Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Cultural Impact of Television

The New York World’s Fair in 1939 held some of the earliest exhibits for television, which was greatly influenced by the culture through the technology of radios.  The market opened with DuMont and RCA’s first black and white televisions to the public market.

During the war, although suburbs did struggle, the television helped to raise the market after the war.  The television, just like the image of the housewife began to take on the tool of what was necessary to keep up in social status of the home.  With the new development of the television within the home came the question of ‘Where does the television go within the house’.  (Spidel 1)

 In the past, the family sat around a fireplace, but now the television was taking over the living room.  Even pianos were becoming a thing of the past.  With this came the new terminology of ‘the family room’.  The irony, was this really a family room if the television was the center focal point of interest? 

The television created a world of dreams.  The past was called upon again after the war when women were expected to return home to complete housework while the men went looking for jobs.  The television definitely supported this imagery.  The woman was perceived as a housewife, the male as the worker for the family, and the children as a definite asset to the “American Dream”.  The television shows certainly portrayed the perfect life, but was life really perfect or did the television merely created a fairy-tale lifestyle? (Spidel 2)

 Similar to past generations where the upper classes would buy radios to blend in with their residential designs, the American consumers were beginning to buy television stands to hide the product.  The poor had their televisions on display, while the rich took it upon themselves to make to television seem as though it was secondary to their expansive lifestyles.

 The television certainly called upon a “glued-to-your-seat” idea for children and families.  Families lost “family time” and children lost educational benefits.  Television became the drug of the 1950’s and later generations. (Spidel 3)

 Today, we use the television as a means of our central entertainment on a daily basis with no second-guessing ourselves.  An online study states, “on average a child watches a solid days worth of television over one week” (“Kids”).  Do you think the television has taken away from family life and more important things back in the 1950’s and has exceeded the limit?  Do you think parents should still set time limits for their children? Do you think we move away from the more important things in life to watch our favorite shows?  How has the media used this exhibition and invention to their advantage both in the 1950’s and today?  How has television influenced children and their decisions?



Johnson, Chris. “Kids watching too much TV? Duh!”. 18 Nov. 2009.


kengelman said...

I think that TV took away some communication in the 1950's but it did not necessarily take away family time. Since most households only had one TV and there was only one show on at time normally the families would all gather around the TV after dinner and watch the show together. So in a way this still contributed to family time the difference was however that no one would talk to each other. Yes the families were still together and having time together but they weren't communicating like they used to. This wall because of the TV.

I think today that parents should set time limits for their children because with the creation of all of the video games kids will play on the TV or watch the TV for 5 or 6 hours at a time. Kids back in the 1950s only watched a short amount of TV at night and that was after they played outside all day. I think kids today lack that. I know that I never really played outside like my parents did and kids in the future probably won't at all because they will be so wrapped up in TV, computer games, and video games. I think that if you set a limit of 1 or 2 hours of kids that is the right amount of time and that also allows kids to play outside and socialize with other kids instead of just sitting in front of a TV screen all day.

I think today we are all like this. If we are doing something and our favorite show is on we will mostly likely drop everything to watch that show. And if we can't watch it at that moment will definitely tape it so we can watch it as soon as we get done doing whatever we are doing. I think the way TV shows today are written in a way that you have to watch every episode so you don't feel out of the loop. This contributes to our craziness of having to watch our favorite show every week. I definitely think there are many cases that I personally have given up more important things, like studying for a test or doing homework, to watch my favorite TV show.

I think that more and more TV shows are influencing children in a negative way today. You can't turn a single show on today that doesn't have some kind of violence or sexual activity displayed. Younger and younger children are watching these shows and are thinking that these actions are ok for them to do at such a young age. I think modern TV shows are going to have a very negative influence on the children of the coming generations.

Angela said...

