Friday, March 14, 2008

Unplugging the tube

I (thankfully) did not grow up with much t.v. I have never had cable, and hope to always keep it that way. Furthermore, I would (at least as of March 2008) be perfectly fine with not having a television. While I enjoy watching movies on occasion, I have a laptop that works just fine for times like that.

Over the last few years, one thing I've noticed when hanging out with friends and watching t.v. (or movies) is that it's so...lifeless. I would much, much rather be interacting with people--getting to know them, laughing, sometimes even learning while playing games or just sitting around talking. A few families from my church have no television, and I love going to their houses and getting to interact without the distraction of the t.v.

Honestly, I don't even think there's much worth watching on the t.v., and even though there's not, it is still a time-waster that people watch. One can only imagine how many hours would not have been wasted if it weren't for the television.*

The NY Times had an article today about t.v. in kids' bedrooms and there are some old articles on Boundless by Bethany Torode on this topic as well. The first is called "Avert Thine Eyes"
and the second is here. And if anyone says you need t.v. to be a well-adjusted or well-cultured person...I'd question their definitions of those terms.

*="What about the Internet?" I can hear people say. It's true; the Internet is a time wasting machine. However, I think that the web is more interactive--blogging is a perfect example. Certainly, hours can be wasted upon it--I myself have been more guilty of this than I'd like to admit; one must use discernment and self-discipline with it, as with anything in life.


Thea said...

Amen! We haven't owned a TV in years and we don't miss it. Occasionally we find ourselves in a hotel with cable and we try out best to binge gloriously, but every time (except that one, when we happened upon a Reno 911 marathon) we've been disappointed by the fact that there's rarely anything on worth watching.

(Whether or not Reno 911 is "worth watching" is, of course, debatable.)

Jacob said...

I concur. I would much rather spend 60-120 minutes in a coffee shop or restaurant with my friends than in a movie with them.

Jacob said...

Besides, beer tastes a lot better than movie popcorn!

D.S. from N.O. said...

I've wasted so much more time on the internet than I have with TV. So much more. I can easily sit and kill 4 or 5 hours doing absolutely NOTHING online. I don't think TV is the problem. I think the strange addictiveness of wasting time is the problem. Besides, TV can bring people together just like games can. My girlfriend and I would always watch American Idol together last year. I know that she also watches Gilmore Girls religiously with her mother, and it's some of the best time they spend together. You can't blame the TV for a time-wasting addiction any more than you can blame sleep aid companies for a prescription drug addiction. TV exists. It can be abused. However, it can also be a very positive thing.

I remember once hearing a term "destination TV." In other words, when you watch TV, you do it with a program in mind you want to watch. You watch that program, then you shut off the TV. You don't channel surf. You don't leave the TV on all day. The same thing could also apply to internet usage. When you're on the internet, you should always have something in mind you're doing (even if that something is just browsing the net). Do it, get it done, and get off. When I do that, I find I usually get to bed at a reasonable time, wake up rested, and have more enjoyable days. However, it's strangely hard to break the addiction of just sitting for hours online accomplishing nothing.

Really, I'd just say this: DO STUFF. That's basically the cure to this problem (and the problem is far broader than TV). Be an active person.

Of course, active people can watch TV and use the internet too, so... there's a good balance here.