Top 10 Benefits of Watching Television

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you can probably tell that I am a fan of television and it has played a big role in my family’s bonding. When I hear others proclaim that they don’t watch TV or don’t let their kids watch TV, as if it is just junk food for the mind, I realize that they have no idea what quality television is and the benefits it can have. Even bad television has its benefits.

The Top 10 Benefits of Watching Television:

1. Intelligence – Complex TV series such as Lost, Heroes and Battlestar Galactica require a great deal of thinking to understand what is happening. In fact, this was the argument of author Steve Johnson in his book Everything Bad is Good for You: How today’s popular culture is actually making us smarter. See also 8 TV Shows That Make You Smarter.

2. Learn about different people and places – While nothing beats actual travel for this type of learning, most people are limited in the amount of travel they can do. TV opens up the world, whether through watching documentaries, or drama series with multicultural characters.

3. Water Cooler effect – TV can often give office mates with little in common, something to talk about. This is especially so with series that lend themselves to discussion such as American Idol, Lost or major events such as the finale of The Sopranos.

4. Laughter – Laughing is good for us. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. It has been found to increase circulation, lower blood pressure and more. Watching a good comedy on TV can be a great way to find something to laugh about.

5. How-To – With cable channels such as HGTV and the Food Network, you can learn how to do almost anything from your TV.

6. Excitement – Contest shows such as American Idol, Survivor and The Amazing Race give you the fun and excitement of having favorites and rooting for a winner. The benefits of sports for non-sports watchers.

7. Educational and Informative – With cable channels such as Discover, National Geographic and the History Channels, watching TV can be as educational as going to school. Plus, how many times have you learned something while watching a regular TV series? If it weren’t for all the police and lawyer shows on TV, would anybody other than lawyers know what Miranda rights were?

8. Memory – With all the serial shows on television, from the complex like Lost, to the soapy, like Grey’s Anatomy, we need to remember what has happened from week to week to enjoy them.

9. Makes exercise easier – When doing a stationary exercise like a treadmill, it can get very boring. Reading is difficult because of the movement. Music helps but doesn’t give you anything to look at. There must be a reason why there are televisions in most gyms.

10. Gives families something to bond over – my favorite reason. From the time that I watched Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers with my kids to the current day when we spend hours talking about Lost, Chuck, The Big Bang Theory, Heroes and The Office, television has led to some great conversations. Often, talking about something that occurred in a TV show will lead to discussions of real life situations. If that isn’t a benefit, I don’t know what is.

Can you think of any other benefits of watching television that belong in the top 10? If you don’t think any good comes from watching TV, please comment about that also. I’d love to hear all opinions.

See also:
TVโ€™s Top Dramas Have Become Some of Our Highest Forms of Culture
Top 10 TV Series With Pop Culture References
20 Best TV Shows For Parent Teen Bonding
8 TV Shows That Make You Smarter
The 50 Most Discussed Television Series

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  1. Good post. Will you also like to throw some light on the disadvantages too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Thanks you so much for writing this- and I couldn’t agree more.
    I’m so tired of people making general statements with preconceived notions. Fantatsic!
    All the best,
    Eren Mckay

  3. TV Sucks!

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    Oh.. I can’t imagine what life would be without television. Watching foreign big football clubs like MU, AC Milan, Real Madrid on TV is really a joy
    Btw.. Happy New Year 2010!

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    i love watching tv too… my favourite tv series is friends.

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  6. u have a good opinion on watching TV.i like to watch TV too.well done.n thanks for ur info.

  7. I don’t really agree when they say Television is an idiot box…u can learn and be entertain at the same time.

  8. I agree with u Club… TV is important… U can watch news from inside out of the global…

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  9. I agree) I feel TV can enrich people. Certainly telivision is a gateway to knowledge)

  10. I have to agree whith every thing you said, some times when people ask me how did you know how to do that or where did you learn that I usually end up answering…Tv!

  11. great ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. i think the top ten is awesome and inform me on a variety of points for my debate

  13. how build muscle :

    Television can be educational and destructive as well. You can learn stuff but also be exposed to sex and violence.

  14. “#9 Makes exercise easier”
    Since I’ve stopped watching TV over two years ago, I’m in the best shape of my life. Instead of sitting in front of the television, I now have time to walk to work. Even a half hour a week could be spent outside with my friends being activate instead of lethargic in front of a box just watching. I’ve grown to enjoy actually doing stuff and living life instead of watching other people live.

  15. I actually meant that if you have a treadmill or some type of indoor exercise machine, you will be more likely to use it if you can watch TV at the same time because it won’t be as boring.

  16. Good points… Thanks! The points really helped a lot… =)

  17. :

    Great article – Very slow shows like Poirot are also very good for your brain, because it makes you think while trying to solve the problem. I have watched all the Poirot shows, and was able to solve only one before the conclusion. However, days after I have watch such a show, I tend to think about it still and many times I would go, “Aah, I get it,” or “why did he do this?” etc.

    I also must say, by the age of four, I have been speaking four languages and TV has taught me two of them; Spanish and English (which the latter is my fourth language.) Enjoy!

  18. I have to say tv series can also make you feel less tight up. There are many funny shows like Barney & Friends that is going to make you laugh more and more when you watch.

  19. By watching tv series, you can get a great motivation from it. Seeing the beauty of the cities in the series can drive you to the travel agent and book a ticket or two for you to visit those cities. How each character has his/her own uniqueness will make you want to become one like him/her. The fact that some characters are super smart or go to famous universities will totally make you want to be like and go there.

