Tales of the Idiot Box

Tales of the Idiot Box

Last week, a friend of mine challenged me to do a case study/writeup on the social aspects of television on kids or somewhere along that line. I’ll be updating this post to include his writeup as well. Anyway, let’s begin!

As to stories and the like, there are two sides to everything. In the case of this topic, the positive and negative effects of the idiot box on kids. There is much dispute as to what those effects are, how serious the ramifications are and if these effects are more or less evolutionary with human communication. The examples won’t be much as I’m trying to keep this post as short as possible.

Several studies (that’s what they all say right?) have found that television has many advantages. If used wisely, it can be a very powerful and effective learning tool for children. The Media Awareness Network explains that television can help young children discover where they fit into society, develop closer relationships with peers and family and teach them to understand complex social aspects of communication. Thank you, Sesame Street and Elmo.

Research also shows (hehe) that individuals suffering from social isolation can employ television to create what is termed a faux relationship from their favorite television shows and movies as a way of deflecting feelings of loneliness and social deprivation. You know, this kinda reminds me of an old movie I watched not too long ago called Reign Over Me, starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. The story tells of two friends who are reunited by a chance meeting in post-9/11 New York City. Sandler’s character Charlie copes with his primary struggle through the game Shadow of the Colossus – with the aspects of the game mirroring the tragedy that befell him; the game’s falling giants mirroring the crashing towers of the September 11 attacks in which his wife and children died, and the game’s lead character trying to resurrect his deceased love are two of the main theme that strike a similarity.

Now, do we really need to talk about the negative aspects? I’m pretty sure we can list a ton of ’em: the CSI Syndrome, television addiction, media violence, propaganda. Yes, propaganda – the use of public service announcements (including those paid for by the governing bodies or politicians), news and current affairs, advertorials and talk shows to influence public opinion. Okay, I think I just went waaaaay off topic. Time to end this.

Chillax and take it easy. Monday’s just beginning. (By the way, I bet that friend of mine hasn’t even started his writeup.)


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