How is television not a waste of time? 'A waste of time’ is not receiving or acquiring any sense of enjoyment, education and/or value from the activity you are conducting, and therefore one has not benefitted or has been entertained from doing the activity. So, how is television no a waste of time? Thanks (:

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are some scenarios in which TV is a "waste of time" by your definition. One is when networks foist programming that is "a waste of time." I can think of a time years ago when "Petticoat Junction" and "F Troop" made me swear off TV for the next 42 years. Another scenario is when programming is so devoid of decency and moral veracity that grown adults learn far more than they want to by switching on a late-night TV show. I must add though that TV is also an import tool for acculturation, the complete absence of which has a significant effect. TV must be employed with caution and discretion, however.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It is undeniable that television has some redeeming value. It provides entertainment, a diversion from the cares of the day, and also keeps one informed with news broadcasts, weather, etc.  A more pertinent question might be WHEN does television become a waste of time. Without passing judgment on particular programs, when one disregards his responsibilities (work, family, school) in favor of watching television, then one is "wasting time" by watching television; but the act itself is not per se a waste of time, nor should it be.  

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

People have a tendency to find ways to "waste time" no matter what methods are available, be them television, social networking, or video games. With that said, I don't think watching television is always a waste of time. If it is done for enjoyment, it's not a waste. A person will gain pleasure from that if only for that moment. If it's done for educational purposes, it's not a waste. A person will gain knowledge of some sort from it as long as they do not watch passively.

Even shows that seem like a waste of time can provide some sort of education or benefit to the mind if a person watches it right. When I watch reality shows, which are my guilty pleasure but I consider "trash" television, I tend to think about the social interactions and think critically about the situations they have been put into rather than just get sucked into it and think what the producers want me to think. Is this better than reading a book? Probably not, but I enjoy doing it every once in a while.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Most people can't always be "efficient" or "productive" every minute of their days. Television, even "bad" television, is no bigger waste of time than any other activity.  If I read a book to avoid cleaning the house then that is just as big a waste as if I were watching television. If you are going to argue that reading is more intellectually engaging, then I would argue that that all depends on the quality of the reading material. There are television shows that are way more demanding than some novels I have read lately, and vice versa. Human beings, for the most part, need a respite sometimes and television, like music, crafts, hobbies, exercise, etc. is just one way for us to waste some time and take a break.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I learn from and enjoy travel programs on television. I can vicariously visit places or take part in activities that I will never be able to see or do in real life. In the same sense, programs about history can give me new understandings and insights into events that occurred long before I was born.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

With today's expanded cable and satellite packages there are plenty of things to watch that are not a waste of time. Some channels focus on science, some on the environment, and many on political debate. You can get all kinds of viewpoints on many issues, unless you confine yourself to a few channels.

If all a viewer does is watch sitcoms and soap operas, then yes, they are probably wasting their time, although it is a way to relax for a little while. If you watch a variety of shows, especially the news oriented programs, you can benefit a lot from television.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think, like anything, the use of television would dictate its usefulness.  If someone were just staring like a zombie into a movie they had seen fifteen times then I could easily say it is a waste of time; however, there are many intellectual and social benefits available from watching television.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Since you throw in enjoyment as a value here it seems our argument is as easy as proving that television can bring us joy through entertainment or edification. 

When I saw Martha Stewart on a show called American Roots on PBS and found out she is over 70 years old, I was happily entertained by that mere factoid. I've told almost everyone I know...because I was surprised by this fact and I thought other people would be surprised too. Discovering that the world is not exactly as you had it pegged, not exactly as it seems, is fun. TV can do that for us, sometimes. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Most of the channels my family watches on television are educational channels. As pohnpei points out, television cannot be considered a waste of time if one is educated or entertained by it. Therefore, given that television can both entertain and educate, it is not a waste of time.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Well, given that definition, it's not a waste of time when we enjoy it or get educated by it.  So even if someone just watches something stupid, as long as they enjoy it, they have not wasted their time.  Of course, some people watch things that educate them which makes TV valuable as well.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial