Television and the Family Essay

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Television and the Family

Television's Impact on the Family

Among the many laments of the American media, the one that remains constant is that of the degradation of the family. Many issues combine to cause the problems of young children, teens, and adults resulting in behaviors of a magnitude from acting out in school to adolescent eating disorders. According to author Marie Winn, one of the primary influences for the dissolution and destruction of the American family is the television

In her essay Television: The Plug-In Drug, Winn discusses the findings of multiple sociological and developmental psychology studies, all presenting the blaring and painful truth: modern families depend upon television to numb daily life. I think that Marie Winn is precisely correct in her observation and arguments against the use of television in the American home because television has led to improperly socially developed children, the destruction of family traditions and interaction, and a detrimental and unrealistic view of one's self.

The first ill of television in the American home, according to Winn, is the resulting deadening of children's social abilities. Winn accurately addresses the fact that one of the first indicators in children of too much television viewing is an inability to form proper eye contact with others. Whereas, a normally adjusted child understands the context of when to make direct eye contact and when to move eyes to side, a child who never engages in regular conversation is unable to understand the overall context and unable to finely tune this essential social skill. The reason is that the interaction with characters on the television is one-sided. There is not active conversation in which a child is actively participating and responding, rather the television is talking at the child leaving the child wanting for actual social interaction. In fact, Winn mentions an interview in her essay where a school teacher observes the effects of too much television on a child's ability to properly socialize. The teacher details how children who watch large amounts of television instead of interacting with their parents are unable to form proper social interactions or read proper social signs from other children. The simple fact is that children cannot actively participate in meaningful conversation with a television.

The modern television is an anesthetic families use to avoid actual family participation. Whereas traditional families would strike up dinner table conversations, modern families sit in front of the television while they eat. In fact, as of 1990, most families have more than one television in their house, so not only do families not need to speak,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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