    By increasing your level of motivation I mean developing or increasing your desire to work harder in order to achieve your needs, wants, goals and ambition. In other words, you are trying to increase your enthusiasm and drive. If you are to succeed at this you must really want to do better and not merely feel that it would be good thing to do. You are going to have to make an effort and introduce some permanent changes in your life. It is not likely to work well if you only try for one week then stop and expect that things will be different and better from now on

  20. Go out into the world and live and get your heads out of the fake world. If your life is that boaring, then go out and get one. If you spend all of your time thinking about fake things, then when do you think about real life.

  21. Television is a waste of time, people can benefit from doing something productive and accomplishing more in life. I believe that television is the main reason that deprives us form reaching our goals and experiencing what the world has to offer.if you want memory or knowledge read a book

  22. I think that tv is like a lot of things in modern society – there are many benefits and drawbacks. Yes it can be informative and interesting but too much is undoubtedly harmful. Everything in moderation I say.

  23. Thank you for posting this list. It’s trendy for people to put down Tv today. While it has it’s downsides, there are also many ups.

  24. Thank you so much it help for my essay.

  25. This helped me with the school debate I was doing ๐Ÿ™‚ blogs are usually my last resort because I don’t find them at all useful, but this was VERY informative!! GREAT JOB ON WRITING THIS! ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. I’m so glad it was helpful.

  27. It is so true!! Im my opinion, all parents should read this.

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    Thank you for posting this list. It’s trendy for people to put down Tv today.

  29. Tv made me fat, angry and paranoid from seeing food ads, fight scenes and murder shows. I cut off cable and occasionally watch a movie at the theater. Now I read books on self-improvement and use my tv as a workout station. I shed 45 pounds and I have more stamina than ever in my life. I’m learning new things all the time that I can actually use to be productive in life. I started a business and I longer need to work for someone else or another company. Reading helps me fall asleep at night. I hate tv and I intend to teach my kids to hate it as well. It’s a BIG waste of time!!! I do however see a family across the street sitting around the tube every evening and they seem to enjoy their time eating and talking about the latest and greatest tv shows that will be forgotten in the next decade and not improve a single thing about their own life…they’re also all overweight/obese. My dad sits and watches tv in his 1 br apt all day and when we speak he complains about his position in life. How he wants to do this and that and never has he done a single thing to improve his position in the past 14 yrs! He talks about movies, actors and a whole bunch of nothing! I hate tv! I think it’s the reason America is getting fatter, more violent, rude and the reason why the divorce rate is through the roof, leaving kids with nothing by TV’s to teach how to manage life. I think it’s destroying this country and polluting the minds of people who would otherwise have lived productive lives. I hate tv! You did make good points though, but nonetheless, I still would never sign up for cable again.

  30. thank you i know everything but i dont agree with u in exercise help

  31. I love this – it’s nice to read something positive about watching. Who needs one more thing to beat ourselves up over?

  32. Abby and Josie :

    OMG tv is so bad for you!! I dont understand how tv can help you with exserice.

  33. This is a great article! Thanks!

  34. Nima Wickramasinghe :

    great article helped me in the school debate

  35. this awesome researches. but if we too much to watching TV, is not good also

  36. I do not agree with any of the above.

    Television is poison. Sure; some shows on the History channel, National Geographic, or Investigation Discovery may have a show on about seals, the military, or some other related topic… But are you seriously stating that you can only learn about certain topics through television?

    You can learn about different places through READING. Yes… reading still exists.

    As for contests, do you know how many of that is staged? American Idol is rigged just a BTW.

    If the only topic you can use to relate to people is television then there is a problem. Television and many other electronic devices are taking over our social lives and making people unable to communicate.

    Television does not help with memory. if anything what happens in every show is stored in your short-term memory.

    Maybe if television is the only thing your family can bond over… You should really see that as a red flag that your family communication and relations are very poor. Just Saying.

    To the author of this article, you should have really researched these “facts” first.

    • Everyone has different opinions. However, I never said that you can “Only” learn through TV. I know TV contests are partly rigged, but that doesn’t mean families still can’t have fun rooting together. And, if you think that TV is the only thing that my family bonds over, then you apparently have not looked at all the categories on my blog.

  37. I agree with this, especially the first snippet about shows like Lost & Battle Star Galactica requiring a bit more thinking to realize what’s going on. So true and BSG is one of my favorite series, the new one anyways. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  38. This is a great list! I love it when my son ask about something and I can show him with a YouTube video! Pretty fascinating!

  39. So, reality tv is my guilty pleasure. I have to say, there is a benefit to it. No matter how crazy things get in my life, I’m not nearly as screwed up as those crazy people are ๐Ÿ˜‰

  40. Cool helped me with debate

  41. thanks a lot,it was so helpful for me this article gave me special ideas of watching telly

  42. 1. It saves me an awful lot of money instead of attending a play or movie, also saves on gas, traffic and parking.

    2. I have travelled to China, France, Amsterdam, Caribbean, all over the USA, Rick Steve’s Europe segments with music actually make them more enjoyable and informative on a 54 inch Hi-Def TV, no airlines, transfers, foreign languages, getting lost, confusion, hassle. The food? Make them at home, no tip or taxes this way.

    3. TV won’t die. break up with you. If you skip commercials, there are no calories to watching TV. TV won’t gossip about you. TV is confidential, in short, a more trustworthy medium than being judged all the time. TV is seldom late. I watch it with my husband to relax. Many medical shows giving good advice on recipes and good health. Reaches beyond your everyday world, news, weather, music, humor, with attractive people.

    4. It can lower blood pressure as many shows are funny or relaxing, just pick good ones.

    If you discuss or write about it afterwards, you are not just passively watching, you are engaging with paper or with others. Watching with an exercise bike, great idea.

    Naturally, turn it off also, everything in moderation.

    It sure helped to watch shows during the worst winter ever in New England history.

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