Television â€“ The Opiate of the Masses?.
In todayâ€™s television crazed society, it is becoming increasingly evident that real life relationships and interactions are being replaced by viewer involvement with the media. I myself am an avid viewer of Sex in the City, a television series about the lives of four single women living in New York City. By reflecting on my own connection to the series, I realized that my â€œrelationshipâ€ with the characters reveals several factors encompassed by actual relationships. The more I watch, the closer I feel to the characters and the better I am able to identify and empathize with them. Sometimes, the emotion one puts into a television program is so powerful, that the mood of the viewer is dictated by the events in the episode. But where does one draw the line between what is real and what is not? The answer lies within participation; relationships are not one way streets. They are amalgamations of emotions and interactions from both parties. Comparably, you would not consider a group of guys watching a hockey game on television to be playing the sport; they are merely spectators whose dispositions are governed by the athletesâ€™ triumphs or failures. While obtaining enjoyment from a television program is by no means a dangerous occurrence, I propose that television becomes a hazard when it creates a false sense of belonging for viewers who substitute spectatorship for human .
interaction. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in those who use television to remedy social deficits, such as shyness and loneliness, to replace human relationships, and most disturbingly, to substitute parent â€“ child interaction.
Television is often misused in cases where people rely on it for social compensation. In a study preformed by Finn and Gorr, â€œSocial Isolation and Social Support as Correlates of Television Viewing Motivations,â€ it was denoted that shyness and loneliness, two social deficits that often accompany one another, contribute to social isolation (138).