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lunababymoonchild

Do we really watch too much TV?

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This was raised on the I'd like to read more thread and I'd like to discuss it.

 

I have always been criticised for watching too much TV, usually by my mother.  The last conversation I had with her however, had her conceding defeat and (most importantly) desist going on about it.  She was the one that taught me how to read, to balance to the books a little.

 

So, do we watch too much TV? 

 

I am lucky to have Sky+ so have access to all sorts of different channels and I record quite a bit to watch later. I also watch, on occasion, the crafting channels.  I do have other hobbies - paper cutting and origami for example, in addition to reading - so that the TV is switched off occasionally.  My father doesn't really understand how to work the remote control so sometimes I have to be on hand to help with what he wants to watch which is not necessarily that which I want to watch, but overall I think both of us have struck a nice balance.  Neither of us is avid soap opera fans and on the rare occasion that someone calls round or the telephone rings we switch the TV off. It's so easy to record that neither of us is afraid to miss something - to be fair neither of us ever was -  or 'stay up late' watching the end of a film for example.

 

I really do feel that we are both more selective these days now that we have the choice and it is a lot easier to switch the TV off and go and do something else.  So I wondered why TV is still seen as some kind of bad thing to do with your time and why it is seen as someting we could do with less of.  I've learned a great deal, for example, from the documentaries that I choose to watch and much from Animal Planet.  I don't necessarily think that it's a bad thing (although it was funny at the time) that my father and me were watching Dirty Harry before Christmas and my father's TV ears weren't working properly so he felt he had to ask me what was being said.  My reply was "You've seen the film so many times before, you know the script!" which is true (TV ears were replaced the next day).

 

So, what is so bad about watching TV in general or is it that people feel that they watch too much TV to the exclusion of something else and if so, why not stop watching TV and do the something else?

 

ETA Is it a bad thing that we have turned the TV off to go and use the internet as I am now?

Edited by megustaleer

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The only time I might watch the tv too much is during the tennis tournament season. The one program I do watch every weekday is Coronation Street and that's a half hour show. Dave watches his tv downstairs and he 'flicks' until he sees something he wants to watch, we'd never be able to watch together unless it was some BBC drama. I suspect the odd time he falls asleep in his easy chair and the tv entertains itself. :)

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Very rare I watch TV apart from the BBC news in the morning for about an hour before work, MOTD on Saturday night (cricket rugby also when on) and the occasional film, drama etc. Most of the time I have spare I listen to BBC Radio 4, 5 and 3 in that order. I find radio liberates you to do other things, including reading.

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Interesting topic! There was a time in my 20s that I watched very little TV. So little in fact that when I did try to turn it on one late night and it didn't work I never attempted to ascertain the problem and only discovered a year later when I had to move that it was simply unplugged ???? Then in my thirties I became a family man and a full time wage slave and watched a lot of TV, much of it sports, but only after it was too dark to be active. In my late 40s,shorn of family, TV paired well with my alcohol and marijuana addictions and I spent almost every spare moment in front of the tube. Now, clean and sober in my mid 50s, I watch a couple of hours of TV per night, all of it either movies from Netflix or recorded programming, with an occasional sporting event on the weekends, also recorded so I can fast forward through commercials and other boring bits.

But it is a choice I make to watch TV with my evening, rather than read, because when my sweetheart and I are each reading there is no interaction. We might as well be in separate homes. But when we watch the television together we comment and discuss and generally share the experience.

And then there is a question of whether reading is somehow better for you than TV. They are both escapism, or at least tend to be used that way, and they are both sedentary. Studies have shown that we don't learn as well in the truly passive mode most are in as we watch the telly. And reading engages our language facility in a different and more productive way. Plus books tend to go into more depth and detail. And for me reading is actually more addictive than TV. I can be really grumpy about being pulled away from reading a good book.

Both reading and watching tv are vicarious pleasures, and consensus opinion would have it that doing is intrinsically better than watching. And I would certainly feel it was a better day all around if I went rock climbing as opposed to watching on a screen or reading about it. But limited daylight at this time of year and generally inclement weather precludes me from doing nearly as much as I'd like to, so often enough, watching a show on birding, or the lives of dragonflies, just has to do.

