March 7, 2019 in Research
Effects of Television on the American Culture

Over the years, television has emerged as one of most popular mass media in the American society. “It is estimated that ninety-seven percent of the American families owns television set and the average adults spends an average of  four hours watching television in a day.” 1Many of the TV programs are designed to capture majority of the americans. Television has also led to the increased moral decay in the society. Some of the influential characters from television show support homosexuality and sex before marriage. Such perceptions have eroded the characters and moral of the young children towards the immoral ways. They also encourage other bad ways of behavior including casual sex and increased drinking in the United States. Despite the adverse effects of televisions, it has influenced a cultural change towards equality between the blacks and whites. The paper will identify the different effects of television on the American culture. Most important, they represent cultural unity in terms of national crises. For example, in 2001 the terrorist attacks that occurred in America were continuously broadcasted by multiple television stations to maintain updated coverage of the events. The paper will investigate the effects of television on the American culture in terms of health, morality, and social aspects such as violence and discrimination.

Television leads to increased violence in the American society. “A study identifies that children have become more violent over the last 10 years due to the influence of television programs.” 2The exposure of children to violent television programs changes their attitudes negatively increasing violence. After watching violent television program, children might develop aggressive behaviors, desensitization, and increased fear of becoming victims of violence. The effects of television on children violence cases had led to adverse outcomes in the country. For example, recently there were reported cases of young children killing other children in schools such as the Michigan killings. It indicates the increased level of violent behaviors among children that has caused major public health concerns in the United States. There is an extremely strong relationship between the exposure of children to violent television programs and the corresponding aggressive actions.  

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The American culture is characterized by the increased cases of violence due to the exposures by televisions shows. Several evidence-based recommendations draw on the nature of violence exposed on televisions. Moreover, the violence on television is portrayed in a manner that increases the risk of adverse effects on the viewers. For example, violence is often portrayed by physically attractive actors to subconsciously justify and make aggressive behavior acceptable by the audience. Thus, the presentation of violence on television increases the level of violence among the children. Medical researchers have also indicated that the nature of exposures to violent images creates the risks for advanced harmful effects in children. 1Therefore, television has influenced violent actions among children and even adults in America developing a violent American culture.

Fig. 1

 Television Addiction causes Obesity

television addiction causes obesity

In addition, the increased cases of childhood obesity in the United States are strongly associated with eating in front of TV. As young children views the television shows, the level of body metabolic rate is reduced increasing the risks of being obese.  For example, fig 1 shows a young boy watching the television while eating some junk foods. From the image, it can be observed that the boy has gained some weight. Thus, watching TV increases the risks of potential obesity condition among younger children. Many organizations have advised children to reduce time spend watching the TV to promote weight control. “They also suggest that children should not spend more than 2 hours per day on television viewing.” 1Childhood obesity has been a major health problem affecting many children in the United States. It defines the current situation of American culture that increases the rate of childhood obesity. Some children in the United States have TV in their bedrooms what is a potential risk to gain weight. Watching TV also affects children’s diet and interferes with the sleeping patterns. The poor diet mostly involves junk foods that increase the risk of becoming obese.  

Other aspects, associated with watching TV that cause obesity include the displacement of time for exercises and giving an opportunity for unhealthy snacks. Studies indicate that the increased time spent on watching the TV is linked with the increased intake of calorie and poor diet.  While watching the TV, children are affected by marketing campaign adverts for low nutrient drinks and meals.  The television food marketing has significant influence on the eating patterns of young children in America. Children tend to prefer food and drinks featuring in the different TV shows. Most of the food and drink brands in the television shows are sugary products that expose to the risk of childhood obesity. Most important, total hours spend in watching the TV shows are responsible for increased cases of obesity in America. As a result, the adverse televisions have led to the culture of obesity among the children in the United States.

Fig. 2

Adults Kissing on Television Programs

adults kissing on tv programs

In addition, the increased time spent on watching the TV has led to adverse effects of the moral health of the Americans. The television shows often reveal certain information that undermines the American cultural doctrine of character morality and respect for God. A study indicated that there is a strong correlation between increased television exposure and unacceptable moral views and perceptions. People who spend more time watching the TV have less time to perform their character virtues including honesty and have a permissive view on abortion, sex and homosexuality. On the other hand, persons who spend less time watching television have adequate time to attend to religious mattes improving their moral health. Good morals are built around personal responsibility. The heavy television viewers are unlikely to accept their responsibility and roles. Such situation has led to moral decay in the American society.   

 For example, fig 2 shows an image of two adult kissing during a television show. Any children watching television programs with such images will accept and even try to practice the immoral acts. It also pertains to the cases of sexual morality in the United States. It is reported that close to 39 per cent of the viewers of televisions engages in sex outside marriage.  While 67 per cent of the heavy TV audience thinks that homosexuality is not wrong. In addition, “it is estimated that 73 per cent of Americans have weaker moral values compared to 48 per cent of Americans with weaker moral values in the last 20 years.” 1The weak moral values include low sexual principles, spoiled character, and low respect to God. Thus, the television shows are harming the moral conditions of the American culture. 

In spite of the adverse effects of television on the American culture,  today the television programs are been used to promote equality between the blacks and whites. In the late 1970s, the majority of people who played in the television programs were the whites. The situation led to stereotyping of the minorities in America. For example, the  African Americans were given roles of households servants in the shows. Some of critics suggested that the television programs were used as media for encouraging outright racism in the United States. “Studies conducted indicated that the television programs were targeting the whites who were the major audience.”  2The directors assumed that the whites would not be willing to watch television shows acted by the blacks. However, the situation improved following the civil rights movements that fought for the eradication of racial segregation. Today, most African Americans have acted in good characters in the television shows creating equality in the American culture. It indicates a positive impacts of viewing television in the United  States. Even the whites enjoys televisions shows acted and directed by the blacks. For example, Oprah Winfrey show has achieved much success in the America. As a result, watching the TV has reduced the cases of discrimination in terms of the race and ethnic in the United States.

In summary, there are both negative and positive effects of television on the American culture. The increased violence among American children is closely associated with the watching the TV shows. Some of the TV shows has violent images that lead to aggressive behavior among the children. Young children have been noted to spend more than four hours watching the TV programs.  Such situation exposes them to the risk of obesity condition and poor eating habits.  Young children are expected to engage in physical exercises, but watching the TV reduces the time for the exercises.  In addition, the television programs also encourage immoral actions among the children in the community. The less time is spent watching the TV, the more time left to develop their moral and social relationships in the society.  The situation leads to the development of immoral citizens in the United States.  In spite of all, television shows have been used to promote national unity as well as abolishing discrimination. It is important to control the numbers of hours spent in front of the TV to avoid the adverse effects of excessive television viewing. 



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