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Positive effects

Before TV, it can be considered that printing was the medium considered the main channel to access information and knowledge.

Media theorist Joshua Meyrowitz argues that the medium has guided its viewers to areas and subjects to which they were previously denied access. For example Elspeth Van Veeren argues that the television series 24 helps audiences to understand the global war on terror.[1]

Social surrogacy hypothesis

Current research is discovering that individuals can employ television to create what is termed a parasocial or faux relationship with characters from their favorite television shows and movies as a way of deflecting feelings of loneliness and social deprivation.[2] Just as an individual would spend time with a real person sharing opinions and thoughts, pseudo-relationships are formed with TV characters by becoming personally invested in their lives as if they were a close friend [2] so that the individual can satiate the human desire to form meaningful relationships and establish themselves in society. Jaye Derrick and Shira Gabriel of the University of Buffalo, and Kurt Hugenberg of Miami University found that when an individual is not able to participate in interactions with real people, they are less likely to indicate feelings of loneliness when watching their favorite TV show.[3]

They refer to this finding as the Social Surrogacy Hypothesis. Furthermore, when an event such as a fight or argument disrupts a personal relationship, watching a favorite TV show was able to create a cushion and prevent the individual from experiencing reduced self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy [2] that can often accompany the perceived threat. By providing a temporary substitute for acceptance and belonging that is experienced through social relationships TV is helping to relieve feelings of depression and loneliness when those relationships are not available. This benefit is considered a positive consequence of watching television as it can counteract the psychological damage that is caused by isolation from social relationships.

Educational advantages

Main article: Educational television

Several studies have found that educational television has many advantages. The Media Awareness Network, explains in its article, The Good Things about Television, that television can be a very powerful and effective learning tool for children if used wisely. The article states that television can help young people discover where they fit into society, develop closer relationships with peers and family, and teach them to understand complex social aspects of communication.[4] Dimitri Christakis cites studies in which those who watched "Sesame Street" and other educational programs as preschoolers had higher grades, were reading more books, placed more value on achievement and were more creative. Similarly, while those exposed to negative role models suffered, those exposed to positive models behaved better.[5]

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