One of the most important means of communication by pictures and sounds is the television. Most of what we learn comes from television. Just think of all that we see in just one hour of television-commercials, educational programs, sitcoms, etc. The TV is another source that we can learn from about lands far away, people, and places. You can sit in your living room while visiting Europe, Asia, or even Australia. Television is a huge influence on our daily lives, as shown by how much time is spent staring at its screen.
Unfortunately, the heaviest viewers of television are children. Of course, there are worthwhile programs on TV suitable for kids, such as Sesame Street and the Magic School Bus, but just imagine what a child would think if he saw just one episode of Melrose Place. Do we tell the children that this is acceptable?
Radio is important, but is not used as frequently anymore due to the birth of television. We hear the news and can listen to different opinions of controversial subjects. Millions of families used to gather around the radio to listen to dramas, light comedies, variety shows, live music, and other programs. However, people can communicate a lot more quickly between any two points either on land, at sea, in the sky, or also in space, with the use of the radio. Politically, the radio made it possible for the people to be informed about government policies directly.
Radio was "born" in the twenties, and "died" in the forties. Because the depression made listening the only amusement people could afford, the thirties were radio's finest years. Later, in the fifties television was making a breakthrough. By 1961, 88% of the United States' households had two sets which were in use for an average of 5 hours a day. Television killed off small-club boxing, minor league baseball, and practically any other activity that meant leaving the living room. Television is the perfect baby-sitter. We just plop our kids down in front of the set, while we go among our business. Television has spent more time raising our kids than we have. Children no longer play baseball or swing on the swings in the park or play tag in the back yard as much anymore.
Television and radio have, obviously, been a huge influence on our lives. But the main question is: have they been a good influence or a bad influence? People watch television to find out what is happening in the world and to entertain themselves. A great number of American's have abandoned many things for television. Newspapers are an example of that. But crime shows and sitcoms along with porno trash are rampant.
As we sit in front of the set, eating potato chips, gaining weight, and filling our minds with trash, we don't stop to think of all that we could be doing to change our world. If we spent just a fraction of the time that we spend watching television each day doing something for someone else, just think of the kind of world we would live in.
But television has increased our knowledge of the world and our surrounding neighbors along with our interest of the earth. We know more about products that are offered to us, the public.
The radio has done all this also. It also provides us with music and talk shows. Radio and television are not bad unless we make ourselves bad. Television and radio have changed the way we look at the world. Suddenly, everything seems to be at our fingertips. Maybe we cannot change what is on television and the radio, but we can censor what we watch. We need to set a good example for our children.