Idiots who watch the Idiot Box

Many years back there was nothing of recreational value for people. No hi-fi means of mass media which would entertain and provide some kind of relaxation to people. The idea of rejuvenation was limited to hanging out with people you knew and playing outdoor sports. Then came Television (TV) and it changed everything. TV was simply Doordarshan (DD) at that time with few and famous serials like Hum Log, Buniyaad, Tehikiqaat, Byomkesh Bakshi etc and programs like chitrahaar and rangoli. People used to wait for weeks together to watch a film on DD as theatres were a luxury. Then came 1991, the golden year where we opened up our economy and it signalled the entry of private stake-holders in the media market. Today, as a result, we see a plethora of news channels and newspapers...everything has a choice! If you do not wish to watch a particular channel then simply switch to another. Choice was the positive side of a liberalised economy for a nation which adhered to socialism post independence. In a way it was good that people had so many choices for information as well as entertainment. But what we are seeing today is a form of TV that is more destructive than constructive. TV is a source of entertainment and it should remain so. I am not criticising TV but I am against the over-use of TV. TV should not become the whole and sole of our lives so much so that we cease to exist without it. People will agree with me that the quality of content on TV has deteriorated and today we are watching soaps which teach us to treat our women with dis-respect, plot against members of the family and encourage women who keep wailing all the time. So has TV empowered women or has it really denigrated them to the level that they like to watch soaps which show them in an inferior position. In this context, I beleive that TV has contributed much to the spread of social disharmony and dis-intergration because it is not inculcating progressive values in our life. A culprit in the same order is the modern day TV news channel which strives to get content 24/7 so that it can keep entertaining audiences instead of providing them some food for thought. In a bid to fill news slots, all news channels do is to feed its viewers with stuff that can never be classified as news ... and many channels are openly doing it and claiming TRPs because they reason that the viewers like to see it. The viewers may like just about anything but it does not mean that TV should broadcast it because media has to work with a sense of responsibility towards its audience. TV news keeps hammering us with the same thing over and over again. You tend to get bored of it and switch to some other channel only to find that it also hammering you with something different. The phenomenon of breaking news has made TV channels mad for news bytes and has increased competition among the media like none other. For a breaking news, a channel can go to any extent. Even if it means crossing the limits of media ethics. Why I say that TV has dismantled today's social order because more and more people today are addicted to TV and are becoming couch potatoes. This is the scenario in many homes. You come after a long day of work and you choose to unwind through TV. I mean isn't it strange. I am not against the viewing of TV but of course to a limited extent. That is what I would do with my children...not stop them from watching it but put some limit to viewing. World over, researches and studies are showing that TV impacts the young minds a lot. Whatever young people watch on TV, they try to replicate it in their lives. Incidences of violence and crime have seen a surge due to TV programs and so has interaction and spending time with family been affected by TV viewing habits. Late night TV viewing has been considered bad for physical and mental health by medical practioners and psychologists. If you think much about it, talking and spending time with your loved ones can certainly help you unwind better than staring at the idiot box. Just imagine how agitated would you be if you are talking to someone about a very important thing of your life and he/she is staring and engrossed in TV. The same thing is applicable to mobile phones. They have become a sort of an addiction. Wherever you go, they inevitably follow! While I am not denying the advantages of a mobile phone...they are useful in emergency situations, they keep us connected! But why remain hooked to them. Why not just use them for what they are meant to be used ...keeping contacts. They should not become an interruption in your life. It is rude if you go to somebody's house on their invitation and as they talk to you, you keep texting to your friend. Come on, technology is there to make our lives easier ... not to reduce personal interaction. We should gain and imbibe what is the good of such technical devices. These are the best possible resources to keep us updated, help us increase our knowledge and make us aware about the happenings around us. They are there to facilitate interaction and communication. They cannot substitute the entity of the human being ... the social animal ... the one who actually talks and interacts. If we have such a wonderful discovery like TV, internet and even mobile we should put them to constructive and deliberative use... make them platforms for social and political change ... not let them hover over or intrude our personal spaces and not let them certainly take privilege over our personal relations.

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