How Television Shows Influence Societal Norms

Societal Norms are an unwritten set of laws which govern how people behave in society. Social norms in essence, maintain how people behave in terms of the law and develop groups. There are influences on societal norms such as the media, but another influence comes from television shows.

Soap Operas

We all know soap operas are not true. Soap operas were named because of the serialisation of radio series which were sponsored by well-known detergent companies. During the commerical breaks, detergents would be advertised and the affectionate name was born. It is still a term in use today and shortened to ‘soaps’ These long-running serials depict life based on real life, in certain parts of the country and usually have a central community of people and the soap details their daily lives. Storylines are based on real life experiences that happen in society and the topics, can be somewhat controversial. Soap operas are widely received however, many parents object to their children watching them due to children being easily influenced. But soap operas, whether we like it or not, do influence how society behaves. Many communities can be likened to soap operas and many fans use similar story lines to deal with their own experiences.

Documentaries and Factual Shows

These shows are seen as a good influence on societal norms as they are considered to have an educational aspect to them. Many children learn from these TV shows and they can be used as references for school projects and studies. Documentaries which feature aspects of society, such as how to manage money, are usually based on people’s real life experiences and these will feature in many people’s lives. Many people will be able to relate to the nature of these shows. They also influence people and teach them different channels to be able to deal with problems.

Children’s TV Shows

Television shows for children cover many areas. From cartoons to real life puppets who act out certain scenarios and as children are easily influenced, they will begin to form these behaviours within their peer groups at school. Children are natural born mimics and they will mimic and pass on behaviours they have seen on TV shows and this will then spread throughout the peer group.

TV shows do influence societal norms in many more ways and the news is another classic example. Daily news keeps us in touch with the actions of other societies and behaviours of different cultures.