In has become a norm in developed countries where watching television is one of the most popular past-time activity compared to the others. Statistics showed that an average of two and a half hours is spent by total population, dwarfing other leisure and past time activities (American Time Use Survey 2003). Amid the statistics and current social trend, people are still arguing about whether this past time activity brings more harm than good to the society. There are sound evidences to support that watching television actually brings a lot of advantages such as improving an individual’s critical thinking, creating more entertaining education environment and exposing people to current issues and other cultures.
First and foremost, television programs can be harnessed to enhance more critical thinking especially among youngsters. Such programs like ‘Friends’ for example, although it is seen to give a negative influences, but teenagers can discuss with their parents how problems are resolved in the program and finding other more viable solution than shown on the television program (Sharif 1999). From there, students are able to engage in critical thinking when it comes to discussing more serious issues of social problems varying from globalization to poverty (Leigh 2001).
Furthermore, the television provides an alternative medium for learning process. Television as an audio-visual medium proven to be a popular teaching tool among preschools as children are more likely to comprehend and maintain information they have seen and heard rather than simply read (Leigh 2001). Besides that, television uses animation and puppets to make learning more fun and entertaining (Rutherford 2002). On the other hand, older children can cope with subjects like science and geography better through variety techniques in television which is unique and interesting (Leigh 2001).
Ideally, television watching can expose younger generation to gain additional knowledge on local and global issues. Current news broadcast on television provide information to the youth about global problems. Consequently, it may encourage them to take part in charity works (Sharif 1999). In addition, television could be a tool for democracy through direct exposure of latest events to the public (Rutherford 2002). By watching tourism and cultural channel, children proved to be more aware of their own culture and other cultures in the world, garnering knowledge of the animal kingdom and discovering sciences that will increase curiosity about the world around them (Leigh 2001 & Rutherford 2002). Apart from that, watching television can revitalize and able to concentrate on things like homework after a tiring day at school (Rutherford 2002).
In conclusion, it is crystal clear that we can harness the television program to gain benefit from it. We need to be remindful so that watching television excessively can be avoided. We should set aside criticism that singled out only on viewing habits that are unhealthy and excessive (Rutherford 2002). Technology made with good side and flipside, it is up to us to analyze and decide which should we take.