If you think TV watching is getting in the way of living, then don't do so much of it. If it's not then enjoy it guilt free.

Edited by Dan

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I do watch a lot of TV, but then I also do a lot of other things too - walking, working out, reading, drawing...so I won't let myself feel guilty about it. I enjoy good TV and it can be just as important as everything else.

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I enjoy good TV too, so I was wondering why it is still seen as some sort of 'bad influence'

I know - that bothers me too. I notice how people who consider themselves to be educated are often at pains to point out how little they watch tv, and some people like to exile the tv to a small room. No-one would ever say "music, can't stand the stuff", or, haughtily, "well, I have to say that I almost NEVER listen to the radio". But it's ok to dismiss the entire output of all tv stations as rubbish. I don't see why.

 

I enjoy tv as much as I enjoy books, and radio, and silence. I don't find that once the tv is on, I'm unable to switch it off. I have a low tolerance for what I find to be rubbish, so I don't find myself wasting my time watching stuff that's not worth my time.

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I always remember the Public Enemy song - " TV the drug of the nation. Breeds ignorance and feeds alienation" For me there is some good TV but 90% is shite.

They have banned the song on You Tube but they can get it on.

 

Many people I know have to be in front of the TV because a certain soap is on at a certain time.

Surely with the internet and streaming you can watch what you want when you want.

Otherwise we are zombies staring at a square box in the corner of the room at set times?

Kills conversation,

Edited by Clavain

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You don't have to be in front of the tv at a certain time for your favourite soap or a series you're following if you have a recording device and then you can watch it (or not) whenever you want.  And as for the Internet, there isn't really anything that would persuade me to watch anything for any length of time on my IPad or my Desktop, it just isn't comfortable, both screens much smaller than tv.  I do lots more reading than I do watching.

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Following on to what I just posted, I smiled when you said it kills conversation, Dave has his own tv downstairs which he can watch if he gets tired reading or listening to music on YouTube. The only time we watch tv together is if we have a DVD and then we watch it up in the living room because that's where the larger screen is. There isn't ever much in the way of conversation, the most nattering I do is on BGO or the phone and he is the original quiet man (although I have been known to nag). :rolleyes:

Edited by momac

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There was a time when TV was considered to be something that would ruin the Cinema business.  Then video came along and that was considered to definitely ruin Cinema. 

 

I do remember reading a quote (and I can't remember where, sorry) that said that the people who didn't have time for crafts were the people who were all sitting watching soap opera.  My response to that was "What's wrong with that? Everyone has the freedom to choose". I will say that my mother would not allow soap opera on the TV stating that "It was brain-rot for morons".  I did ask her, many times, exactly how she came to that conclusion when she had  never actually watched a soap opera in her life (I didn't get an answer.  I watched Neighbours for a bit whilst at University as a break from studying.  My mother wasn't in the house at the time, but I did tell her and she didn't condemn me).  Long after she died I heard Vinnie Jones saying exactly the same thing, word for word, and that he wouldn't allow his children to watch soap opera.  Perhaps it's this that gives TV a bad reputation that seems to have stuck?

 

The wealth of cheap reality shows doesn't really help either, I think.  I've never watched Big Brother but I've caught a bit of The X Factor and The Voice in passing and both are just horrible.

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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Everything new apparently kills conversation. It's nonsense. Who said conversation was so great anyway? The majority of conversations I get into on a daily basis are not hugely important - we are not curing cancer.

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Everything new apparently kills conversation. It's nonsense. Who said conversation was so great anyway? The majority of conversations I get into on a daily basis are not hugely important - we are not curing cancer.

'I'll Google it,' as a response to any sort of 'Why is...?' question does tend to kill the conversation though.  Before there might have been at least twenty minutes of pub-type conversation over what really is the smallest whatever and who the stars of North by North West are apart from Cary Grant.

