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Does TV Shape the Opinions of the Young Generation?

Posted on July 3, 2012 at 12:05 PM


     Fifty years ago, the world was just experiencing the fascinating new creation known as the “television”. In America, most families that owned a television set probably only got 3 channels through their rabbit-ear antennas. How drastically things have changed in the television industry today. Thousands of channels are airing round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The average American household has 3 TVs. With this much availability, TV undoubtedly plays a great role in shaping the opinions and positions of everyone who watches them; especially the younger generation.

     Television shows can be quite helpful in some cases. Many TV shows can be found floating in the sea of digital channels that inform watchers, and promote good behavior. Take for example, Animal Plannet, Discovery Channel, and The History Channel: Many programs on these channels are informative and can add to the knowledge base of anyone who watches. These channels may give viewers a chance to see places, animals, and cultures that they may never have seen otherwise. HGTV gives helpful tips to homeowners on how to spruce up their homes, and also how to sell their homes quickly.

     However, on the other hand, there are just as many, if not more, television shows that portray bad behavior and in some senses, glamourize it. MTV has many programs that showcase people doing less than intelligent things. Jersey Shore shows overly tan young adults partying and doing whatever they please, not caring if they hurt someone else’s feelings, as long as they get what they want. Many television channels play movies with content that might make young generations believe that it’s okay to do things that they probably wouldn’t think were okay just by their own consciences. TV shows and movies that show people being tortured and slashed up for “horror” desensitize viewers. Seeing someone dismembered and bloody is just something common now, that almost every American has seen at one time or another in a movie.

     News Channels can be very influential in shaping opinions of young America. Fox News provides news with a republican, conservative slant, while CNN and others present news with a more democratic, liberal view. The slightest bit of information provided on these news channels could easily sway young voters.

     Some people may argue that young generations aren’t greatly influenced by television, and in some cases, this may be true. If a young person watches minimal TV, chances are he or she will have more unique opinions than a young person who watches great amounts of TV. However, even the young person who watches barely any television will likely have friends and family that do watch hours and hours of TV programming; when talking to these people, the opinions they have gathered from TV will possibly rub off on the people they are talking to. Even if TV doesn’t influence someone directly, chances are, it will influence them indirectly in some way.

This is an argumentative essay that I wrote as practice for the CLEP English Composition Exam.

If you have another opinion on it, I'd love to hear it!


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