In the 1950’s television is beginning to be substituted for another form of communication. Family gatherings were formed more around the dinner table and the living room became a quite gathering with limited interaction of family members and peers. On the other hand, even though conversations are more limited television shows were a motivation for people to interact with others who shared the same interest in shows. Today this is very popular, where one will invite their friends over just to watch “One Tree Hill” on a Monday night and most likely there is only talking during commercials and once the show return back on voices are quickly turned off.
I think that children television shows are important for children to watch and enjoy because it broadens their sense of imagination and creativity, but I do agree that the amount time that television is watch should be limited. This is because as the years progress more and more vulgar, inappropriate, sexual and offensive things appear on shows that children should not be exposed to at young ages so they don’t learn bad habits early.
I have to admit that I have put aside homework or studying just to watch my favorite show for an hour, but I feel that this does not distract from getting work done its more on the lines of relaxing and taking an hour break from stress.
The media has been very successful in influencing people’s opinions and actions. Advertisements overwhelm television commercials which is successful in reeling in specific audiences to purchase products or be persuaded to a specific idea. Media has expanded greatly from the 1950’s until now. What use to be black and white on television is now filled with color and life and what use to be heard on the radio is now portrayed through posters and television commercials.
The successfulness of media today has fooled all of us daily and the funny thing is that we don’t even realize it. I don’t think television is a bad aspect by any means people just need to know how to manage their own time and not abuse their right of relaxation.

Melissa Long said...

In essence, I believe television is just another form of entertainment. Before its creation in the 1950’s people did other things besides watch TV to occupy their free time. While some of these may have been more educational, such as reading, people also may have done other activities that were harmful, like drink excessively because they were bored. Simply instead of sitting around reading books together, now we sit around and watch movies together. Family life can also be improved by other ways, such as eating dinner together or taking family vacations.

While excessive TV watching can lead to bad habits and loss of social skills I don’t think setting a time limit is the most effective way to limit kids watching TV. I would encourage parents to get their children more involved in other activities, such as sports, so they have less free time to watch TV. Growing up my mom never set a limit for how much TV I could watch, but would always start bugging me when she thought it was time for me to do something else. There are also days when children deserve a break and to watch TV than longer than an extended time period, lets say when they finish a large school studio project and need to “vegg.”

If children are required to follow through on time commitments, such as soccer practice and safety patrol, they don’t have the ability to “move away from the more important things in life to watch their favorite show.” With the invention of DVR shows can now be taped and watched in the hour of leisure that most children have a day. I personally have never been a person to follow a TV show from week to week. If I have time to watch TV I do, but I’m not going to put aside my school assignments to make time for TV.

TV does help portray a stereotypical image of how people should look and act. While it has become more diverse since its invention in the 1950’s, it still depicts lifestyles we strive to have. We often find ourselves aiming to have the Hill’s lifestyle, which we know it isn’t practical. Advertisements have also had a huge impact on the American life. They make us believe we need to buy specific products to have a lifestyle we want.

TV has begin to serve as almost an educator. Children are now beginning to learn about sex and drugs through the television instead of their parents. While is does expose people to things they might not otherwise seeing, TV is not the cause of America’s “missfits.” This is kind of like the large argument on the impact of video games on children’s violence. Its said, “video games don’t kill people, people kill people” and it is still the parents job to install moral values into their children.

caitlyn said...

I don't think it took away communication, at least during the 1950s. Television became the center of the living room in the 1950s home and the family actually bonded over watching their family-friendly television shows together.

Today however, I would say that television affects communication. The type and variety of the shows that are currently on television are vulgar, and target certain groups and types of people. Parents and children no longer watch the same types of television shows which make bonding over television no longer a reasonable goal. Parents could set limits but I feel that the children would just spend more time on the internet or some other electronical device making limiting television time pointless. Generally, I feel that we do revolve our lives around our favorite TV shows (I know that I always make time to watch the office on Thursdays) and if for some reason they cant watch it... hey there is always Tivo, right?

Vinti said...

