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and disadvantages of television
Television is one of the greatest achievements of the 20-th century. It is
the most popular part of mass media. Today every family has a TV-set. TV has
changed much since the time of its invention and so has its role. There have
been numerous debates concerning advantages and disadvantages of television.
When TV first appeared its main purpose was to give official information to
people. It was supported by the government. Now television plays a big role in
every civilised society. Today television gives people a possibility to be
well informed and enjoy "civilised pleasures." The programmes are various and
people have a chance to select what they want to see. Television provides
great opportunities for education. There are programmes devoted to specialised
subjects. With the help of TV it is possible to learn foreign languages, to
know a lot of wonderful things concerning the world flora and fauna. TV
teaches the ideals of democracy and political argument. Watching television
can be compared with reading books. It provides an outlet for creative
talents. By the beginning of the 21-st century TV became a coloured world
network. Numerous programmes people can receive by satellite or cable. The
choice of the channels ranges from six to twenty. These channels show
programmes of various kinds from documentaries, current events and sports to
programmes American films and science fiction cartoons. Now this medium of
communication allows people to see and speak with each other if they are
separated by thousands of kilometres. TV bridges between Russia and the USA
once were very popular. They showed that TV was a unifying force and that our
planet in reality is a small world. Previously innovations were promoted on
TV. TV shocked, surprised and stimulated. It brought ballet, opera, and
theatre to big masses of people. It was even in the vanguard of new drama.
Moreover, TV can keep children quiet. If they are noisy their mothers turn on
the set. If people do not like TV they do not buy it or switch it off.
At the same time there are a lot of arguments against TV. It is said that only
three generations have grown up with television, but they managed to forget
how to spend their free time without television. Its role is increasing not
because it is an entertainer or informant, but because of the grip it has on
many people. It is called a "living room monster" or "one-eyed monster." It is
established that the biggest viewers are pensioners and housewives. The latter
watch TV while their husbands are at work. In total they spend five hours
daily sitting before the "boxes." Children watch commercials, horror films or
films of violence. TV prevents children from creating their abilities. They
get accustomed to TV to such an extent that they watch it all the time. To
force their children away from their favourite evening programmes to their
homework has eventually become the main problem of the parents of different
Moreover, TV is damaging for health. It has bad effect on the eyes,
particularly of children. The physicians proved that if children do not watch
TV their eyesight improves. But if children do not watch TV they find
themselves without anything to talk about at school, where comedians and
singing stars are major topics during breaks between classes. The same is true
about some adults. Sometimes TV programmes become the topics of common
interest of the people and without, them they have nothing to talk about.
Nowadays some people in our country watch television programmes from about six
in the morning to the early hours of the next day. It means that contemporary
people for various reasons depend upon television. They watch everything from
news and sports reports to dramas, educational and entertainment programmes.
Today some people become TV addicts and feel - unhappy if they fail to find
another way of passing leisure time. Free time is regulated by television. TV
occupies our free time. Instead of going to the theatre or reading books
people watch TV. People rush home, gulp food to be in time to watch their
favourite programmes. Very often programmes are bad, as TV cannot keep pace
with demand. People have stopped reading books and depend on TV pictures.
Spoken words become more important that the written ones. TV cuts people from
the real world. The virtual world becomes more important. TV is absolutely
irrelevant to real living. No surprise that television is often called
"chewing gum for men's brains." People become lazy, instead of doing sports
they watch TV. Television takes free time of the people. Instead of joining a
choir or playing football or reading books people watch various programmes.
Dinnertime is often pressed by television if it is not in the kitchen. If
people are deprived for various reasons of watching their favourite programmes
they feel inconvenience. The best thing is to watch only selective TV
programmes and not to be governed by them. Only few people today can live
without television. It should be said that television continues to play an
important part in the human life despite increasing influence of the Internet,
video games and other high-technology sources of information.
- Do you like to watch TV?
- Sometimes I like to watch TV. But I do not spend much time in front of this
"one-eyed monster" I watch only my favourite programmes. I like sports
programmes and science fiction serials. Football is my favourite sport, so I
try not to miss important games that are shown on TV. I am especially
interested in the European Football Cup. I also like science fiction. Although
I prefer reading science fiction to watching it, I should admit that there is
a number of good science fiction movies and serials. Among them are "Star
Wars", "Star Trek", and "Babylon-5." A couple of years ago "Babylon-5" was
shown on TV-6 and I did not miss a single film. Now there are many science
fiction and fantasy serials shown on TV, but generally they are not of high
quality, so I prefer to spend my free time doing other things.
- What programmes do members of your family like to watch?
- My grandmother likes Latin American "soap operas." These are usually love
stories with a happy end. My parents like to watch "Civilisation". This
programme is devoted to outstanding personalities and events. It is very
informative. They also like documentaries devoted to something unusual.
- What kind of TV is most popular today?
- I think that "reality TV" is very popular today. Millions of people watch
"reality TV" series "Behind the Glass" and "The Last Hero." The major
advantage of such programmes is that they are not movies based on a strict
scenario. Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.
"Reality TV" shows the directed real life in which people are competing for a
tangible reward. But unlike in real life everything happens quicker. Of course
they have to follow certain rules, but generally they are free to behave, as
they like. This, I think is most attractive. Nobody knows beforehand the
result of the game. It interests people because the game is as unpredictable
as the real life. People who watch such programmes try hard to figure out what
would they have done in such circumstances. The "reality TV" is substituting
all previous programmes such as the "Travellers' Club", "In the World of
Animals" because they are static. They set forth the results of the adventures
of the cameramen. In "reality TV" everything is dynamic.
- Can you agree with the statement, that if millions of people watch the same
programmes, the whole world becomes a "global village"?
- In a way, we can say that the whole world has become a big village. In every
country of the world people watch the same programmes. Such programmes as "Who
wants to be a Millionaire?". "The Weakest Link" have been invented in Britain
but they are popular in the USA and in our country too. People all over the
globe have common hopes, fears, and beliefs. Thus it is not surprising that
people in Russia like Latin American "soap operas" or British TV games.
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