“Where’d all the good people go? I’ve been changing channels I don’t see them on the TV shows“
– Jack Johnson
TV In Our Culture
Somehow, our culture has evolved so that the main room in the house is the entertainment room (aka The Living Space Formely Known as The Family Room). Rather than being a room where people can sit face to face and talk, all chairs and sitting furniture are oriented to face glowing plasma pixels.
And what an entertainment room it has become – the epitome of grandeur and success for many (especially single guys). Movie theatre digital sound system. Piles of remote controls – or the one universal remote to rule them all. Gaming consoles stacked one upon each other. Everything we need to become disconnected from the real world.
I’m sure you know someone who has a TV in every room of the house, and perhaps even know someone who has a TV in the bathroom, for distraction from those precious moments .
What would a room be without a TV? It would be such a boring place, right? It would require people to sit together, face each other, and have conversations about life outside the box. It’s hard when there are a lot of great dramas out there, but living vicariously through the lives of onscreen characters only serves to weaken your sense of reality.
Many of us don’t realize how much time we spend in front of the television. If you haven’t heard already, the average pre-schooler watches more TV than he/she spends in school. Are your kids watching too much TV? Of course, you have to lead by example and cut the habit yourself! I used to be one of those kids who alternated for hours after school between TV shows and Nintendo. I could recite all the toy commercials and cartoon opening theme songs better than anything else I learned.
News doesn’t count though, right? Au contraire – news and reality TV showcasing the worst of people are the most addictive mediums TV shows present themselves in. Go on a news fast, you’ll realize how little you need it.
What about educational programming? The Discovery Channel was on at my cousin’s house last week, and the prime-time programs included fear-mongering plane crashes and storm disasters. And if you flip on the TV just to drone yourself out to educate yourself the mating rituals of flightless birds, you may be deluding yourself.
If you really want to learn, practice focus on something you have a genuine interest in. Spend the time learning in-depth something you can develop into a real competency or skill, such as a foreign language or Chinese history.
Sometimes, there might be a show of relevant interest to you – such as a travel show to a country you’re planning a visit to or if you want to learn to cook a certain food. Just make sure you’re actively watching, learning, and not allowing yourself to watch the next irrelevant show. Sure, TV can have some useful and creative programming, but there’s so much junk on the small screen that it’s better to seek out alternative resources than sift through the garbage.
My friends recommended a dance competition show because they know I love to dance. It was pretty interesting, but rather than watch an entire season’s worth of shows, I just joined a hip hop class and bought some of the choreographer’s instructional videos.
Often times, we don’t really want to watch TV, but just seem to have it on or drone out mindlessly with it on after a hard day of work. You’ll be surprised at the number of hours you passively log this way.
It’s just a bad habit, and with conscious action, it can be replaced. For a while, your old TV habits may creep up here and there. However, when you’ve stayed off the TV for a long enough time, and you’ve replaced it with better activities, you’ll surprisingly discover that you have no interest in sitting down and droning out.
Ready to give up the boob tube? Click here for tips on giving up TV.