The Impact of Television on Modern Day Society
In modern day society, TV has impacted and influenced the lives and ideas of many individuals, often helping to control the ideals of societies as a whole. The television was introduced in 1954 and to this day, television has influenced millions around the world from inaccurate reflection of reality, perpetuation of of stereotypes, or even glamourization of bad behavior (encyclopedia). TV can influence both behavioral and ideological changes in society. The TV has been considered one of the best inventions in modern day society (123helpme). TV is in the presence of most families around the world since the 1950’s (encyclopedia). It has impacted society by influencing the way that people think about such important social issues such as race, gender, and class (encyclopedia). It has disseminated messages faster throughout the world, unlike the radio which is bound to a certain limit. It brought families together to sit down and watch TV programs, which contributed to American materialism.
Before the 1970s, the majority of people on television were mostly white people (encyclopedia). They were considered normal in all programs such as sports, news, entertainment, and advertisement. The few races that weren’t white often portrayed as stereotypes and played minor roles. African American actors played roles as household servants, while Native Americans often appeared as warriors (encyclopedia). This also impacted Gays and Lesbians, they weren’t on TV until the early 70s. In the beginning they were only featured on single episodes. The characters they played were usually one-dimensional, and served as a purpose of creating conflict among regular characters (encyclopedia). Homosexuals became for visible to society and TV shows began to reflect that by also portraying them as stereotypes. The roles they played were portrayed as unrealistic (encyclopedia).
Television became a way to spread messages quickly throughout the world. Television made it so everyone could watch the elections and see what was going on. In 1952 for the first time, television news was able to broadcast the Republican and Democratic conventions live from Philadelphia to the rest of the nation (livinghistoryfarm). The importance of that event for rural America went beyond the fact that rural residents knew in real time that Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson were running for President against each other (livinghistoryfarm). TV shows, news, sports events had national dialog on the people. After major events, everyone would know and speak about it. Between 1949 and 1969, the number of households in the U.S. with at least one TV set rose from less than a million to 44 million (livinghistoryfarm). Movements such as the Civil Rights Movement was displayed on TV, which showed the march on Washington and brought the issues Martin Luther King Jr portrayed a reflection on the people and brought those issues into mandatory focus (livinghistoryfarm). When television also showed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, most Americans turned on the television to receive news. The message spread like wildfire also when Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin who killed President John F. Kennedy (livinghistoryfarm).
In the 1950s, television was considered a form of family entertainment (encyclopedia). It brought families together to watch their favorite shows. The shows that were shown on TV were for a general audience and were suitable for all ages. Fictional families portrayed on television reflected and influenced the real lives of American families (encyclopedia). Comedy shows were one of the favorites a family would sit down and watch. The increasing popularity of sitcoms started to make families more together and enjoyable. TV families of the early 50s showed some diversity and didn’t represent the typical lifestyle of American families (encyclopedia). There were big families and couples with no children living under one roof. Some lived in rural areas and others lived in big cities or suburbs.
Although the impact of TV had good outcomes, it also had some bad outcomes on society. Sometimes TV is deliberately applied to misinform people, for instance governments use TV as an advertising tool (123helpme). In addition, family members may be to concentration on watching TV that they lack communication with others (123helpme). Children are also impacted, since they are more sensitive than adults. Children watching too much TV makes children lose important social skills.