Many years ago, probably when I was in school, I had heard this from somewhere that TV and Prime Time shows are being encouraged to be broadcasted as a birth control measure. The best shows (like those of Balaji Telefilms) always started a little late, like after 10 or 10.30 pm. Even today if you see, even shanties and slums in India have a TV for sure, even if they have no other appliance.
They do not have a gas stove, or any other electric equipment, not even an electric iron, but they have a TV. I’m sure government played a huge part in making both possible – the fact that the most engaging serials get the best time slot at night, both on government and private channels, and that every house has a TV. In fact, I’ve heard of government campaigns that distribute free TV sets.
This was sometime in the 1980s and 1990s; TVs were new, channels were few, and the content was good. TV serials focussed on families, friendships, empowered women, wholesome men; there was an air of comedy, there was an air of seriousness, bad things happened, good things happened, but the message was clear, good things are preferable, and that’s what people wanted to watch. Fast forward to now, however, every time I happen to step inside my parents’ room, someone on TV is getting raped, some ‘bahu‘ (daughter-in-law) is getting harassed by her mother-in-law, some sister-in-law is getting harassed by someone in the family; crime-based serials are becoming so engaging, people are hooked on to it.
What I’m trying to say is that the TV today is filled with AGGRESSION; implicit and explicit, direct and instrumental (indirect), there is a lot of aggression on TV these days and even though TV might have started with good intentions of avoiding a population explosion, the kind of content on TV now is really priming us all for such inexcusable behaviour. Watching aggression on TV in fact increases acts of aggression in the household, be it giving a family member the cold-shoulder, the silent treatment, or hiding or spoiling their things, or in fact, which is truly happening, domestic violence. Yes, watching these seemingly harmless TV serials is in fact causing your parents to fight more, and perhaps to shout more at you, or you being rude to your partner.
My plea is, be very selective of what you watch – google the definition and forms of aggression, only violence is not aggression; harming someone in not-so-direct ways like teasing them, being rude to them, or giving them the silent treatment is also aggression.
Planning and plotting something against them or their repute is aggression. Try to find out a more balanced entertainment; try to consume a more neutral content. There are already so many frustrations that we have to deal with daily, which may lead us to be irritated and aggressive, don’t build more into yourself unnecessarily by being exposed to these gimmicks of increasing media ratings (like TRP).