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The Effects of Television on Today's Society

The Effects of Television on Today's Society

Recent studies show that North American’s have more televisions than bathrooms in their homes. Television is a part of everyone’s life, even if you don’t watch it you are surrounded by those who do. Due to this large audience, this form of media can help shape societal development, while enjoying their favorite television shows people unknowingly absorb the political, social and economic messages that are assumed in the program. Television is a tool that can be used for both bad and good, it can be used to educate and allow people to see a world they might never have a chance to see in reality. However, television shows a small, distorted view of reality, which can damage people’s views of the real world, and this can influence how people think and behave.

To understand how television influences society we must first understand how society affects individuals. Through a process of socialization, everyone will learn how to behave in society by observing the behavior of others. Before television children relied on close groups of family and peer groups to learn the art of socialization. Now however mass media allows millions of people to share a variety of identical experiences, through television we can observe how successful people behave and we assume that this is the proper way to behave in the real world.

“Those who tell stories hold the power in society. Today television tells most of the stories to most of the people most of the time”
- George Gerbner

Television is the most realistic medium of communication available, what you see and hear seems a lot like what you experience in real life, because of this it is easy to assume what we see in the media is reality. When we spend so much time watching fictional characters in fictional situations, our view of normal behavior may be distorted. People on television are often stereotyped and falsely depict the reality of the people in the real world. Most of the characters are handsome males, who are intelligent, educated and well employed. However women are tending to be portrayed as unemployed and dependent on a man in a mother type role. This stereotypical portrayal of the sexes influences how people perceive these gender roles in today’s society. Minorities are...

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