The Use and Abuse of Television
Without any doubt, watching TV is a good way of getting informed. Watching news gives a good insight into what really is happening in the world at least as long as you are watching a serious news channel and not some low-rate program that only intends to shock or amuse. To many, watching news on TV is also more convenient and enjoyable than reading a newspaper or a magazine.
Most people, however, do not use TV mainly as a means of information. Instead, they want to be entertained. Watching a movie can be a very enjoyable past-time; often you can also learn something from it. Just as reading a novel can give you new ideas, you can also get food for thought from a good movie. Apart from that, it can also be very relaxing to watch a program for the sole purpose of getting distracted from everyday life. By laughing at a comedy or trying to solve the mystery in a detective story, you can forget your worries.
In this way, TV can also be a distraction from loneliness or boredom. A TV voice will fill the room and give you the feeling that you are not alone. TV is also a means of simply passing time, rather than sitting around staring into space.
Now, this is exactly where problems start. Which of those are "healthy" reasons to watch TV? In my opinion, it is entirely wrong to sit in front of a television set all day just in order to pass the time. There are so many better ways to spend your day. I don't think anybody can sit in an armchair watching TV all without eventually losing focus; at some stage, you will inevitably end up just staring at the screen, devoid of any thoughts of your own. The problem with TV in this regard is that your role as a participant is a passive one. You can develop your own thoughts about what is going on, but you are not forced to do so.
There are other aspects which need to be considered. Some people tend to take TV shows at face value and mistake them for being part of reality. I have often heard people supporting strange opinions by saying "I know it is like this, I saw it on TV!" Watching TV in this manner means wasting your intelligence, your time and your life.
Another problem is that watching TV usually implies staying indoors. It is the most horrible waste of a day to sit in a living room with shutters closed while the sun is shining outside. Obviously, sitting down watching TV also means you are not moving. Many people combine watching TV with excessive eating as well. This can lead to serious health problems due to lack of exercise and obesity.
However, the worst of all problems connected with TV is that it kills communication. Many people sit in front of that machine on their own. Even if more people are watching, they usually say little to each other, apart from occasional remarks about what is happening on the screen. I think this is extremely sad. The matter becomes worse when two people are living together and one of them is more interested in the television than in his partner: TV can destroy relationships. Watching it too much is incredibly antisocial.
In conclusion, I would say that watching TV can be a god thing, but you must take good care in order to use it properly. Just like drinking alcohol, watching TV must not be overdone. In my opinion, it is much better to spend your time being active playing sports, meeting friends, going places. As long as you keep doing all this, watching TV can be a pleasant way to spend your time once in a while.
I can do without it.