Published on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 00:00
Introduced to Singapore in 1963, the role of television was looked upon as a channel to inform the citizens of the government’s policies. Television was a powerful tool for national integration, with entertainment as a secondary role of attracting viewers. The government has to strike the right balance between disseminating information and providing entertainment to the people.
In the early days, the balance was tilted towards disseminating information. But as conditions changed and people became more affluent, the lure of entertainment became greater.
Nowadays many people all over the world spent most of their free time watching television; but since its appearance, television has brought to man many advantages as well as disadvantages.
Structures Of Television
Television is one of our most important means of communication. It brings visuals and audio from all around the globe right to our doorstep. For example, people who owns a TV set can at the comfort of their own home watch the Prime Minister make a speech or visit a foreign country, they can see a war being fought and leaders trying to make peace.
Through TV, viewers can see and learn about people, places and things in faraway lands. TV even takes viewers out of this world with a coverage of astronauts exploring outer space. TV brings its viewers a steady stream of programs that are designed to entertain; action packed dramas, light comedies, soap operas, sports, cartoons, quizzes, variety shows and motion pictures right into their living rooms.
Commercial TV stations broadcast many more entertainment programs than any other kind. These shows include situation comedies, action-packed dramas, variety shows, movies specially made for TV, quiz shows, soap operas, cartoons, children’s shows, discussion and talk shows, documentaries and sports events.
All commercial stations broadcast brief summaries of local, national and international news every day. Stations often interrupt their regular program schedules to present extended coverage of special events like space shorts, political conventions and important governmental activities.
Public TV focuses mainly on education and culture. Educational programs from literature and physics to cooking and yoga. Public TV stations offer may combine entertainment and cultural enrichment. They telecast such things as play by leading dramatists, ballets and symphonies, and surveys of art and history.
Public TV also, often presents programs of in-depth discussions of news developments.
Subscription television is television broadcasting paid for by the viewers. Most subscription TV is made up of cable system. Cable offers far more greater program variety than regular TV stations.
Cable channels are devoted exclusively to specific types of programming – movies, news, sports and arts.
Television Today And Its Functions
TV continues to be the primarily source of entertainment and a provider of coverage of important events.
Through the 60s, networks began experimenting with coverage and addressing controversial issues like abortion, alcoholism, divorce, drug abuse, prejudice and sex. They found that with such themes, they could still draw big audiences. Many people though thought that TV had crossed the line in presenting controversial themes. The amount of sexual and violent scenes on TV drew much criticism.
In the late 1970s, broadcasters began to present an increasing number of made-for-tv movies, serializing mini- series with controversial theme.
During the 80s, videocassette recorders and pre-taped movies skyrocketed in popularity. Satellites gained importance in distributing TV programs to cable systems and broadcasting stations. Some viewers received satellite signals at home with their microwave dish.
By the 90s, high-definition television (HDTV) which produces very sharp pictures and excellent sound.
In 2010, the first 3D TV was introduced into the world.
Television nowadays has been very popular, and almost every family in Singapore has the access to it. By sitting ideally at home, watching TV , you can get a whole look all over the world.
So with the rapidly evolving broadcasting industry and the advances in technology, is TV an advantage or a disadvantage to the young people of Singapore?
Advantages Of TV
Television is one of the most important sources of communication these days. As everyone knows that the communication these days is being done either through print or electronic media and television is an integral part of the electronic media. There are several advantages of television like we all know that we can have a clear idea that what is happening in the world, we can have live information about the several events like sports and any other good or bad events happening on the globe.
News, current events and historical programming can help make young people more aware of other cultures and people.
Television plays an important role in our daily activities. Young people do not like reading as they find it time-consuming, cumbersome and boring, thus television it keeps them informed of all current affairs in the world like terrorist attacks, where a war is being fought and why. Events through television are more vivid than those through newspapers, books and magazines as there are visual and audio effects.
One can have a weather forecast and accordingly plan several things before time. It is also a good source of entertainment which is very cheap and within the access of every one. Television has shrunk the distance of the world you can watch what is happening several thousand miles away from you. So in totality it is information from all over the world, and it is fun and enjoyment with convenience.
Television helps us enrich our spiritual lives. Our knowledge is broadened in many ways. Through language teaching programs, we can learn the language we like such as: English, French, German, Chinese, Japanese and so on. We can become skilful and clever at doing jobs, making cakes or arranging flowers through practical courses taught on television.
Television is a useful, educational way to learn what’s going on in the world. A lot of channels like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic, Travel & Living and other educational ones are at your service on the go. These documentaries entertain as well as inform. These include travel programs, unique facts about animals and their behaviors, and discussions on serious issues as alcoholism, drug abuse, poverty and racial prejudice.
Television is a source of recreation. Humorous stories and funny films bring us minutes of relaxation after a hard day’s work. Sitting comfortably in an arm-chair to watch an international football match on television is more interesting than having to queue for tickets at a crowded stadium.
Research has proven that watching funny videos or movies can lower your blood pressure. That’s become a confirmation of the greatest and important advantages of watching TV. An entertaining tool. Entertaining shows are a way of relaxing and winding down after a stressful day at work and/or commuting. They help you forget the annoyances of the world.
Television can also bring people together and form closer, knitted bonds within families or friends. Shared viewing gives family members and friends an opportunity to spend time together, exceptionally in this case for young people where we don’t really have many things to talk with our parents about, sitting together and watching TV and discussing about the programs is a good way for conversation. For example, the recent Fifa World Cup 2010, friends, families and even strangers got together to support and cheer the teams on. It serves as a social conversational topic between people.
Because of its ability to create powerful touchstones, TV enables young people to share cultural experiences with others.
