This essay will focus on the statement 'Even when we are not watching television, it still frames our lives', discuss its implications and analyze whether this situation may be undergoing a change.
The average American family spends an average of 7.58 hours per day or 53 hours, 6 minutes per week glued to the television screen (Lawson, 2004, p. 17). Therefore the television has become an integral part of our lives, and this is true even when we are not actually viewing television. For instance according to Livingstone (1993, p. 5), " we plan our meals and phone calls as well as viewing around the television schedule". The influence wielded by television is exceedingly subtle but powerful nevertheless. The effects of television viewing have spilled over into several aspects of our lives which are examined below.
According to Huston et al (1993, p. 4) "Both theory and intuition suggest that television plays an important role in the development of many facets of attitude, emotion, social behavior and intellectual functioning". Even while not actually watching television, its influence can be felt as it shapes peoples' attitudes and perceptions. For many individuals interaction with people from other walks of life or other ethnic groups takes place mainly via the medium of television. Television portrayal of such people influences the way we see them and interact with them in real life.
Television is also seen to influence our consumptive beha...
This phenomena is explained by Kniazeva (2003, p. 216), "the artificial reality perpetually portrayed on the TV screen started serving as a subliminal frame of reference for the viewers in their consumption activity".
Television has a major role to play in familial relationships, emotions, aggression and sexuality. Critics of the insidious influence of television point out that excessive television viewing has led to a complete breakdown in communication between family members and consequently the number of broken homes is more prolific than ever before. According to Brock, (2003),"With television turned on in the average American household for seven hours and 40 minutes per day, and 40 percent of Americans saying they watch TV 'always or often' during dinner, it's no surprise that many families don't talk anymore". It would seem that youngsters are usually too wrapped up in the happy families portrayed on television to be bothered by their own parents. Any attempt to strike up a conversation by a well-meaning family member is usually met with hostility and resentment as such gestures are viewed as pesky intrusions into the ideal world of television viewing. Many of us have experienced a twinge of irritation or full-blown annoyance if our mother chooses to call in the middle of our favorite show. Therefore it would appear that television is robbing us of family time.
The television exposes the viewer to the entire gamut of human emotions, as characters are shown in the throes of passion, love, fury, vengeance and the like. These emotional behaviors or responses create a lasting impression on the viewer and stays with them long after the set is switched off. In similar