Real Life Television
The socialization of people relies so much on todays television and internet. The amount of hours that were once spent outside of the home or at the very least on the phone, with friends, family and strangers alike has drastically changed and suddenly more and more people are staying at home and getting out into the real world less and less. With not getting out in the world as we used to then what do we miss in the valuable ways of learning and what do we learn or not learn when we stay at home?
Todays world of economic times and personal choices has forced more and more people to work from home thus also taking them out of the physical aspects of society that much more. When we spend this time at home, the majority of us also watch television or movies that much more. It doesn’t matter what you watch there is a huge thing that television cannot ever teach you 100%. When having general conversation in the physical world you end up learning about the people and the way they live, what kind of work they do, and by proxy how much money they make, what they can afford and know that through this it isn’t a fairy tale or unrealistic to what one may see on television.
The majority of the people who are affected by this unrealistic world of television is actually the younger generation, the children who are still in school. When the younger generation watches television what do they see? Do they realize the difference between what they see and real life, if so or not, then to what degree? We can take several examples from several different shows. Fresh Prince of Belair is one example. The Uncle is some episodes is a lawyer, in other a Judge. While as a Judge he may be able to afford the home and butler but as the criminal lawyer it is a far stretch to see him in this same mansion with the same butler and affording the private education provided for the children and the lavish spending. There is a lack of real ethics on this show simply reagrding the reaity of a paycheck versus the spending. They never mention any loans or debts which is normal to the everyday world.
That 70’s show is another example is a different light. The mother is a church going nurse and the father is a construction laborer. They have a respectable home but the show never really reflects a money issue at all. It is almost as if money isn’t an issue and doesn’t exist. Even though they don’t show a lavish spending habit, they also don’t mention any form of the cost of living. For those who watch this show will know they can afford a dollar tithe for each person at church on Sundays. Another issue with this show is that the father, whose age is in the later 50’s is touted as a labor construction worker. The reality of life of finding an older, out of shape person laboring in the construction field is unheard of just as it is unrealistic.
Roseanne is by far the closest to hitting home on the realistic end of the spectrum when it comes to life, jobs, money and the issues they are faced with as a family. The parents in Roseanne are both blue collar workers who struggle from day to day with the issues of money being made of having to take out loans to get through rough times. They each have shared their feelings and the problems faced of being laid off or having to work required overtime to make ends meet and these also have also affected the way they reacty with the kids and different pressures put onto them as well. When the oldest daughter moves out or when Roseanne’s sister has a baby, real life issues come to heavy light of how to afford these changes, how to handle issues of daycare or other forms of support.
With these different scenarios I know that the father on That 70’s show has been made fun of, not so much for his job but the fact that he wouldn’t even be able to do his job. Roseanne, while her job is completely able to be done by her, waitressing to some is an embarrassment in the way of work. It isn’t real work, she can do better and oh lord she works a minimum wage job. Lastly, the Uncle of fresh prince, gives way to the higher education and the fact that he pushed his kids always to better themselves so that they too can attain a similar level of employment as he does and they hold money in high regard.
The lessons we learn from all of this is quite backwards in many respects to what is real. We tend to learn that laziness due to having money is ok in many respects cause if you have money then your life can be afforded. We also can learn on some of these shows, Roseanne for example, that there is such a thing as work ethic and real life issues. That 70’s show doesn’t teach us much of anything regarding work value. Psychologically it may be said that television shows can either show us glamour of a life that isn’t real and thus kids can think it’s real and strive for that kind of life. There may be a few who are lucky to get the good life but then there are other kids who may see that the lack of work ethics is ok because they portray it on tv so why isn’t it ok. We don’t learn that work is work, especially when you need it. We tend to learn that some jobs are beneath us.
Regardless of what television may “teach” us it should teach us that the glamorous life and lack of ethics isn’t seldom synonymous to the real world. One may expect that people with different social backgrounds develop different patterns of what they routinely watch thus allowing a differnt pattern for life and theories of how to live (Berger ; Luckman 1991). This can affect self image and the way we behave and the choices we make. The key to avoiding this is to watch limited tv, don’t use it as a babysitter for your children and make sure to watch healthy tv.
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Williams, Tannis. The Impact of Television. http://world.std.com/~jlr/comment/tv_impact.htm
Charkow, Edward. Sociology of Reality Tc. http://ezinearticles.com/?Sociology-of-Reality-TV;id=291346