I do believe that television has taken away from family time. At times when family members should be playing board games together or playing outdoors and spending quality time together, now with the presence of television, everyone is glued to the tube in their own rooms. People do not want to give up their TV time not only for social activities but even for routine family activities like having dinner together. People no longer visit their neighbors or relatives as much as they used to in the past.

I also feel strongly about limiting children’s TV time. What the TV is doing to children is really worse than we think. TV does all the thinking for children. It presents them readymade information and keeps them from doing analytical, logical and critical thinking for themselves. Children grow to believe in things that are shown on TV. They even make major life decisions under the influence of TV and not commonsense. The biggest loss that came with the advent of the television is the loss of interest in reading books.

When the TV was invented in the 1950’s, I don’t think it was as detrimental as it is today. From being a source of entertainment and downtime in the 1950’s, it has now become an addiction and takes up a big chunk of our day. The media uses TV to influence people into buying things they don’t really need. The media also uses TV to create lifestyles that are not realistic but that portray ideals such as celebrities. In the race to have the fanciest belongings and the fanciest lifestyles, people forget their values and their most priced possessions: their families and friends.

Casey_Ekers said...

In the 1950’s like Kaitlyn said families only watched one show at a time together, just because they didn’t talk doesn’t mean their not spending time together. If it weren’t for the TV the kids would be off in their rooms playing the father in the den reading and the mother in the kitchen cooking. The TV shows gave people something to talk about after the show was over. If the family were to go out to a movie together people would consider that spending time together and yet they don’t talk during the movie. Talking to my mother she said if they ever watched TV they did it as a family. There were only three channels. There weren’t all the distractions we have today for children, it was geared towards adults. People now days have so many different options for entertainment if you even can get everyone together it’s a marechale. So yes I would say sitting down together with the TV is family time.
I think today it’s very important for children to have a time limit for the TV. Now we have entire stations that only play cartoons, all day long. If you were to leave a kid alone in front of the TV they could sit there all day. There’s very little educational value in TV and they defiantly are not getting exercise from watching it. They need to be forced to find some other form of entertainment.
The media uses the TV to persuade peoples opinions all the time. trying to get them to buy this new drink or this new makeup. It’s probably the largest source of advertisement for most companies. Not only in commercials but in product placement as well.
Children are easily influenced. It takes very little to convince their trusting natures. So when they see professional wrestling on TV and go to imitate it. I think it’s safe to say they can be influenced by what they see on TV. I remember trying to reenact my favorite cartoons with my friends. I guess I’m just lucky it was never a Willy Coyote cartoon we tried to recreate. I think kids do try to imitate what they see on TV just like they try to imitate their ‘heros’ in real life.

Clay Moran said...

I have mixed feelings on television’s impact on the family life. When it comes to very direct things like video games or violent movies, the facts are there and I can quickly say I find its effects more negative than anything else. My response also depends on whether the question is ‘does TV contribute to the breakdown of family?’, ‘does TV take away time from other more healthy family activities’, ‘does TV separate people within a home?’, etc. Because my answer to each would be considerably different. I do feel that the amount of time people spend watching television in the home, could be better spent and far more productive in building relationships, if replaced with activities like game night, cooking and eating dinner together, playing sports or hiking, etc. However, as far as the actual activity being bad for families I just don’t see it. I don’t think it’s any worse than going to the movies or a Broadway show. Though, depending on the viewer’s choice of broadcast, the latter may be more enriching, all mentioned are solitary activities, providing no social interaction or development of interpersonal skills. I have seen families who watch a certain show together every week and it really brings them together. No one cancels to go hang out with their friends. No one plugs their ears with an I-pod and tunes out. Everyone really gets excited to come do this one thing together. And when it’s over, and until in plays the next week the family has some common, ground, something to talk about, share their opinion on, laugh, and ask questions. And although they might not be the most profound conversations, it’s a start and a possible portal to deeper more meaningful ones in the future.

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