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Television Influence On American Culture

“Television has been a fixture of American culture for more than 60 years. ” (Minnesota Health Department, 2014) From black and white to color, from large box televisions to thin, to smart televisions, they have now. America’s televisions has changed and so have American’s relationship with television. Televisions, in an American culture, has informed and has entertained them through the years.

Televisions has also impacted the health and the behavior of the American culture in the advertisements and the shows they watch. Multiple studies have found a positive relationship amount of television viewed and obesity in children and adults. ” (Minnesota Health Department, 2014) Just as the advertisement shows above, as the televisions become slimmer and more compact, the viewers have become obese over the years. In the Minnesota Health Department website said the reason for this is, “decreased physical activity, food advertising encouraging unhealthy snacks, snacking behavior while watching television, decreased metabolism. ”

These are some hypothesizes taken from the research team of Minnesota Health Department. Minnesota Health Department, 2014) American culture has known this life style to be normal in many households, including mine own growing up. “Average Americans has more than 2 televisions in their houses (2. 73) than people (2. 55) and has it on over 8 hours a day. “ (Minnesota Health Department, 2014) Since, screen time is so integrated into the American culture, studies show health risks are much higher, like this one from Harvard University. “Research conducted at Harvard first linked TV watching to obesity more than 25 years ago.

Since then, extensive research has confirmed the link between TV viewing and obesity in children and adults, in countries around the world” (Television Watching & “Sit Time” 2012) There is also another study from the Nurses’ Health study: … The Nurses’ Health Study followed more than 50,000 middle-age women for six years. For every two hours the women spent watching television each day, they had a 23 percent higher risk of becoming obese and a 14 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.

A more recent analysis that summarized the findings of this study and seven similar studies found that or every two hours spent watching TV, the risk of developing diabetes, developing heart disease, and early death increased by 20, 15, and 13 percent, respectively. (Television Watching and “Sit Time” 2012) The health problems are not the only issues with the strong relationship with television and the American culture. There is also correlation between behavioral issues and television. . “Televisions has been implicated in violent or aggressive behavior, substance use, sexual activity, obesity, poor body image, decrease school performance, sleep problems and more. (Minnesota Health Department, 2014)

Television shows and commercials have become more risky from when I was a child in the 90’s. More explicit things are allowed on plain TV than it was twenty years ago. It’s nothing to hear multiple swear words, risky pictures, and sexual content on television, where adults and children watch alike. After children see and hear these words and picture, they can’t be unseen. They implement the violent behavior, substance abuse, sexual activity and etc. as the Minnesota Health Department says it does.

An example of one of these advertisements that children would see on television is: Advertisement #2 (Finney, M. 2014) This is a Victoria Secret advertisement, which advertises “the perfect body. ” Children, in particular, as persuaded so easily with what is good, what is supposed to be believed, and how to react about it. That’s why in the Bible it says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ” (English Standard Version). The first few stages of a child’s life is very important to who they are as a person.

In Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development, the first five stages explain some major components on making up who they are as a person. In stage one, trust vs. mistrust from birth to one year, the parent gives the infant the basic needs needed for life, such as food, water, love, and etc. If the parent cannot provide for them, they will grow up mistrusting their parents and believe the world is unpredictable. In stage two, Autonomy vs. Sham & Doubt, which is during early childhood, where the child is gaining independence and a greater sense of personal control.

This is a time for children to feel secure and confident, if they do not them will be left feeling inadequate and doubting themselves. In stage three, Initiative vs. Guilt, which is during preschool age, this is when children begin to assert power and control. This is where we can see children start to be leaders. In stage 4, Industry vs. Inferiority, during ages 5 to 11, when children develop pride in their accomplishments and abilities. When parents and teachers encourage the child, they will be able to believe in their skills.

In stage five, Identity vs. Confusion, during adolescence, when children are developing who they are as a person. When they receive proper encouragement and reinforcement, they will become intendent, controlled individuals. (Cherry, K. 2015) These first five stages of life are very important in children’s lives. When a child’s decisions, mind, and who they are, is influenced by the advertisements on television it can make the children have self-confidence issues making them depressed or have disorders.

As for the Victoria Secret advertisement, its slogan of having a “perfect body” by wearing Victoria Secret products tells children they are not good enough or beautiful enough if they do not wear or use Victoria Secret products. This advertisement also shows only white, slim, young women, which tells that this stereotype of women is the only beautiful, perfect woman. When children believe they are not “good enough” or does not fit into a certain stereotype, they become depressed or have disorders such as eating disorders. “About 2. 5% of children in the U. S. suffer from depression…. y age 16, girls have a greater incidence of depression. ” (Depression in Children: Symptoms and Common Types of Child Depression, 2015)

Many young Americans, also, start trying to change themselves to become like the advertisement companies’ idea of what is beautiful. These young people find unhealthy way to change themselves, such as eating disorders. “An over-emphasis on appearance, at the expense of more meaningful attributes. Societal beauty standards that promote an unrealistically thin body shape, associating thinness with positive qualities like attractiveness, health, success and love.

Media’s focus on dieting and striving for a slim and toned silhouette. Messages that perpetuate a fear of fat and food; viewing fat as undesirable or foods as ‘good,’ ‘bad’ or ‘sinful’” Eating disorders, specifically, have emotional reason for them, such as the feeling of low self-esteem, unable to reach perfection, coping with emotions, and feelings of inadequacy. (Eating Disorders: Why Do They Happen? ) Parents need to instill in children from when they are young that they are beautiful the way they are, they don’t need to change anything about themselves to fit in.

Parents should show their children, not always the “in” thing is the best thing for them in their life. In conclusion, television has a huge impact in children this day and age. Whether it is showing them how to view themselves, as individuals, or keeping them occupied in front of the television. It is still effecting who they are! Parents, teachers and relatives must encourage children to be the best person they can be; no matter of their size, shape, or color of their skin!

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