We hear a lot about the negative effects of television on the viewer. Obviously, television can be harmful if it is watched constantly to the exclusion of other activities. It would be just as harmful to listen to records to eat constantly. However, when television is watched in moderation, it is extremely valuable, as it provides relaxation, entertainment, and education. First of all, watching TV has the value of sheer relaxation. Watching television can be soothing and restful after an eight-hour day of pressure, challenges, or concentration.

After working hard all day, people look forward to a new episode of a favorite show or yet another showing of Casablanca or Red River. This period of relaxation leaves viewers refreshed and ready to take on the world again. Watching TV also seems to reduce stress in some people. This benefit of television is just beginning to be recognized. One doctor, for example, advises his patients with high blood pressure to relax in the evening with a few hours of television.

In brief, watching TV provides relaxation. In addition to being relaxing, television is entertaining. Along with the standard comedies, dramas, and game shows that provide enjoyment to viewers, television offers a variety of movies and sports events. Moreover, in many areas, viewers can pay a monthly fee and receive special cable programming. With the service, viewers can watch first-run movies, rock and classical music concerts, and specialized sports events, like European soccer and Grand Prix racing.

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Viewers can also buy or rent movies to show on their television sets through videodisk players or videocassette players. Still another growing area of TV entertainment is video games. Cartridges are available for everything from electronic baseball to Pac-man, allowing the owner to have a video game arcade in the living room. Therefore, watching TV provides entertaining. Most important, television is educational. Preschoolers learn colors, numbers, and letters from public television programs, like Sesame Street, that use animation and puppets to make learning fun.

Science shows for older children, like 1-2-3 Contact, go on location to analyze everything from volcanoes to rocket launches. Adults, too, can get an education (college credits included) from courses given on television. Also, television widens our knowledge by covering important events and current news. Viewers can see and hear presidents’ speeches, state funerals, natural disasters, and election results as they are happening.

Finally, a television set hooked up to a home computer can help its owner learn how to manage the household budget, invest in the stock market, or master a foreign language. In conclusion, television got many benefits. Perhaps because television is such a powerful force, we like to criticize it and search for its flaws. However, the benefits of television should not be ignored. We can use television to relax, to have fun, and to make ourselves smarter. This electronic wonder, then, is a servant, not a master.


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