World Television Day: Pros and Cons of Watching TV

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Lexie Harris
A computer generated image with the blog title within the shape of an old-fashioned television with an antenna. Multiple TV show names are embedded in the tv shape.

If you ever look at one of those websites that catalog annual holidays and awareness days, you’ll find that nearly every day there is something to celebrate, and I mean this literally! November 21st, for example, is World Television Day! So, in celebration, let's talk about the pros and cons of watching television.

Overly Stereotyped

Watching TV is occasionally stereotyped as lazy and unproductive and shows can often be described as too violent/graphic. To this point, let me ask you a question: How often are the shows you watch in English? Probably most of the time for the majority of the United States. However, television can go beyond those stereotypes if you let it. After all, television reflects the culture of its creation. If you allow yourself to go beyond the comfortable and known, you can venture into a world full of new experiences, knowledge, and skills.

TV from Different Cultures

Culture doesn't vary by plots of land but depends on the groups of people living there. Culture, by definition, is a group's shared practices, beliefs, and values. For this reason, it only makes sense that a society's culture becomes embedded in the television shows it creates. When watching a show/drama from South Korea, for example, the viewer gets a small glimpse of the culture in South Korea. This example holds for any television show from any country on Earth. Using South Korea as an example again, K-dramas (South Korean television shows) show what daily life might look like for someone living in South Korea. It shows what foods they might eat, what clothes they wear, what they do for fun/entertainment, what religious traditions are most standard, etc. Sometimes this might be overlooked, however, because it is all in the small details of the shows.

Multicultural Understanding

Again, each country's television programming will show parts of the culture unique to that country. One exception is that because these television shows are for entertainment, there is bound to be some exaggeration. On the contrary, this holds for some points in the storyline, not the setting and background information. If someone watches television from multiple countries, they will have a better general understanding of the people and cultures in those countries.

Subtitles and Reading Comprehension

Watching television shows in another language requires reading subtitles to understand what is happening. Subtitles demand that the viewer to be able to read through and quickly comprehend the words appearing and disappearing on screen. Rewinding to re-read can go from mildly aggravating to very frustrating. However, by watching shows with subtitles, they can tremendously increase their reading speed. This skill is helpful not only when trying to watch a show in another language but also helps with general reading skills, including reading for work, school, or enjoyment.

While watching TV for entertainment does come with a few negative stereotypes, there are more positives to consider. Watching television shows from non-English speaking countries can introduce people to new cultures, expand a person's knowledge and experiences, and increase their reading and comprehension speed. In conclusion, to celebrate World Television Day, try watching a show from a different and new genre or a different culture/country!

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