TELEVISION, AS THE SPREADER OF THE MASS CULTURE, AND THE STUDENTSAfter the fall of the iron curtain, which divided the East and the West, a heavy wave of mass culture, that phenomena of the modern culture, poured into Lithuania from the West.The word “West” in the lips of the members of our society sounds as something magic. The things from there are considered to be good, and the West is considered as the aim. The West is not associated with the most prominent phenomena of the western civilisation, classical inheritance, intellectual culture or the forms of the classic art, but with the mass culture. The ideals of the western mass culture are identified with the ideals of the western culture.First of all, the West for many people is associated with the word “freedom”, more precisely, with the freedom that is expressed in the mass culture – freedom with respect to “the system”, sexual freedom, freedom with respect to moral norms. Such freedom represents western liberalism and democracy to the bigger part of our society. The freedom expressed by mass culture is the negative one, freedom from, and not the freedom for. Differently from the positive, constructive freedom, the destructive one “freedom from” can be achieved without any special efforts of will and consciousness. The speed of living is increasing constantly; the modern person is a person in a hurry that seeks to get the maximal benefit with the minimal expenditures of time and physical and spiritual efforts. It is natural that in such “world in a hurry”, in which everything is wanted right now and at once, and without any special efforts, the freedom that is propagated by the mass culture – freedom form is considerably more acceptable than the freedom for – freedom, which demands, freedom as the possibility to think, to create, to express ones_ thoughts freely, realise oneself by the creative process.

The Mass Media and the Mass Culture are closely connected. The rise and spreading of mass media created possibility for the rise of the mass culture, which is ignoring regional, religious and class differences of the subcultures. The television is paying particularly important role for the spread of the mass culture. The mass culture offers sensitive, visual perception of the world, transforms person into visual creature. The subject of the mass culture is a visual person. In this way, television, as a visual mean, is very suitable for the spread of the mass culture.Television is the main way of the leisure time in many countries, and in Lithuania as well. Not any other mean of the mass media seized people as strongly as the television did. Sometimes TV is even called “universal ritual”. It helps to spread culture, news, information. Television is an instrument of propaganda, social control and regulation as well. It presents the models of the way of living, the norms of behaviour, the system of values. Presenting certain models of behaviour, the means of mass media determine general conformism, as most of the people begin to blindfold the models of behaviour and the norms presented by the mass media. In opinion of some scientist, mass media penetrated into our perception of the exterior reality, and into the area our perception of ourselves as well: mass media gives as the criterion to value ourselves, forms our aims and the ways to achieve them.As television is the spreader of the mass culture, the models in living and the behavioural norms presented to spectators are the production of the mass culture. Television is spreading mass images: what we should try to reach, to desire, how should we dress, behave, and so on. It dictates fashion, models the ways of living, feeling, thinking; forms opinions, tastes (as the result of the mass culture, the aesthetic and artistic tastes of the people are becoming worse). It propagates “consuming” psychology, as a part of the mass culture. By the way, the “commercialisation” of our lives, looking through the “glasses of the market” is one the factors that condition the spread of the Western mass culture here.
The number of people who are watching TV is increasing. The frequency and the duration of televiewing are constantly increasing as well. The more people are watching TV, the less they are able to select, the quicker the system of values proposed by TV is internalised, and in this way the values and the ways of behaviour offered by mass media become one’s own, inside the person.In the spring of 1998 the study was made to find out, what place the television takes up in the free time of the students of Vilnius University. 44 students of VU participated in the survey.According the results, students like to pass their free time by the TV screen – televiewing takes the second place (after the intercourse) in the structure of students’ leisure (average is 69.9 minutes per day).1 table. The frequency of televiewing (percentage)How frequently are you watching TV? % Less than once a week 4.51-2 times a week 20.53-4 times a week 20.55 and more times a week 54.5

The table shows, that bigger part of students is watching TV 5 and more times a week. And only 4.5 % of students are watching it less that once a week. This shows a big popularity of television among students. This table shows, that students rely upon mass media. We can make presumption that the influence of mass media, and precisely — television, is quite big, as we believe in the things that we rely on. As we source of information, television is the leader among the means of mass media. Even 50 % of students give preference to television, as the main source of information – they prefer watch the news on TV, than to read information in the newspaper or listen the news on the radio. Priority to TV is motivated by the idea, that television is a visual media. Presence of the image creates so called “effect of participation” – onlookers feel like taking part in the events seen on TV. This “sticks” people to the TV screen. Some scientists believe that this is the factor that determines so big popularity of television.

The spread of mass media, and especially TV, that takes place in the modern world, influences the students’ choices of the forms of leisure. Television occupies important place in the structure of students’ leisure (the same as in the leisure of the most modern people) – students spend 20 % of their leisure by the TV screen. Television is one of the characteristics of the modern world. Modern person and television are quite close categories. This can be confirmed by the fact that 43% of students can’t imagine their lives without TV, and 75% of the students can’t imagine the life of the modern person without TV.Basing on this researched, we can assume, that televiewing is quite important in the lives of students.This can be a danger for students, as future intellectuals, protector of national culture, because mass media, and especially TV, are spreaders of the mass culture. Let’s hope, that students are able to be critical, that they can analyse, value and select.