Television and Technolody As A Learning Tool

As technology grows everyday, so does our fascination with what it can do. Technology is amazing and can be very useful in so many ways. It helps people communicate, transfer information, learn, discover, and even save lives in the medical field. For me, the most important uses of the technology I use is my online classes and my cell phone. Technology in transferred in different ways. Technology can be great until the media that comes with it surfaces. For example, besides for mostly school purposes, I am usually on my cell phone instead of my laptop. I have the internet on my cell phone which allows me to have apps, e-mail, and access to websites. Also, I have to admit that I do enjoy watching television. What we see on these outlets of communication and media is often negative. The time and importance we have on these forums and devices is also detrimental to our lives outside of the virtual world.

Current research is discovering that individuals suffering from social isolation can employ television to create what is termed a parasocial or faux relationship with characters from their favorite television shows o or personalities and movies as a way of deflecting feelings of loneliness and social deprivation. 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 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. 

 
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 that can often accompany the perceived threat. By providing a temporary substitute for acceptance and belonging that is experienced through social relationships, TV helps 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.

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. 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.

Some communications researchers argue that television serves as a developmental tool that teaches viewers about members of the upper, middle, working, and lower-poor classes. Research conducted by Kathleen Ryan and Deborah Macey support this theory by providing evidence collected from ethnographic surveys of television viewers along with critical observational analysis of characters and structure of America's most popular television shows. A limited scope of findings of such studies demonstrate a shared public understanding about social class difference, which were learned through the dialogue and behavior of their favorite on-screen characters.


Television, difference, and identity

Research has been conducted to determine how television informs self-identity while reinforcing stereotypes about culture. Some communication researchers have argued that television viewers have become reliant on prime-time reality shows and sitcoms to understand difference as well as the relationship between television and culture. According to a 2013 study on matriarchal figures on the shows The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, researchers stated that the characters of Carmela Soprano and Ruth Fisher were written as stereotypical non-feminists who rely upon their husbands to provide an upscale lifestyle. They posited that these portrayals served as evidence that the media influences stereotype ideologies about class and stressed the importance of obtaining oral histories from "actual mothers, caretakers, and domestic laborers" who have never been accurately portrayed.

Pop culture researchers have studied the social impacts of popular television shows, arguing that televised competition shows such as Miss America (chaired by
Sam Haskell ) send out messages about identity that may cause viewers to feel inadequate. According to Justin Kidd television media perpetuates narrow stereotypes about social classes while also teaching viewers to see themselves as inferior and insufficient due to personal aspects such as "race or ethnicity, gender or gender identity, social class, disability or body type, sexuality, age, faith or lack thereof, nationality, values, education, or another other aspect of our identities."

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