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Wang 1 Philo Taylor Farnsworth invented the first electronic television, a medium that transmitted and received moving

monochrome and colored images, accompanied by sound in the year of 1927 (Stephens). The birth of the great medium was an exciting and intriguing event for all the people of that particular time period. Television was introduced to the United States of America in 1928. Before the invention, people received information from the radio and could not visualize the happenings described on the radio. By 1988, 98% of U.S. households had at least one television set (Stephens). When televisions were first set in homes, families and friends would gather around the television to watch any show that happened to be on. People admired and envied whoever happened to be the first person in a neighborhood to have a television in their home (Farnsworth). After the invention of television, childrens behaviors had an impact, changed political perspectives, and dominated what Americans did in their leisure time. Americans spent most of their free time watching television, instead of using that time to do work and other physical activities. Children learned how to act and play sport from television characters. People favored politicians for their striking looks, in addition to the issues they lectured about. In 1927, Philo T. Farnsworth developed the television, which revolutionized entertainment, how Americans spent their time, how children behaved, and how politics were perceived. In the 1950s, children's programs and the benefits that television could presumably bring to the family were high selling points for television sets. By 1951, the networks' schedules included 27 hours of children's programs (Boyse). Like much of television programming, childrens shows continued radio's tradition of action-adventure themes, followed by late afternoon and evening broadcasts. The early reliance on movies as a program staple lessened in favor of half-hour live-action shows, including, The Lone Ranger, Sky King, or Lassie, and host-

Wang 2 and-puppet shows, such as, the shows Howdy Doody and Kukla, Fran and Ollie (Stephens). By the mid-1950s, childrens programs had begun to increase and resulted in more children watching television. After the development of television, children were greatly influenced by the aspects of the shows they watched on television. They were encouraged to adapt to the new ideas shown on television. Watching television has influenced children to follow the negative and positive role models and acts were affected by television. Children followed the role models actions and behaviors and learned how to act from watching television. Children saw their favorite characters smoking, drinking, and other risky behaviors in the shows and movies that they watched, influencing the children to do the same (Boyse). Television also promoted children to have risky behaviors, such as, trying dangerous stunts and having violent behavior. After witnessing a character on television behaving violently when punching a plastic, inflatable doll, children kicked and struck their dolls with a hammer (Brown). Television shows have shown children how to act and, as a result, children are encouraged to act aggressively towards others. Watching television has taught children to accept many stereotypes. Children learned to accept that characters of color were usually the sidekicks, comic relief or antagonists (Boyse). Television made children believe that black males were always aggressors and perpetrators of crime, while white girls were always victims. Television shows often portray female characters as housewives and women that cook all the time, setting the stereotypical thought in children's minds that women are always housewives and do all the cooking (Edgar). Shows on Saturday morning television programs teach children that boys are more significant persons than girls

Wang 3 (Lake). Television watching has influenced children to accept many stereotypical thoughts mentioned on the television. Children generate their own ideas from what they learned from television. The actual performance of aggressive behaviors influenced by media has largely impacted the child's belief in the effectiveness of aggression in attaining the child's goals while avoiding punishment. The message that children get from watching television is that "good guys" beating up the "bad guys" is normal and okay, offering them the idea that doing so will make them heroes as well (Brown). At least under some circumstances, exposure to televised aggression can lead children to accept and believe what they have seen and use television as a partial guide for their own actions (Cater 47). Researchers have observed how children derived their thoughts and actions from television. In 1971, the researchers, Liebert and Baron, had used an experiment to determine if their theory, that childrens actions and beliefs were partly impacted by television, was accurate. They gathered a group of 36 children and separated them into two different groups- one group was given a violent film to watch, while the other group watched a sports film on television. After watching the films, each child was given a turn to play the game that the researchers had created- to save an imaginary child by pushing the green button or hurting the child by pressing the red button on a box. As a result, most of the children who watched violent films pressed the red button and acted aggressively towards the unseen child. The children that watched the sports film pressed the green button to help the imaginary, unseen child (Cater). After many similar experiments, Liebert and Baron concluded that children are influenced by the shows they watched. Experiments have shown that television influence was a significant factor that

Wang 4 contributed to the violent behavior in children.

