How Does Television Influence Our Lives?

Over the last several decades, television has extended its influence in our lives. For many years, it was common to have only one television in the home, where families would gather at broadcast times to watch news or entertainment. Over the last number of years, everything has changed—programs are available on-demand, connectivity has increased and homes commonly have more than one television. With the ubiquitous growth of television, it is worth questioning its role and place in our lives.

Television is there for us, on demand, allowing us to explore new content and interests. It is a focal point in our homes, often placed on a sleek and beautiful white gloss TV stand with LED lights in our living rooms. Since television is everywhere and all-the-time, we need to maintain a good level of self-awareness regarding its tendency to promote unrealistic standards.

If you find yourself questioning how T.V. has changed its function in our homes, you may wonder: how does television influence our lives? We’ve put together a list to help you think about this broad topic:

1. Television News

Watching the news is perhaps the great influence of television in our lives. Being able to watch and hear what’s currently happening around the world is unprecedented until the invention of TV. Just as television started, as a broadcast tool for world and local events, it remains an important news source today. Whether you are awaiting a government announcement or want to know about local traffic and weather for the day, you likely turn on the news by reflex.

While news programs were once limited to the evening news timeslot, there are now multiple broadcast options and even entire channels dedicated to the subject. With the broadcast capability of news, delivering important information to as many people as possible, it is no wonder that news started and remains one of the primary functions of television.

2. Emergency Alert System

In a similar vein, TV remains an important communication tool for emergency information. The television can indicate whether there is a tornado or some other weather event on the way, an earthquake nearby, a chemical leak or an Amber Alert regarding a missing child.

No matter the emergency, television broadcasts can be interrupted to communicate timely information that could save lives. While these alerts are used sparingly, they are effective in reaching a wide audience quickly.

3. Education on Television

Beyond learning about current events and potential threats, television acts as a valuable education tool. A wide range of documentaries and non-fiction series are available on demand, allowing viewers to learn about everything from reading basics to polar bear migration or weather systems in Indonesia.

Specialty channels also offer adult education programming on a wide range of subjects, as part of what is known as instructional television for select colleges and universities.

4. Entertainment on Television

Of course, television is widely used for its ability to entertain. Falling deeply into a favourite show, whether a comedy, drama or reality-based program, can provide a welcome escape from day-to-day life.

As humans, we are drawn to entertainment, as it brings us joy and can often help to put the experiences of our own lives into context. Studies show that watching T.V., enjoying a favourite show, releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that make us want to watch more.

5. Social Connection

In the past, unless you were watching with your family or friends, sitting in front of the television was a solo activity. The modern experience is completely different. With televisions connected to the internet, they can act as vehicles for social connection.

Video games are famously interactive, with friends able to play together online, viewing the same content from televisions in their own homes. There are also social streaming options, for people to view movies simultaneously from their own homes.

6. External Connectivity

Beyond the connection that people can have playing video games or watching a show at the same time, television can bring people together outside of the moment, as well. When friends, family or co-workers watch the same show and then share their thoughts and feelings about the content, it can bring them together in unexpected ways.

7. Political TV Content

One subject that spans multiple genres—news, education and perhaps even entertainment—is the vast amount of political content available on television. Specialty shows that focus on politics, whether local, national or international, have become prolific.

There seems to be a broad, lasting interest in content related to public policy, current issues and political campaigns, along with the human-interest stories they create.

8. Aspirational TV Content

In addition to the genres mentioned above, television provides aspirational, sometimes motivational content. From home renovation shows to cooking competitions and stories of athletes reaching incredible heights, television is full of remarkable people doing extraordinary things. Of course, there is another side to this story: television. can glamorize unhealthy standards and should be viewed with this caution in mind.

Television has evolved over many decades. While news and entertainment have remained staples, there has been a wealth of new programming developed for TV, especially in the last decade. With new technology, new content and the prolific growth of TVs in our homes, you may have asked yourself lately—how does television influence our lives? The answer is both direct and indirect.

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