The debate around whether or not television is good for us has been going on for many years. Some people believe there’s nothing wrong with it, while others see is as purely negative. Television has become so ingrained in our society that finding a home without one is rare. In every home, we expect to find a television, most likely accompanied by a high-quality media cabinet for the full media viewing experience.
In today’s day and age, advances in technology have made televisions more appealing. There are smart TVs that essentially function as computers, TVs with curved edges, and TVs with high screen resolution. All of these TV innovations keep them as a fixed source of entertainment in our homes.
As with any technology, there are different pros and cons of television. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of watching television:
Pro: Free entertainment
Since televisions are already in our homes, flicking it on instantly provides us with cheap, easy entertainment and we don’t even need to leave the house! Considering how expensive things like going to the movies are, this lets us save some money while still providing ample entertainment.
There are so many different channels out there that there’s literally something for everyone’s interests: food channels, reality TV channels, DIY channels, channels that play the news all day, cartoons, history – the list goes on.
Pro: Social surrogacy
A lot of people will tell you they just play the TV to have some background noise while they go about their daily lives of doing chores, playing with their kids etc. TV watching can also take the place of family members or friends and fill a lonely void.
That’s what social surrogacy is all about – the term psychologists use to explain this phenomenon. If you’re lonely and bored, TV can be a constant companion.
Pro: Educational channels
As we mentioned above, there are so many channels to choose from. This means you don’t need to use the TV just to binge-watch your favourite reality show – you can also use it as a learning tool. Put on a channel like the history channel or national geographic and you’re not just watching a mind-numbing show – you’re learning something too!
There are also many DIY channels out there that teach you how to do simple home renovations, how to do some interior decorating, how to make some simple things out of various materials, how to cook – the list of benefits goes on. So, in this regard, TV provides you with knowledge that you can actually use and implement in your life.
Pro: Family bonding
Families have been gathering around the TV for years now. It’s a great way to get the family together, especially in today’s world where everyone is so busy. If you have teenagers that you never get to see, watching their favourite show with them can allow you to spend some precious time with them.
Con: Television can make you lazy
This disadvantage has been known for quite some time: television can make you lazy. Rather than going out with friends and family, you may just want to lounge on the couch and watch some TV instead. Or you may opt to watch TV instead of doing homework, chores, and other things that you really should be doing.
Television can also be addictive. Those who watch a lot of TV may find it harder to stop. You may just want to go home from work or school and watch your favourite TV shows and do nothing else.
Con: Violence & illicit content
There is an abundance of violence and illicit content on TV. This becomes especially problematic for children. Some researchers believe that when kids see violent acts on TV, they are more likely to re-enact the violence in real life.
This issue is still up for debate. You may believe it to be true or not. In any case, exposure to repeated violence can’t be good for impressionable youth.
Another con of TV is exposure to consumerism. Let’s face it: TV is filled with commercials boasting the latest cool toys, electronics, clothes, food, etc. It’s been found that on average, kids see about 40,000 ads in a year with most of them being about food and alcohol.
Con: Health Hazards
TV hurts your health. Some studies have found a correlation between TV watching and obesity. It’s also been found that watching more than three hours of TV a day can contribute to a wide variety of health problems like behaviour problems, sleep problems, and even lower grades.
While TV does provide some advantages, like everything else, there are also disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide which side of the coin you’re on.