Many critics assert that TV is responsible for “dumbing” down’ society. Many others argue that television contributes to a shared culture, which exceeds geographic and ethnic restrictions by tackling the ‘hyper real’. One thing is of certainty and that is television’s influential role in transforming society from one that is dominated by print to one that is dominated by image. The Medium is in fact the message, as Marshall McLuhan once said.
This article examines the 10 ways television influences people’s behavior. How has it changed society’s perception, beliefs, and attitudes to life and stereotypes? Let’s take a look.
Violence on television distorts violence as being good and acceptable. American children watch approximately 4 hours of television a day. Regrettably, today’s television programming is violent and influences children’s behavior and views on violence. Many studies have shown children becoming immune and numb to violence, acceptant of violence as a way to resolve problems and wanting to imitate what they observe on television.
Cigarette companies were one of the first to advertise on television. Many actors and characters on television are still frequently showed smoking cigars, cigarettes and experimenting with other drugs. When exposed to enormous advertising like this, viewers are prone to smoke even more. They thus see smoking as something that is the norm.
Not all profane language is censored on television. Many shows stipulate that viewer discretion is advised. The more times swearing and profanity is used on television, the more it can be seen as the norm. Children especially are likely to repeat what they hear because they find the language funny. Picking up on cues are very easy for children.
The media creates the ideal image of females and males, especially on television. Up until recently you would hardly see someone who is obese starring in a major role on television. You usually would have someone who is slim, muscular, and in perfect physique etc. Many people want to conform to these stereotypes. They also would like to be accepted by peers. They try to mimic the perfect/ideal shape exhibited on television.
5. Moral Decay:
Many television critics believe that television promotes cupidity and disregard for social responsibility. Daytime television is one example of this portrayal as it illustrate bank robberies, mafia wars, theft, murder etc. Critics have argued that such television shows have contributed to the moral decay or even rot in the society.