Ahh television. One of the easiest ways to be comfy and lazy is to watch TV. It’s entertainment, for some a way to escape the harsh ways of reality. If anything can be said about television, its that it’s main goal is to please us. It’s objective is to satisfy it’s audiences while still sending out information that the audience can decode and take in as a message. TV is entertaining, funny, and exciting. Watching TV can make you more intelligent, more up to date, and heck, it can even give you something to talk about at the Water Cooler at work. But how much TV is too much TV?
It’s obvious that watching too much TV isn’t good for you, but how bad is it. A recent study has discovered that watching too muchTV can actually kill you! By tracking over 86,000 people over 18 years, it was discovered that watching to much television increases the risk of suffering fatal pulmonary embolism. “Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs, and is usually caused by a blood clot formed in a vein in the leg. Up to 60,000 people die as a result of pulmonary embolism each year in Britain”. Watching TV for over 5-6 hours a day, with an increased age (40-59) doubles your chances of suffering from a fatal blood clot. The study, which was done by Japanese Collaborative Cohort Study, resulted in 18 deaths from 36,007 men and 50,017 women. This study was the first to discover a link between prolonged television watching and fatal pulmonary embolism. This study also shows that correlation does not equal causation for pulmonary embolism doesn’t cause one to watch TV.
After reading this article, it got me thinking about what’s really on Television that we watch. I thought it would be interesting to know the effects of what we see on TV and how we react to it. One classic example that can help clear this up is Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment. Albert Bandura, who conducted this experiment with his colleagues at Stanford University, used an inflatable doll and children to help see correlation between what he see on TV and how we react. A short video was shown to preschoolers where their would be a Bobo doll with a clown face printed on the front and sand in the dolls base so the doll bopped back and forth after getting hit. A man was then shown hitting, punching, and kicking the Bobo doll all over the room. Obviously, all children saw that part of the film, but with the way they conducted the experiment, they would show different groups of children alternative endings. In the first ending to the film, the man who beats up the doll is rewarded with praise and food. The second ending showed the man who beat up the doll, punished for his actions. And the third ending was shown to a group of children where they only saw the opening sequence. After the show, the children were lead to a playroom with a Bobo doll inside the room. Bandura and his colleagues then watched how the children acted when seeing the doll. What they concluded was that the children who were shown the first and third endings imitated the aggressive acts they saw on Bobo while the second group of kids tended not to do so. Yet several children in the second group acted violently toward Bobo as well. This discovery was important because it showed that mere exposure to television violence (whether or not the violence was visibly rewarded on screen) could spur aggressive responses in young children. However, Bandura was also able to conclude that the punishment the children saw, when the man got punished for beating Bobo, inhibited their aggressive behavior.
The findings were to suggest that children learn social behavior through observation learning. That is to say that kids, especially at such a young age, learn traits such as aggressiveness through watching the actions of another person.
If I were to conduct an experiment as such, I would do it in the same fashion. An experimental design would be the best for this experiment because the method can establish the effect of cause and effect the best. The variables are also controlled so it can rule out other competing explanations for the results. I would also use the experimental method because of the replicability the method has. Alterations can be made to find or eliminate other results.
In this experiment, the value of having a controlled design was key. Only the endings of the film were varied, so that any subsequent differences among them could be attributed to the differences in media content.
TV now is closely monitored by the FCC. They essentially control what is seen and heard on the airways. A TV Rating system was set into place after public concerns to profanity and graphic violence in television programs. TV ratings are as such: TV Y, TV Y7, TV G, TV PG, TV 14, TV MA. TV Y is appropriate for all children while TV MA is for Mature Audiences only and may be unsuitable for children under 17. Having a rating system and parental guidelines allows Television to be “noticeably” cleaner because children are advised not to watch that isn’t suitable for them, yet it is still on the airways.
In the end, Television can be violent. Television can show sexual content and it can be graphic. The FCC montiors what is on the airways pretty tightly, so nothing too harmful is shown. However, the violence of television is determined and really judged by the actions of the people who watch it.