People have always endeavoured to improve mediums and devices of media and communications. The invention of the television turned out to be a boon for humankind that cannot simply be brushed away. This mechanism has influenced man in every sphere of life. Earlier, one had to read the information printed in a newspaper to gain knowledge and know about the happenings from around the world. That is still done today, but there are far more options available now compared to the past.

The wonderful advent of picture and sound has managed to attract humanity and in due course, has become an important part of our lives. Television services have aided people by providing news from every nook and corner of the world. It has become one of the chief sources of entertainment and recreation. It brings music, movies and news to us and makes us enjoy and ease ourselves, instead of spending our free time in boredom.

The greatest benefit of television is in the field of education. The Discovery Channel and other channels dealing with history or science are perfect to learn from.

Television provided everyone with an ability to become familiarised with multifarious cultural places and events, whether in different cities or even countries; so that before visiting a place, one has some idea about it.

It is also a medium for inculcating in people certain skills, like cooking or physical exercises. Television has also had a huge impact on politics, sports and society at large. However, the negatives of television impose a heavy burden and, in some cases, greatly outweigh the positives.

With the rapid advent of technology, it has become an integral part of every household. When a programme is to be aired, people, regardless of their age, get glued to their TV sets, no matter what may occur around them. They become unaware of their surroundings and are completely lost in the world of television.

This attitude makes them unsocial and confined to their homes, unmindful of what goes on in their surroundings. People even tend to miss important classes or appointments because they cannot afford to miss a serial.

Considerable harm is caused to children who become “couch potatoes” as they lean on the sofa and continue gaping at the screen, when they should actually imbibe the habit of reading books instead. Unlike in earlier times, rarely do children watch sports like football, cricket or tennis matches.

Some famous programmes for children portray superheroes that they look up to and admire. They fantasise that if the strong, invincible heroes are around, the world is a safe place to live in and that they are free from all kinds of harm. They must realise that such characters don’t exist in the real world and can’t save the world from its enemies.

Moreover, they waste valuable time and sacrifice the time they could have spent playing or doing some kind of physical activity in the fresh air. The greatest harm caused is when we watch TV programmes while eating. Watching this “evil box” for long hours is strenuous and affects our eyes.

The best way to avoid watching television is not to install it at all. One must develop the age-old habit of reading and learning. Reading interesting story books, or varied topics, is mesmerising. This develops our imagination, power to think logically, and builds our vocabulary.

(Author is coordinator, Class IX, Don Bosco School, Park Circus)