Entertainment comes in all shapes and forms such as television, books, and the internet. It is a fact that entertainment influences us positively and negatively. After school it’s nice to relax by reading a book or watching an episode of your favorite show. At the same time, it can be extremely distracting to open up Vine on your phone. You may end up watching vines for 30 minutes instead of doing homework. But the challenge here is to understand whether entertainment has the “capacity to ruin”¹ or whether it is simply a source of amusement.
Right now, I would argue that the internet has the largest influence on people in general. It gives us faster access to information than television or books. All over the internet, entertainment takes numerous forms. It has taken new forms to fit our shortening attention spans. Vine has 6-second videos, tweets only have 140 characters, and tumblr posts are increasingly made of memes. Entertainment does have the capacity to ruin in the sense that it turns us into people who want amusement as a fast as possible. It gets harder and harder to read a book when you can just listen to an audio book that takes less concentration. In addition, entertainment has influenced how we talk about social issues and how we relate to others. For example, conversations have been increasingly invaded with talk of youtubers and Vine trends as opposed to real life experiences.
It’s not that entertainment is bad but that increasing consumption of content has influenced social relations and attention spans in a negative way. Entertainment can be quite positive. Going to watch a movie with your friends on a Saturday evening can be an amazing experience filled with fun. So, entertainment is just like any other human invention out there. If used the right way, entertainment shouldn’t pose a threat to society. But if it is overused in the wrong way it does have the potential to ruin how we interact with each other. See you soon!
¹2003 AP English Language and Composition Free Response Questions