Topic 8

Topic:Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television has destroyed communication
among friends and family. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion

Television is undoubtedly one of the most powerful means of communication in the history of
humankind, rivaled only by such other forms of communication as the Internet, the telephone,
movies, and, of course, simple, low-tech speech. Television, with its wide availability and rich
media with image and sound, is difficult to ignore and even seductive in its appeal. Television is as
much a part of our lives as are our meals, work, or school; studies consistently show that the
average American child spends almost as much time watching television as she does in school.
Furthermore, because television is so rich in its media, it often requires our full attention or is
more attraction to us than are our daily lives. Naturally, the more time one spends watching
television, the less time she has with her family and friends. Thus, we can clearly see why some
have claimed that television has been harmful for communication among family and friends.
However, I believe that, while television has been somewhat harmful in its effects, it has hardly
"destroyed" communication among family and friends for most people, although for some, this
may be true.

Most people much prefer spending time with their families and friends to spending time watching
television. Television is of course an important part of many people’s lives, but most people would
gladly choose family and friends over television were they given the choice. Furthermore, most
educated people are aware of the deleterious effects of too much television and either avoid
excessive time watching television, or actually do not enjoy it. I, for example, after a long day at
work, would much rather spend time talking with my wife and playing with my children than I
would watching some unrealistic portrayal of life on television. For me and my family, our time
together is precious and beautiful, and could never be replaced or hurt by television.

Furthermore, the effect of television is simply not so great that it could be said to have
"destroyed" communication among family and friends. Granting that communication among
family and friends in industrialized countries has decreased in recent years, it might be tempting to
blame this problem on television since its rise roughly coincided with the decrease in time we
spend with our families. However, I believe this situation is more likely due to increased pressures
relating from work, school, and the economy. In my case, for example, I find that my pressures
from work are so great that I must often sacrifice time at home so that I can meet the challenges
of running my own business. Many of my friends are in similar situations–my best friend, for
example, has just finished law school, which took about sixty hours a week of his time. In a word,
people nowadays have very little time for anything, but television is not the cause–it is increased
desire to succeed.

In some situations, however, television has surely contributed to a decrease in communication
among family members. In my childhood in the countryside, I often saw parents and children
watching television for hours on end, rarely speaking with one another. It seemed for them that
television was a way to escape from their sad, miserable existence. However, even in this case, I
would say that television merely contributed to the bad situation, but did not cause it; were
television not existent, surely these people would have found other escapes, alcohol or gambling,
for example. In other words, people always find a way to do what they want to do.

In short, I do not believe that television has destroyed or even harmed interpersonal
communication among most people. Most people realize that television is merely a temporary
diversion and do not use it to replace interpersonal communication. I believe that the damage
attributed to television is greatly exaggerated and that such damage is most likely attributable to
other more powerful social factors.



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