Television has come a long way since the black-and-white broadcasts of the 1950s. Today, TV viewers can choose from hundreds of programs on their full-color, high-definition, big-screen TV sets. There is no question that TV is a significant source of entertainment, but there are both advantages and disadvantages of watching TV.
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One of the greatest advantages of owning a TV is that it can keep you up to date with what is going in the rest of the world. You can watch the network nightly news, or you can watch the news all day on one of the cable channels. The television news can inform you about wars, disasters, economic issues and political decisions that can impact your life. According to a 2008 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 70 percent of people get their news from the television.
Some television channels like the Public Broadcasting Service, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel offer educational programming for children. Shows like "Sesame Street" and "Dora the Explorer" can teach young kids about shapes, how to count and even how to say words in a foreign language. By watching educational TV shows, kids can have the advantage of getting a head start on school.
Busy work and school schedules can make it difficult for today's families to spend a lot of time together. If your entire family enjoys a particular TV show, then everyone can gather in the living room at least once a week to watch it. Your family can take advantage of this time and share a few laughs or discuss the show when it is over.
If you find yourself getting interested in several TV shows, then you can spend hours each day on the couch trying to keep up with them all. A disadvantage of all this TV-watching is that it can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. A lack of exercise can lead to numerous health problems including obesity. A potential solution for this problem is to walk on a treadmill or workout on an elliptical while you are watching TV.
The Federal Communications Commission states that, on average, U.S. children watch TV for about three hours each day. Although your children can watch educational programming on the TV, they can also flip over to shows meant for more mature audiences. They can see violent images or hear language that you are not ready for them to experience. Parental supervision or the use of program blocking devices can prevent your kids from watching inappropriate material
A few decades ago, you only needed to pay for the TV set and the electricity in order to watch your favorite shows. Today, another disadvantage of TV is that you need to pay cable or satellite bills each month. According to a 2010 report on CNNMoney.com, the average digital cable television customer pays $75 each month. The report also states that prices generally increase an average of 5 percent each year. If you throw in the cost of a digital video recorder, high-definition charges and a flat-screen TV, then watching television can be expensive.