Singapore’s television also encourages racial and religious harmony in the form of the television program “Living Under One Roof”, an English comedy drama of neighbors of different races living harmoniously and happily with one another. Young people tend to be very opinionated at their age and might tend to criticize other races because they are different. However, the promotion of racial harmony on TV since young would eliminate those thoughts.
TV can be used as a catalyst to get young people reading—following up on TV programs by getting books on the same subjects or reading authors whose work was adapted for the programs.
Great television shows can teach young people important values and life lessons.
Cultural programming can open up the world of music and art for young people.
Disadvantages Of TV
As much as how television programs can form closer bonds between people, it also can break bonds apart. Viewers gradually become passive in their action. Television may be a splendid media of communication, but it prevents us from communicating with each other or with the outer world. The world seen through television is only the restricted one: It separates us from the real world.
One might get addicted towards watching TV and grow anti-social. Staring at the TV screen for long periods can be harmful to the eyes and the nerves. Sitting on a chair for hours at a time is certainly not healthy too.
Television, with its fascinating power, makes people of all ages sink into oblivion: whole generations are growing up addicted to the TV. Pupils and students are so absorbed in television that they neglect their school activities. Food is left uneaten, homework undone and lessons unprepared. Housewives are so keen on watching television that they neglect their duties toward their husbands and their children.
There are times when TV offers a false picture of society.
Television creates such a spell on young people that they actually lose their own opinion they feel whatever is being shown on television is correct and should be practiced as such, like how young girls develop an image distortion of themselves and attain to be skinnier by induce vomiting, they feel inferior to the dancers, singers and actresses’ figures and want to be like them, resulting to such extreme measures. Especially on Music Television (MTV), there are scantily clad girls dancing or acting in provocative manners, songs subtly promoting alcohol, sex or drugs that appeal to young people as they sound cool, people with tattoos all over their body are considered as artistic, reality shows like “16 and pregnant” makes it seem that to be pregnant at such a young age is fine. It makes people lose sense of morality, what’s more Singapore is a country with conservative cultures and thinking, these might be acceptable in the United States but it’s definitely not in Singapore.
In such situation it is the responsibility of the broad caster to show what is safe to be shown on the television. But still several irresponsible television channels show content which is not supposed to be shown for every one like contents of sex, and violence etc.
Individuals may become desensitized to violence not only due to the huge volume of violent content being shown on television, but also because of the forms that the depictions of violence often take. Violent content, by all indications, is equal opportunity: the very young are shown exaggerated violence in cartoons, teenagers are shown what is presented as acceptable violence in the form of the "reality shows" that have saturated modern television programming, and even talk shows and daytime dramas readily present violence as a commonplace and worthwhile activity.
Graphic depictions of brutal violence are quite common in television programming, but because of the previously mentioned desensitization, by the time a teenager, for example, sees outright violence on television, they have become accustomed to violence and no longer are shocked by such content. This comfort level with television violence, therefore, makes an easy transition in the teenager from the fiction of a television program to the factual circumstances of their real lives.
TV’s saturation of violence might cause young people to erupt into violence too in real life as they might think little of it.
While television does has its downsides, it has contributed to the well-being of the young people in Singapore. In my case, I’ve learned a lot from the television, in terms of what’s currently going on in the world, different cultures, different religions, places on earth that I’ve not been to, all kinds of knowledge about the world and its inhabitants. It’s a form of entertainment and relaxation for me when I need some time to unwind or just to hang out in a friend’s house and watch the television together.
Television is useful to young people in Singapore when we know how to use it in moderation and self-control. We have to be careful not to overindulge ourselves in it and instead, use it in a discerning manner. Yes, young people do have impressionable mindsets but it depends on the individual to differentiate from right and wrong. And so far as I know, within my circle of friends, no one is addicted to TV nor suffer any disadvantages of it except for maybe myopia, but they do use the television to their advantage and benefit from it by learning new things everyday and relieving themselves from the pressure and stress of the everyday life. It has also made Singapore into a better place where different races, cultures and religions live happily together as promoted and encouraged by Singapore’s drama programs.
Television is an inescapable part of modern culture. We depend on TV for entertainment, news, education, culture, weather, sports—and even music, since the advent of music videos and MTV.
The appearance of television and television broadcasting enriches our daily lives. Many events and competition can be watched “live” and many exclusive movies are presented as well (although it’s a bit late in comparison with seeing those movies in the cinema) , but all are legal and you’re free to enjoy them. In addition, if you want to travel but do not have enough money, I suggest you can enjoy traveling in the TV (for example watching the Discovery Channel or National Geography channel), they’re screened 24/7.
Furthermore, the television deserve to be considered as the unlimited source of information, next to the internet. There are a lot of scientific channel which is suitable for all ages. Those are the fastest and cheapest way to improve your knowledge. Today, Television specializes in many channels; each channel satisfies the different audience’s view such as news, sport, and film.
Television programs in Singapore are being regulated and monitored by the Media Development Authority (MDA), so there is not much cause for concern over shows that go way beyond our conservational thinking as MDA would censor or decide that they should not be aired in Singapore.
The social role of television is an information role. Television is the window through which we observe, transmit and reflect society to one another. The information on TV in Singapore is offered in our 4 official languages, English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, thus it is able to reach people regardless of academic knowledge.
Television’s political role is to report on what each government ministry is doing and the reasons being it. It helps to clarify and justify unpopular policies.
Television serves as an educational role by providing platforms for debates among viewers.
With television, the information role helps with nation building, integration and molding the various sectors into one.
Television is indispensable. TV’s benefits to our life still guarantee it as the most important device which people both young and old need, in order to be up-to-date.