, Research Paper
There is probably no greater influence on society than the television. It has become arguably the greatest invention of the past century. With it, we have witnessed countless historical events: Inaugurations of presidents; man?s first steps on the moon; the assignation of John F. Kennedy; even disasters as they happen. Americans watch TV in the morning to receive the daily news. They eat watching it. They watch it before they go to bed. But as television has saturated our lives, has it always resulted toward our betterment or has it possibly led to the deprivation of American society?
Although there are many benefits of television, American society has most assuredly been adversely affected by it. Since the birth of television, crime has skyrocketed. Many years ago, problems in school were chewing gum and running in the halls. Now, students fear for their lives as our schools have turned into war zones, with school shootings becoming a national problem. Many attribute this problem to the violence children watch on television. Children have become desensitized concerning the value of human life by the many murders and violence viewed on the screen. Television has led to the moral decline in our nation like no other device in history. With the coming of cable and satellite television, Americans now have scores of channels to watch with very little educational value. Many children sit for hours in front of the television, and could not imagine missing a favorite show or movie.
The media has an arguable hold on the politics of this nation. Many attribute Kennedy?s victory in the close election of 1960 to the presentation he made in two televised debates in the closing months of the campaign. The media has an agnate ability to control the ideas of American politics and rewrite history without too many people even noticing. Most Americans hold dear the precious first amendment right of free speech. But with freedom, there must also be responsibility. Societies that do not offer freedom in the media often have the lowest crime rates of the world. Why is this?
Television has softened the moral values and ideals of its viewers. It has the power to preach into our subconscious what its advertisers want you to believe. That is why billions of dollars are spent on advertising. Why? Because it works! Continued saturation by shows that softly depict murder, crime and abuse, sometimes soften our moral stances on important issues. From the stances we take on ecological issues to our religious beliefs, television has the power to effect our own values. This is most notable in children. It has social and economic consequences on families. They watch a show on television, and they begin to want to wear clothes that have the insignia of their favorite character. They begin to act like their favorite character. They even respond to their friends and parents in much the same way their favorite character would. This has led to children even acting out the violent scenes they have viewed on television in their own lives.
In many nations and cultures where television is more controlled or not as saturating as it is in the United States, the values of that society are more unchanging. Life is viewed by the interaction of family and friends, and not by what is presented in the media. Media moguls in those cultures do not challenge the ideology that is passed down from generation to generation. Therefore, it is important for Americans to understand that television is a tool that can be used for both good or bad, in much the same way that alcohol in moderation is conceivably good for the heart. But too much of it, without responsible behavior, can result in disaster.
With the fall of the iron curtain, it may be noted that society in the former Soviet Union is not altogether good. Crime has increased. A rift has been dug between those who can see the good from a free market, and those who view freedom with skepticism since it has led to many adverse effects.
Cultures that hinder the freedom of speech through the media many times have the lowest crime rates, as well as the closest family structure. Television has the power to educate and inform. It has the power to ignite a revolution among its citizens. But it also has the power to desensitize citizens concerning that nation?s morality. Societies must come to terms about the pro?s and con?s of such technology. We must weigh in the balance the benefits and the consequences of this form of ?free speech.?