Television is one of the greatest achievements of the 20-th century. It is the most popular part of mass media. Today every family has a TV-set. TV has changed much since the time of its invention and so has its role. There have been numerous debates concerning advantages and disadvantages of television. When TV first appeared its main purpose was to give official information to people. It was supported by the government. Now television plays a big role in every civilised society. Today television gives people a possibility to be well informed and enjoy "civilised pleasures." The programmes are various and people have a chance to select what they want to see. Television provides great opportunities for education. There are programmes devoted to specialised subjects. With the help of TV it is possible to learn foreign languages, to know a lot of wonderful things concerning the world flora and fauna. TV teaches the ideals of democracy and political argument. Watching television can be compared with reading books. It provides an outlet for creative talents. By the beginning of the 21-st century TV became a coloured world network. Numerous programmes people can receive by satellite or cable. The choice of the channels ranges from six to twenty. These channels show programmes of various kinds from documentaries, current events and sports to programmes American films and science fiction cartoons. Now this medium of communication allows people to see and speak with each other if they are separated by thousands of kilometres. TV bridges between Russia and the USA once were very popular. They showed that TV was a unifying force and that our planet in reality is a small world. Previously innovations were promoted on TV. TV shocked, surprised and stimulated. It brought ballet, opera, and theatre to big masses of people. It was even in the vanguard of new drama. Moreover, TV can keep children quiet. If they are noisy their mothers turn on the set. If people do not like TV they do not buy it or switch it off.
At the same time there are a lot of arguments against TV. It is said that only three generations have grown up with television, but they managed to forget how to spend their free time without television. Its role is increasing not because it is an entertainer or informant, but because of the grip it has on many people. It is called a "living room monster" or "one-eyed monster." It is established that the biggest viewers are pensioners and housewives. The latter watch TV while their husbands are at work. In total they spend five hours daily sitting before the "boxes." Children watch commercials, horror films or films of violence. TV prevents children from creating their abilities. They get accustomed to TV to such an extent that they watch it all the time. To force their children away from their favourite evening programmes to their homework has eventually become the main problem of the parents of different countries.
Moreover, TV is damaging for health. It has bad effect on the eyes, particularly of children. The physicians proved that if children do not watch TV their eyesight improves. But if children do not watch TV they find themselves without anything to talk about at school, where comedians and singing stars are major topics during breaks between classes. The same is true about some adults. Sometimes TV programmes become the topics of common interest of the people and without, them they have nothing to talk about.