The introduction to the television into the home changed its social dynamic dramatically. Although everyone’s experience with the technology differs, discussing the topic with my peers allowed me to discover similar themes. Shared rules, theories and concerns had resurfaced and it was obvious our experiences growing up in front of the television was very much alike. It was found that these common themes also progressed at the same rate, re-defining the role of the television. In the past the TV was known as a family orientated activity that would help bring everyone together, now it is seen as an independent hobby. Personally, in the past my family and I, like many others, only owned one television to be shared but today our home houses five. This was also confirmed by several other students agreeing with the rapid growth. It was also established that their layout in the home had also changed over the years, where televisions are not limited to the ‘living room’ or lounge room anymore but rather spread throughout. More recently the technology is placed in bedrooms, outside areas or even in the garage.
Growing up there were a variety of television series being aired. Shows such as The Simpsons and Neighbours were highly favoured and were watched religiously, however, there were also shows that were not allowed to be viewed either by myself or the interviewed students. Futurama, Big Brother and Family Guy are three examples of the shows commonly banned by parents when growing up, even though it was found we would all sneakily watch them anyway.
What was also found was this re-occurring notion that the television rots your brain. Parents were much more hesitant to let their children watch these shows for long periods of time. Personally, I believe I have gained majority of my knowledge through television shows and films. Even though this notion is still very much out there, parents tend to worry less especially in a day and age that revolves around new technologies.
Half a Century of Television in Lives of Our Children, by Sonia Livingstone, is an article that further explores the culture surrounding the television in everyday life. The reading also considers the themes discussed above such as the moral panics associated with the arrival of the technology and its influence on us. Soon worries that this introduction had the capability to take over our lives and lead to harmful effects such as lack of exercise, isolation, addiction, reading and conversational difficulties and consuming violent content were brought about. The notion that the technology ‘rots your brain’ is again referred to in the article.
At first it was evident that the television brought families closer together with the invention of the ‘family room.’ However, further investigation found that signs of individualisation was the dominant trend already present in the 1950’s. The idea that the technology could be used as a ‘babysitter’ became quite popular allowing the mother to complete her errands. This created the shift that we know today where watching the television went from a family activity to an independent hobby. This idea was once again uncovered in the group discussions and was labelled a common theme.
The introduction of the television in family homes brought about several mixed feelings, both good and bad. It was found that several themes in relation to the TV was brought up in a group discussion with my peers that helped discover our similar childhoods growing up in front of the television. It was further evident in the article Half a Century of Television in Lives of Our Children, by Sonia Livingstone that the television came with multiple concerns about people’s wellbeing and how we can be influenced by the device. Nonetheless the technology has truly changed our culture surrounding our everyday life leading us to where we are today and the relationship that we maintain with it.
Livingstone, S, 2009, ‘Half a century of television in lives of our children’, The ANNALS of the American academy of political and social science, vol. 625, ISSN 0002-7162, pp.151-163