When I was a child, I used to think that the TV was magical. When I was very little, I even believed that people on the screen could see me as plainly as I could see them – so much so that if I was getting changed then I’d go behind the sofa! I was fascinated by the way we could see into different worlds and places, and see people conversing in different languages.
Nowadays, although there are some truly wonderful and entertaining programmes out there, there’s also the notion that television can become addictive (some studies even compare it to dependencies such as alcoholism). Sometimes, I’ll find myself watching a box set or drama that I’ve simply lost interest in…continuing to stare mindlessly at the screen out of habit rather than out of any real interest. It’s led me to wonder if I watch too much TV; if it’s just another form of procrastination – or time-wasting – when I could be doing something more interesting/productive/creative instead.
With this in mind, I decided to set myself a challenge of going one week TV free…. and this is my first day. I can’t decide whether I’m going to miss my daily dose of drama, of informative broadcasting, of pure catharsis when I’m too tired to do anything else. Or whether it will be a spring-board into learning and doing new things.
A quick search on Google shows that I’m not alone in thinking about ditching the TV. Apparently, 1-2% of Americans do abstain from TV watching (source), usually for one of three reasons (1) the excessive sex, violence and consumerism that they believe is promoted on some channels/programming. (2) the belief that TV intrudes on family life, and on the art of conversation (3) the belief that the TV industry is becoming too dominant and they don’t want this influence brought into the family home.
The benefits? Well, people who abstain from TV/or reduce their viewing time seem to do more of everything else…as Luschka, from Diary of a First Child, commented, it worked for her: “I simply unplugged the cable and cancelled the tv licence. Nothing like being thrown in the deep end! The kids missed it at first but I just said it wasn’t working. We still have Netflix and Amazon but I only watch on the tablet now so I don’t watch as much or as often. Instead I write birthday cards, I’ve started playing piano again and I read 2-3 books a week. I still get to watch what I want but I don’t get caught in hours of mindless rubbish. An added bonus is that the children’s list of plastic toy requests has all but disappeared too. I don’t think I’ll ever go back.”
I wonder what your thoughts are about going TV-free? Could you live without television or would you miss it? Maybe your situation is more like Nikki’s over at Riding Boots for Boo – “I long to watch more TV! I hardly ever watch it as all I seem to do is work these days. It is real decadence when I get to sit down and watch it! I see it as theatre in my living room”. Theatre…surely that’s an apt description of some of the best TV out there? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below if you can. And check back next week for an update …