The revolution won’t be televised

I hate TV

There, said it.

Sorry

 

I know that a large proportion (in fact by far the majority) of people in the country are rather attached to their television sets, and so most people will disagree with me on this, but I have real issues with that box in the corner of our rooms.

 

I’ve stopped going so far as to say that TV is evil. But it isn’t helpful. A new report getting quite a bit of coverage in the media yesterday, says that the health of our children is being seriously hampered by their watching of TV. The average 6 year-old can have spent an entire year of their short little lives in front of a screen, and this is playing havoc with their hormone levels. In adults, TV hampers conversation and steals our lives: how many of us have sat down in front of the box when we get home from work, only to get up two, three, four hours later?

 

That’s not to say that there are not good things about TV. It can be amazingly informative, opening our eyes to the wonders of our world (such as the BBC’s wonderful Blue Planet series). And it certainly entertains: I myself can confess to being a great fan of House, ER and share Jude’s obsession with the West Wing. But the quality of a few programmes doesn’t really make up for the insidious nature of the medium. It is designed to capture you, draw you in, and then (with most channels) sell you stuff…

 

I haven’t had a TV for over 4 years now. I reached the point, in my 3rd year at uni, where I was watching the news 3 or 4 times a day, and most schooldays followed the home, Neighbours, Simpson’s, Channel 4 News pattern. Yet each week, because of the church small-group I was part of, featured missing ER (by far the best programme on the box at the time). I had an epiphany: TV was stealing my life; yet, if I could live without the best of it, I could probably live without the rest. When I moved from that house, I left my TV there, and have quite happily survived without one ever since.

 

The result has been great. I have more space in my days for reading, interacting with flatmates, spending time with God etc. Yes, I miss out on a lot of culturally-relevant conversations (the whole Big Brother thing has totally passed me by), but if there is a really good programme out there… well, I can buy it on DVD! I really do believe that as a Christian (and as a human being) I’m better off without the box… and so would you be too.

Go on, be revolutionary, throw out the TV!

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