Programs with positive role models can influence viewers to make positive lifestyle changes. There is concrete evidence that entertainment television can be constructive because evidence shows that young viewers of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" tend to be more helpful, cooperative, and sharing in their daily relations with others (Cater). The viewers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood adapt to the considerate, unobtrusive personalities of the shows characters and perform them in daily life. Evidence also shows that the television program called "Feeling Good", designed to encourage viewers to stay active and eat healthy foods, motivated young viewers to take steps to enhance their health in basic areas, such as, alcohol abuse, cardiac disease, nutrition, mental health, and prenatal care (Gunter). Positive role models can encourage their show viewers to stay healthy in both their mental and physical lives. Education was improved by watching television as a source of information. Television news brings into children's homes a wealth of information about the world everyday- concerning people, places, and events around the world (Boyse). Children learned about different people and places around the world that they would not have known about and were able to picture the people and the country. Not having encountered events firsthand, children can pretend to experience going into that place and visualize the setting shown on the screen. Television is educational and teaches children many things that they need to know in the future. The act of children learning from quiz shows demonstrates that even entertainmentoriented shows may provide a source of learning for young viewers. One of the key reasons for children watching quiz shows was to compete against the show contestants by generating their own answers while watching the quiz show precede (Gunter). The eagerness to answer the quiz

Wang 5 show questions along with the contestants exercised childrens minds and increased their knowledge. Research among children has shown that, by watching television quiz shows, children's general knowledge can be improved. Science television shows helps educate children in the scientific aspect. Children learn about the human body and animal behavior from 3-2-1 Contact. 3-2-1 Contact is a science show with a dramatically developed problem that is eventually solved in a scientific way at the end of the show. The show was designed to help young viewers to better understand the need of a scientific approach to tackle some of life's mysteries and concerns (Gunter). Childrens knowledge in science has improved, due to watching various science shows on the television. Watching the news on television may play a part in the political education of young people. Television has a potential for providing some information about government and political affairs, covered by nightly newscast and current affairs programs that give the viewer greater knowledge about government and political affairs (Gunter). By watching television, children are aware of current government and political affairs. Politicians were enabled to win debates if they had a favorable physical appearance on television. The first televised presidential debate was the Kennedy-Nixon Debate held in 1960. The television images appear to cause a viewer-listener disagreement during the debate (Druckman). Television assisted Kennedy in winning the debate, due to his superior image, even though he was not necessarily better on the issues. Television viewers of the debate thought that Kennedy had won, while radio-listeners concluded that Nixon had won. Kennedy outshone Nixon on the black and white screen because Nixon had looked older and had a haggard look compared to the youthful Kennedy. Frank Stanton, president of CBS at the time of the debate

Wang 6 said, "Kennedy was bronzed beautifully...Nixon looked like death" (Druckman). Harvard Professor, Joel F. Henning, 61, recalls, "Kennedy came across as a much more attractive figure, both physically attractive and in that he was much more eloquent. He made a stark contrast both physically and stylistically to Nixon (Feldman). Another Harvard Professor, Thomas M. Pepper, 61, says, "Nixon did not stand a chance against Kennedy on the popularity scale" (Feldman).

Americans elected John F. Kennedy as president for his favorable appearance and his look of optimism on the television. Kennedys youthful appearance gave America a hope for a brighter future with Kennedy as president. "By inauguration day in the winter of 1961, Kennedy's boyish bravado had instilled the sense of optimism in many students and throughout the nation," Joel F. Henning remarks. "People bought into the idea that maybe we could actually change something about the country", he says (Feldman). "People were interested in the new political stuff nationally. I think Kennedy's candidacy provided an outlet" (Feldman). Kennedy had represented youth, a breakthrough with regard to giving voice to people previously unrepresented at the highest level of government. Americans believed that, by voting for this young, Democratic candidate, America would prosper in politics. In the Harvard Campus, Brian A. Feldman, one of the writers in the Harvard Crimson Newspaper, interviewed many Harvard students and professors to receive firsthand information on the television-viewing of the debate. He concluded that Harvard students and professors were most definitely pro-Kennedy at the time of the debate. "Students were predominantly Democratic party adherents. They had this romance with Kennedy." Thomas M. Pepper recollects. "Nobody liked Nixon. Even Republicans didn't really like him. He wasn't quite as 'cool'. There he was on TV sweating...Everyone wanted to be like Kennedy" (Feldman). After the first televised debate, the audience recognized the

