How TV Affects Family Relationships

There is no getting around the fact that television has had an impact on the American family; just what that impact has been is a subject that has been debated ad nauseam ever since the first programs appeared on our national airwaves.

What does appear to be clear though, is that television watching does truly have an impact on family relationships; though it cannot be said that the impact is the same for all families.

For example, if a family has communication problems to begin with, there is a good chance that family members will use television as a means of avoiding communicating with one another; which of course makes communication between them all the more challenging. Thus, in this instance, having the easy access of television has a negative impact on family relationships.

On the other hand, for families that communicate well, and that watch shows together as a means of joint entertainment, it seems plausible to suggest that television actually improves family relationships because it provides a common place for people to be together, and then gives them all a common topic for conversation. Clearly this is a good thing, despite the fact that there are other activities they could be doing together that would probably be better for them, such as activities that are more physical, because even though the family might have good times in front of the television, they might be growing fat while it happens, which of course is a bad thing.

Another way that television might have an impact on family relationships is due to the content of the shows that are watched. Because televisions seeks to entertain, rather than show reality, even on so-called reality shows, there has to be some affect on viewers who constantly watch other people interact in ways that may not be how people behave in real life; and thus, there comes a blurring of what is real, or acceptable for that matter, and what is not. This has been one of the root arguments for many people who believe that television is a very bad influence on everyone who watches it because people tend to learn as much from what they see on TV as they do in real life from their parents or when interacting with their siblings, friends or even their spouses.

The problem here is that it’s pretty much impossible to measure the impact that television has on people, thus any arguments for or against the affects it has on families come down to differences of opinion, which in the end, are generally worthless.