Friday, March 19, 2010

Watching TV for too long

Socratic Dialogue 2: Watching television for too long

Aisha and Maryam discuss another topic today: whether students should spend less time watching TV.

Aisha: Some people think that watching TV for long periods of time isn’t beneficial.
Maryam: What are their reasons – why do they think that?
A: Primarily because it is a waste of one’s time.
M: A waste of whose time in particular?
A: Students – some people think that students often watch TV for far too much time, and could be doing other things, things that are more useful.
M: What sort of things?
A: Well, studying, of course – reading, to begin with. Students need to read.
M: Couldn’t they get information from watching TV?
A: I hardly think so. Television programmes do not usually cover the subjects that students need to find out about.
M: The History Channel shows good programs on world events of the past. What about that?
A: That is true, it does, but how many students sit down to watch the History channel?
M: Not many, most probably. But what about News broadcasts? Surely students watch those, don ‘t they?
A: I am sure that some do, yes, but most of the time students watch soaps – serials, and these have little or no real educational value.
M: What other objections do people have to students watching too much TV?
A: That while watching TV, students go without getting enough physical exercise, and that watching TV adversely affects students’ eyesight.
M: Both are probably true. Do they have any other objections?
A: Yes, their main objection, I think, is that young, impressionable people will change their attitudes and their behavior because they sit too long in front of a television set.
M: I have to say that I agree, though in a way they probably haven’t thought of.
A: Which way? What do you mean?
M: I mean that if anyone sits watching TV for too long, they become isolated from their friends and their families. Watching TV is essentially a solitary experience, even though there may be other people watching with them. People usually do not converse while watching TV programmes. Most people don’t like the interruptions caused by someone talking.
A: So you think we become more insular to each other, do you?
M: Yes, I do, and I think that is the worst effect watching TV has on society in general.
Robert L. Fielding


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