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Does Television Affect Social Interaction? Essay

1084 words - 4 pages

A major research concern for behavioral psychologists and sociologists today circles an integral part of the American family routine and life. Something that has become so inset into homes that it would be rare to find one without it. Research has shown a hidden danger lurking in our homes, and the origin may surprise you. Television has been around since the early 1950’s but behaviorists have just recently begun to start studying the effects these machines may have on children, social interaction and families. Research has begun to show negative consequences of television on children’s development and socialization proving that it does reduce and affect social interaction.
Television, the dancing pixels behind a glass screen that have entranced many a youth since its mainstream release in the 1950’s, has evolved into an entity of its own. Most homes have at least one television; many have two or more. In fact, 98.2% of all homes in the United States have television sets, with most people owning 2.4 sets (Tischler 2007). How has this affected family life, social interaction and even self-image? Researchers have begun to work at answering these questions and have produced some startling results. Statistically, people today have become more isolated from the world by reducing their interactions with real life relationships. Social disengagement is on the rise with fewer people voting, attending church, volunteering and getting together less (Kraut 1998, Tischler 2007). Social disengagement has negative consequences for both societies and individuals with individual’s health and quality of life suffering, and crime rates, political involvement and civic life being affected negatively in societies (Kraut 1998). Internet also plays a role in this data, bringing a new field of information into consideration. Today, forty-one percent of all television is now viewed online, on a phone, on Dvds or recorded to watch later (using DVRs or Tivo) (Boyse 2010). This takes away important socialization time for children and young adults by eating into their free time that could be used for socialization and interactions between peers, family, or social groups/clubs. Television also interferes with the natural socialization process of child development. It has become such a staple in homes that many parents or babysitters will just place a child in front of the television to keep them quiet and entertained. This can affect the normal socialization process in which children require interaction, physical and verbal, with friends, peers and parents (Boyse 2010). Abnormal interaction or lack thereof can create physical and mental difficulties in a child with slower learning rates/learning disabilities and health problems being the most prevalent consequences (Tischler 2007).
Television doesn’t just affect children, it also affects teenagers and young adults, but more so their self-identity and self-esteem than physical development. Television sends messages to...

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