Television may not have destroyed communication among friends and family but television certainly has done considerable harm. It encourages passive attention to images rather than active conversation. and reduces our vocabularies almost to the rudimentary level.
In light of heavy TV viewing, it is instructive to compare the working vocabularies of high school students 30 to 35 years ago with those of high school students today. In the 1960s, students in public schools were expected to know and use words such as “empirical” and “ostensible.” Today,
it would be surprising to find a student who has ever seen such expressions.
Nowhere is the deterioration in communication more apparent than in writing. Rare is the student who can compose a coherent paragraph, sustain a logical argument within it, and avoid gross misspellings and errors in grammar and punctuation. Moreover, what people write and talk about is as important as how they discuss it. Here again, the influence of television is both profound and upsetting. Some people talk almost exclusively about what they have seen on TV. The marriage of a fictional character on a popular TV show will attract the attention of an entire nation.
Of course, it would be a mistake to place the blame for such problems entirely on television. Yet, the rise of “video culture” has accompanied a gross deterioration in verbal communication skills, A generation has grown up without the ability to communicate adequately by word. That is why, in Our time, communication among family members and friends is like a bicycle
with only one pedal. It may work, but not well.
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