A while ago I wrote a post asking – Could you give up television?
After this post, I scaled back on the time I spent in front of the tube.
Unfortunately with my recent bout of illness, I reverted back to my bad habit of watching too much television.
I don’t have cable. No Foxtel or Tivo. I don’t even have a digital set top box or a digital television which gives you 16 Freeview channels (at least here in Australia).
I have made a conscious decision, not to get a digital television until right up to the time the old analogue system is turned off.
To top it off, I have a small old box television (shock, horror no flat screen). To be honest, I have gotten used to the screen size. It doesn’t bother me. Yet the reaction of some of the people who walk in my front door is interesting.
You would think it was the worst possible scenario to have a small television screen. A crisis of sorts. How on earth do I cope? At that point, I usually remind people that it’s just a tv, which often brings on another wave of odd looks.
Lately though, I have been questioning more than just the number of hours I spend watching television.
I’ve been having a closer look at what sort of programs I watch.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your television viewing.
Is your life filled with psychopaths and serial killers?
This question, in particular, is where the idea started for this post. As I mentioned earlier, I have been a bit under the weather over the last couple of weeks, so I have been watching more television than normal.
Out of the blue one day, I started to question how many programs I had watched that week that involved a psychopath, serial killer, child molester or someone who had suffered a violent death. Though I didn’t come up with an exact figure, I realized it wouldn’t have been a pretty number.
While I am not a physiologist, I would imagine watching this sort of television all the time could be harmful over the long run. At the very least I was finding it depressing. I was starting to have a few strange dreams (not to mention checking all of the doors were locked several times before I went to bed).
If you are watching too many shows where a dead body is lying on a slab – you might want to tweak your television viewing.
Let’s face it, if you want to see crime and violence, all you have to do is turn on the nightly news. Scary but true.
Are you watching people following their dreams yet doing nothing about your own?
It can be all too easy to sit back on our arse and watch people chase after their dreams. Good on them we think.
We applaud them, we admire them.
Yet we still passively sit on our butt. We do nothing about our own hopes and dreams.
Use the people that inspire you on television to get up and pursue your own goals.
Related post – How to Stop Watching from the Sidelines (Or Why I am Giving up The Voice)
Do you think reality TV is actually real?
Don’t even get me started on this one. I have never been a fan of reality television.
I can appreciate some of the singing or dancing shows, because skill and talent are required. Some of the contestants are extremely talented and it is fabulous to watch their growth and success.
Unfortunately talent doesn’t rank high in many reality shows.
Most of them are simply elaborate rat experiments. Put a whole bunch of people in an extreme situation and watch them turn on each other. Personally, not my idea of having a good time.
So many of the reality television shows are crap. And yes, sometimes we all like to watch crap. I am as guilty of this as the next person. It can be an enjoyable form of escapism.
Just don’t delude yourself into believing it’s real.
Related post – Does Reality Television Promote Bullying
Are you watching The Biggest Loser while eating a bag of potato chips?
It might not be The Biggest Loser – it could be one of the many extreme weight makeover shows hitting Australian screens at the moment.
If you are watching these shows chowing down on a big bag of chips or a block of chocolate – my guess is you are missing the point.
Stop watching people trying to lose weight and get up and exercise yourself.
Do you get sucked in by the ads?
I have watched a few morning shows lately. You know the type – the ones that come complete with their own sponsors and in-show advertising.
The same shows that try to sell you an exercise machine that fits neatly under the bed (very helpful for collecting dust later). These are also the ones that show the same ads, over and over again until you are super convinced you really do need that ab thingamy jig that yeeha – you can use while you watch television.
Now that I am back working and firing on all cylinders again, I definitely plan to cut back on time spent in front of the television. So what is my plan of attack?
I am going to introduce some television free days. I’ll give you an example.
Tuesday nights there is never anything I really like on. Yet I still turn the television on (out of habit perhaps?) even though I know there is nothing I want to watch. My aim is to stay away from that remote control on Tuesdays or at least turn the television on later in the evening (perhaps after I have been writing for a couple of hours for instance).
Can you relate to any of the above? Are there certain types of shows you could do without or watch less of?
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PS – Thought I’d share a quick update with you. Since I wrote this post, I have upgraded to a flat screen with access to Freeview. I won’t lie and say I’m not enjoying the experience but I’m still giving thought to what sorts of shows I watch.
Thanks for this insightful post. I must say I have quietly asked myself many of the same questions you have just posed – and I quite like the way you have summarised them all for a more complete contemplation !!
With the emerging NBN, the evolution of digital media delivery (Foxtel, FetchTV and Tivo etc), even the convergence of internet applications from handheld devices through to ipads and the like – I think the humble TV is poised to become even more frightening – not only in the amount of time it will consume – but in the quality of time (think content) it will consume.
A very timly post to think about….
It was great to hear from you, thanks so much for your comment.
Interesting that you mentioned the new technology bringing more ways for us to up our tv consumption. After writing this post. I discovered several ways to watch tv via my laptop as well. You certainly don’t need a television to watch tv.
As you said, definitely something to think about…
Again great to see you here, I hope to see you back soon.
OK, I have a confession to make. I currently have no TV. Actually that’s not entirely true. I have a TV but it is not hooked up to receive ANY TV channels (not even the free ones). It is only used to watch DVDs (a lot of educational ones as I’m currently home schooling my two kids). As you can probably guess from this comment so far, I’m not very conventional, but not having TV was not a big philosphical choice. We spent six months last winter travelling the worldas a family (like I say – unconventional) and when we returned to our home base in Canada we didn’t get round to hooking the TV up and signing back up with a cable provider. Days passed, then weeks and now months. I haven’t missed it at all and I’ve done a lot more writing. The kids say they miss it but only if you ask them. Otherwise they’re too busy playing outside or reading. I’m not suggesting that everyone should follow suit, but it just goes to show sometimes you don’t miss TV anywhere near as much as you think you will. Best of luck with cutting back!
Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I am sorry it has taken me so long to write back.
I was very impressed reading your email. I admire you for giving up television. I like the idea of having the tv but only watching DVD’s on it.
I do love the idea of being able to get more writing done, that appeals to me a lot. Television is such a massive time waster.
In your case I also think it is a wonderful way to spend more quality time with your children. I know parents are really busy but I don’t think some of them are spending enough time with their kids.
I love the fact that you took the family travelling for six months. Sounds wonderful. Good on you!!!
Thanks again for stopping by and I hope to see you here again soon.