ESSENTIAL FACTS AND INITIAL EFFECTS
In order to begin the study of the psychological influence of television, it is first necessary to become acquainted with certain basic facts about television itself. We need to know what television is, who watches it, and why. We also need to know what people see when they watch television. These fundamental questions are essential to an understanding of the topic.
When was television invented, and what happened when it was first introduced into society? What kind of industry grew up around television? What do people in this industry do, how do they make their money? To what extent is the television industry regulated by the government, by what federal agencies, and with what history of success or failure? In short, if we are to try to understand the influence of television on human beings, we must first begin by describing what we mean by "television."
When responding to the question "what is television?" three different answers seem appropriate and true. First, television is a device for receiving pictures and sound broadcast over the air. If I say "was that shown on television?" you would know I meant the device, the machine. This machine, like all machines, has a history and a structure; it has certain limitations and certain strengths. The device was invented at a certain time in human history, and later it was distributed across society. Once television became