartoons and education shows are not only violent in some cases, but they expose the child to behaviour that both show lack of reverence and respect for other people, or encourages awareness of self image, which jars the child into growing up before their time. Not to mention the enormous impact and very researched field of the short-term and long-term effects of violence in the TV. Even regardless of the content watched, television, films and computer games are addictive, impoverish creativity and imagination, as well as keeping them sitting in front of a screen instead of moving and playing (Winn, Marie, 2002).
I think, TV can be a huge challenge to avoid exposing young children and babies to it because the TV is so much part of modern life. One thing that helps immensely is to start by weaning oneself from it. Try to watch less TV, and to sing and learn to play an instrument instead of only listening to music, and be selective and attentive to content when playing music around the child.
Onyenwe writes from Port Harcourt.