Television is one of the greatest
achievements of the 20-th century. It is the most popular part of mass media.
Today every family has a TV-set. TV has changed much since the time of its
invention and so has its role. There have been numerous debates concerning
advantages and disadvantages of television. When TV first appeared its main
purpose was to give official information to people. It was supported by the
government. Now television plays a big role in every civilised society. Today
television gives people a possibility to be well informed and enjoy
"civilised pleasures." The programmes are various and people have a
chance to select what they want to see. Television provides great opportunities
for education. There are programmes devoted to specialised subjects. With the
help of TV it is possible to learn foreign languages, to know a lot of
wonderful things concerning the world flora and fauna. TV teaches the ideals of
democracy and political argument. Watching television can be compared with
reading books. It provides an outlet for creative talents. By the beginning of
the 21-st century TV became a coloured world network. Numerous programmes
people can receive by satellite or cable. The choice of the channels ranges
from six to twenty. These channels show programmes of various kinds from
documentaries, current events and sports to programmes American films and
science fiction cartoons. Now this medium of communication allows people to see
and speak with each other if they are separated by thousands of kilometres. TV
bridges between Russia and the USA once were very popular. They showed that TV
was a unifying force and that our planet in reality is a small world.
Previously innovations were promoted on TV. TV shocked, surprised and
stimulated. It brought ballet, opera, and theatre to big masses of people. It
was even in the vanguard of new drama. Moreover, TV can keep children quiet. If
they are noisy their mothers turn on the set. If people do not like TV they do
not buy it or switch it off.
At the same time there are a lot of
arguments against TV. It is said that only three generations have grown up with
television, but they managed to forget how to spend their free time without
television. Its role is increasing not because it is an entertainer or informant,
but because of the grip it has on many people. It is called a "living room
monster" or "one-eyed monster." It is established that the
biggest viewers are pensioners and housewives. The latter watch TV while their
husbands are at work. In total they spend five hours daily sitting before the
"boxes." Children watch commercials, horror films or films of
violence. TV prevents children from creating their abilities. They get
accustomed to TV to such an extent that they watch it all the time. To force
their children away from their favourite evening programmes to their homework
has eventually become the main problem of the parents of different countries.
Moreover, TV is damaging for health.
It has bad effect on the eyes, particularly of children. The physicians proved
that if children do not watch TV their eyesight improves. But if children do
not watch TV they find themselves without anything to talk about at school,
where comedians and singing stars are major topics during breaks between
classes. The same is true about some adults. Sometimes TV programmes become the
topics of common interest of the people and without, them they have nothing to
Nowadays some people in our country
watch television programmes from about six in the morning to the early hours of
the next day. It means that contemporary people for various reasons depend upon
television. They watch everything from news and sports reports to dramas,
educational and entertainment programmes. Today some people become TV addicts
and feel - unhappy if they fail to find another way of passing leisure time.
Free time is regulated by television. TV occupies our free time. Instead of
going to the theatre or reading books people watch TV. People rush home, gulp
food to be in time to watch their favourite programmes. Very often programmes
are bad, as TV cannot keep pace with demand. People have stopped reading books
and depend on TV pictures. Spoken words become more important that the written
ones. TV cuts people from the real world. The virtual world becomes more
important. TV is absolutely irrelevant to real living. No surprise that
television is often called "chewing gum for men's brains." People
become lazy, instead of doing sports they watch TV. Television takes free time
of the people. Instead of joining a choir or playing football or reading books
people watch various programmes. Dinnertime is often pressed by television if
it is not in the kitchen. If people are deprived for various reasons of
watching their favourite programmes they feel inconvenience. The best thing is
to watch only selective TV programmes and not to be governed by them. Only few
people today can live without television. It should be said that television
continues to play an important part in the human life despite increasing influence
of the Internet, video games and other high-technology sources of information.
- Do you like to watch TV?
- Sometimes I like to watch TV. But
I do not spend much time in front of this "one-eyed monster" I watch
only my favourite programmes. I like sports programmes and science fiction
serials. Football is my favourite sport, so I try not to miss important games
that are shown on TV. I am especially interested in the European Football Cup.
I also like science fiction. Although I prefer reading science fiction to
watching it, I should admit that there is a number of good science fiction
movies and serials. Among them are "Star Wars", "Star
Trek", and "Babylon-5." A couple of years ago
"Babylon-5" was shown on TV-6 and I did not miss a single film. Now there
are many science fiction and fantasy serials shown on TV, but generally they
are not of high quality, so I prefer to spend my free time doing other things.
- What programmes do members of your
family like to watch?
- My grandmother likes Latin American
"soap operas." These are usually love stories with a happy end. My
parents like to watch "Civilisation". This programme is devoted to
outstanding personalities and events. It is very informative. They also like
documentaries devoted to something unusual.
- What kind of TV is most popular
- I think that "reality
TV" is very popular today. Millions of people watch "reality TV"
series "Behind the Glass" and "The Last Hero." The major
advantage of such programmes is that they are not movies based on a strict
scenario. Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.
"Reality TV" shows the directed real life in which people are
competing for a tangible reward. But unlike in real life everything happens
quicker. Of course they have to follow certain rules, but generally they are
free to behave, as they like. This, I think is most attractive. Nobody knows
beforehand the result of the game. It interests people because the game is as
unpredictable as the real life. People who watch such programmes try hard to
figure out what would they have done in such circumstances. The "reality
TV" is substituting all previous programmes such as the "Travellers'
Club", "In the World of Animals" because they are static. They
set forth the results of the adventures of the cameramen. In "reality
TV" everything is dynamic.
- Can you agree with the statement,
that if millions of people watch the same programmes, the whole world becomes a
- In a way, we can say that the
whole world has become a big village. In every country of the world people
watch the same programmes. Such programmes as "Who wants to be a
Millionaire?". "The Weakest Link" have been invented in Britain
but they are popular in the USA and in our country too. People all over the
globe have common hopes, fears, and beliefs. Thus it is not surprising that
people in Russia like Latin American "soap operas" or British TV
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