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Debate: Should parents raise children without TV?

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Should parents raise children without TV?

Background and context

Many argue that television is harmful. It promotes violence, shows sexual scenes and other content not suitable for young children to see. It is also said that television does not stimulate and promote learning, which is essential for school kids.

On the other hand, there actually were successful TV shows for children that were able to increase literacy rates among the children, TV may be seen as a good means of relaxation, and a good source of information.

The question is - are children better off when raised without television?

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Value: Does TV have little substantive cultural value?

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Yes

  • Television is mostly directed to films and shows that have commercial purposes but little cultural value: Television has become a temple of mass production, shallow values and stereotypes that have a great influence on modern society. This negative effect spreads with the growing popularity of TV, especially among young people and children. It defiantly changes our society for the worse, trivialising culture and making us all conform to a bland, "Hollywood" model of entertainment in which regional traditions and diversity are lost.
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No

  • Many scientific and cultural programs are shown on television, which give new educational opportunities for our society: In addition TV is a very important factor in our information society. It enables the spread of information and opinion on important political and social issues, thus encouraging individuals to participate more actively in the life of society. Call-in shows and other programs help to establish closer links between politicians and electors. TV represents different interests and gives more opportunities for self-expression, thus forming a more open society. Interactive digital channels promise even more such opportunities in the future, perhaps creating electronic town-halls to assist democratic decision-making, and allowing niche channels to address particular cultural traditions or interests.
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Health concerns: Is watching TV harmful?

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Pro

  • Depression is a well-known psychological problem of modern society that is partly caused by tv watching: The popularity of TV watching is among the reasons of this phenomenon. Violence, aggression, crimes and wars are broadcast through the daily news as well as in movies, showing dark pictures that encourage psychological tension, pessimism and negative emotions.
  • Obesity risks. TV watching is a passive hobby that raises obesity (and diabetes) risks.
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Con

Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here

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Education: Do children benefit from watching TV?

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Pro

  • Educational TV shows. There are various educational TV shows for children that were proven to teach children basic literacy skills or helped them think creatively. These include Sesame Street, Blue's Clues, Reading Rainbow, and many more. Moreover, they were also popular among children.
  • News. By watching news children can learn about geography, politics, advances in science - everything simply and shortly explained. Additionally, children learn about real-life situations that happen on everyday basis which will benefit them in the future.
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Con

  • Children prefer passive TV-watching. Children generally enjoy cartoons, films and other passive TV programmes that do not encourage them to learn or think creatively.
  • Television is mostly directed to films and shows that have commercial purposes but little cultural value: Television has become a temple of mass production, shallow values and stereotypes that have a great influence on modern society. This negative effect spreads with the growing popularity of TV, especially among young people and children. It defiantly changes our society for the worse, trivializing culture and making us all conform to a bland, "Hollywood" model of entertainment in which regional traditions and diversity are lost.
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Violence: Does watching TV increase violence rates among children and teens?

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Pro

  • A big part of TV audience consists of teenagers, who are particularly vulnerable to the violence and various stereotypes, promoted by TV: This is because the mentality of young people is in the process of formation. Television’s impact on the morality of the younger generation can affect the future of our society negatively, and so the state and parents should act to limit their exposure to it.
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Con

  • It is obvious that the influence of family, friends, religion and school is decisive in forming the moral values of young people: If parents and teachers are not willing or capable of performing their proper role, then teenagers can be negatively influenced not only by TV, but also by friends, their social environment and other factors.
  • There is no direct link between mass media and antisocial behaviour: Such behavior is usually determined by social environment, family, peer pressure, or other factors. Many antisocial people even do not watch TV, while others may claim it is responsible for their actions simply to avoid taking responsibility for themselves. Psychologists claim that television does not have a simple, direct stimulus-response effect on its audiences. This can be illustrated by the example of Japan, where TV movies are famous for extreme violence, but the crime rate is low – much lower than in many societies where TV viewing is relatively rare.
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Advertisements: Do TV ads have a negative influence on individuals?

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Yes

  • Television is greatly abused for commercial purposes, in which audiences are constantly sold to: Advertisers try to convince the audience that the solution to a problem or the fulfillment of a desire can only be achieved through the purchase of a product. It is designed towards blind acceptance by the viewer. In this way TV negatively affects the human mind, by limiting the possibilities of conscious choice, and promotes a consumer society.
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No

  • Television is not the only tool for advertisement: The influence of commercials reaches our society through newspapers, radio and other sources of information. On the other hand, advertisement is just a source of information for consumers, which enables them to choose between different products. Advertising can also be regulated in different ways that do not relate to a debate about television. Indeed television broadcasting can be run without advertising at all; the U.K.’s BBC runs no commercials but is paid for through a licensing fee, while commercial broadcasters are increasingly promoting pay-per-view options.
  • Advertising is not necessarily bad. Although some commercials were clearly not designed for children, a significant proportion of adverts does indeed have a message. Such spots can promote family values, sports, cultural values, etc., which clearly benefits our society.

See also

External links and resources

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