 

I think overusing the internet is more damaging than watching TV because surfing the web demands less concentration. Also if I  watch with TV with my husband or one of the girls we usually talk about what we've seen afterwards, even if it's not very in-depth, web browsing is almost entirely solitary.

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But if I find something interesting online, that I wouldn't have found otherwise, I share it with my son and husband and then we have a chat about it. TV, the internet, books - these are all just stimuli for more conversation. And what about online conversation - isn't that what BGO is all about?

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But if I find something interesting online, that I wouldn't have found otherwise, I share it with my son and husband and then we have a chat about it. TV, the internet, books - these are all just stimuli for more conversation. And what about online conversation - isn't that what BGO is all about?

Very true Hazel, I really enjoy when there's a topic of general interest on the forum and it's usually about something that wouldn't generally come up in casual conversation with friends or relatives. Also, I like book discussion but we seem to have let that slide for a while. Maybe we can get that underway again if someone has a suggestion.

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Most of us watch very little TV, expect for the evening news and the occasional DVD from the library. Our son, however, is a sports fan, and my wife and I have grown accustomed to joining him when he is watching ski jumping, just for the sake of being sociable, i.e. so that he is not alone on the couch all the time and has someone to drop his comments to. Our daughter keeps complaining that he has infected us with that virus and would emphatically lock herself into her room then.  

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I love watching TV and this discussion has helped me realize that I generally like the same kind of shows as I do books. I like good stories with good plots and characters, with a concentration in mysteries, fantasies, and comedies. We just finished watching the second season of "Fargo" and thought it was great. I don't think there's anything wrong with watching TV.

Edited by Binker
To correct the spelling of "kinda." Shudder.

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As it turned out, last night the TV was barely on and we sat and read for most of the evening.

:D Me too! My friend phoned me and we chatted for a couple of hours then I went to bed to read. Healthy balance, that's what it is all about!

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I was brought up in a home where there were always tvs around. And that was in the 50s, long before most homes had them. (My father repaired tvs in his spare time.) But, as young children we were never allowed to watch during the week, only on Saturday afternoons at 5pm when children's tv was on for an hour. As we got older we were allowed to watch occasionally during the week, for an hour after our homework was finished.  The tv was never on before 6pm. And to this day my tv is never on before 6pm. In fact, it is more off than on anyway. I am very selective in what I watch. (From March I will probably give it up altogether, because the ever-increasing subscription is making the amount of time I watch unjustifiable.)

By the way, I have heard that in some cultures people flaunt their affluence by leaving their tv (and lights) on all night, just to show others that they can afford to.

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 Since staying away for work 5 days a week for the last two years I've found the amount of time I spend watching TV has dropped dramatically. I watch practically none during the week and maybe 6-7 hours at the weekend with the family (DVDs or netflix/amazon/iplayer/4od series). The kids are generally banned from TV Monday to Friday, though by the time they're back from after school/sports clubs and have had dinner and done homework, they're getting ready for bed. We're quite an active/busy family at the weekend - Saturdays we're usually out most of the day and Sunday mornings are spent at the rugby club where my lad plays and I help coach.

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I'm lucky if I can get to the tv.  The kids usually hog it with their x boxes.  Mind you I don't really feel the need to watch tv.  The only programmes that I record are TOTP-1981 and Dr Who.

 

I read and listen to music.

 

I used to live for the telly, but I'm a bit bored with it now.

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This morning the BBC did an article on children who were now not watching TV in the traditional way but on their tablets and mobile phones. They interviewed an 11 year old who did this on his tablet. An 11 year old with a tablet? Apparently they were worried that this destroyed family interaction because the children were not watching TV with their parents!

 

What next?

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Both my boys have tablets that they watch TV on - one is 14, he's had his for a good few years and my 11 year old is onto his third tablet because he uses it more and likes to have new versions whereas the oldest doesn't mind very much. We have movie night every Saturday when we watch a film together, board game afternoon on a Sunday and walk the dog together during the week. Nothing dysfunctional here.

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