Wang 7 importance of a politicians appearance, in addition to the issues they lectured about. During the first televised presidential debate on Sept. 26, 1960, youth became a more prominent feature of American politics (Druckman). After television was widespread, Americans spent most of their time watching television entertainment and shows instead of physical activities, such as, work, sports, and other activities. Leisure time was spent watching television, although people could involve in activities, including, playing outside, reading, participating in sports, playing music, doing artistic work, and spending time with family members (Boyse). The television had dominated what Americans did during their leisure time at home. Children and adolescents watched television for various reasons. One reason for watching television is that they can enter new worlds because watching television gives them a chance to travel the globe, learn about different cultures, and gain exposure to new ideas that they may never encounter in their own society (Boyse). Another reason children and adolescents watch television was because "through watching television, children learn information on how to dress, behave, and play sport" (Brown 117). Researcher Schramm believes that a child can store up for the future, using the opinions and attitudes of the characters that they see on television. Lastly, the process of maturation, with its difficult experiences and frustrations, leads the children and adolescents to escape from his conflicts, constraints of routine, to seek aid for his problems, or uses television as entertainment (119). Television can offer a fantasy world for the pleasure of the viewers into where they can escape from everyday problems and the "humdrum" of everyday living. There are two kinds of television content: one is reality and the other is fantasy. Fantasy

Wang 8 material is used to solve problems. It acts as a distracter and a wish fulfillment. Children watch television for the passive pleasure of being entertained, to live a fantasy and escape real-life boredom (Brown 120). Researcher Schramms evidence for this is that children are committed to favorite programs and sit with absorbed faces (Brown). Reality material provides information and enhances the viewers general knowledge. Schramm suggests that very young children cannot tell reality from fantasy; therefore they are influenced as much by television as they are by all the new things around them. Children watch both realistic and fantastic television to escape from daily burdens and to gain knowledge.

Studies have shown that as a child gets older, they watch television for different reasons. Children and adolescents watch television to find social utility. They watch television for conversation material at school. By watching the current television shows, children and adolescents are aware of what their classmates are talking about and keep them from being isolated with nothing to converse about. At the age of seven, children peak on the following uses: think about, talk about, to get lost in, companionship, excitement and boredom. At the age of nine, two informational uses in television appear: different people, different places, in addition to, think about, talk about, and companionship. At the age of eleven, the top five reasons for watching television are: different people, think about, talk about, to get lost in, and boredom. At thirteen, the reasons for watching television are: different people, different places, not in school, think about, and, talk about. At fifteen years, the list of reasons to view television reads: different people, different places, not in school, talk about, and boredom. Informational uses from watching television become more salient as the child gets older; only talk about consistently appears in the top five, but think about and different people appear in four out of the five lists (Cater). The words isolated or lonely never appears amongst the most salient uses of

Wang 9 television. To children and adolescents, the television has always acted as a companion. Therefore, the reasons for watching television change as children and adolescents get older. Philo Taylor Farnsworths invention of the television revolutionized what people did for entertainment, how they obtained knowledge, and how Americans accepted politics. Americans obtained their information from watching television. Children learned from the characters behaviors on the television and followed their actions. They also learned about political affairs and science. Americans received news about the world and political issues from television. During presidential debates, politicians began to win due to their superior image on television, though they were not necessarily better on the issues. The great medium had changed how Americans spent their time, how children behaved, and how Americans perceived politics.

Wang 10 Works-Cited List Primary Sources: Druckman, James N. "The Power of Television Images: The First Kennedy-Nixon Debate Revisited." Northwestern University. N.p., 2003. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. <>. Edgar, Patricia. The Unknown Audience. Australia: Patricia Edgar and Ursula Callus Co., 1979. Print. Farnsworth, Elma P. Distant Vision: Romance and Discovery on the Invisible Frontier. N.p.: Paul Schatzkin, 1990. N. pag. The Farnsworth Chronicles. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <>. Feldman, Brian A. "Electing Youth and Change: Kennedy on Harvard's Campus." The Harvard Crimson. N.p., 2011. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. <>. Secondary Sources: Boyse, Kyla. "Television and Children." University of Michigan Health System. N.p., 2010. Web. 22 Oct. 2011. <>. Brown, Ray. Children and Television. CA: Sage Publications Incorporated, 1976. Print.

Wang 11 Cater, Douglass. TV Violence and the Child. New York: Russel Sage Foundation, 1975. Print. Gunter, Barrie. Children and Television. NY: Barrie Gunter and Jill McAleer Co., 1997. Print. Lake, Sara. Television's Impact on Children and Adolescents. AZ: The Oryx Press, 1981. Print. Stephens, Mitchell. "History of Television." New York University. N.p., 2000. Web. 19 Sept. 2011. < %20page.htm>.