This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I grew up with only one television set in our house.  That TV was black&white until 1980 when my parents proudly brought home a big cabinet-style color TV.  That day was cause for much celebration in my childhood home!

Remember when this was the height of fashion?

We only had 3 channels and those 3 channels only broadcast from 6 a.m. until 1 or 2 a.m.  No cable TV for me, no VCR (until 1987), no premium channels, no movies on demand, no hulu tv on the internet, nothing that we mostly take for granted today as an ability to watch pretty much whatever we want whenever we want to watch it.

All of the choices today and the easy availability of constant entertainment have some experts arguing that TV is too important, too much a part of our daily routine than is good for us, and certainly more than it was 20 years ago.  I'm not going to dispute whether that is true for everyone I'm simply making the statement that's it's not true for me even though I make use of just about every single technological advance available for TV viewing.  Here's why:

Back in the 'old days' I'd be outside playing with my friends.  We'd all be involved in a game of kickball.  Or pickle.  Or Smear the Queer (because political correctness was not yet a soundbite in the '70s).  Suddenly doors would open all over the neighborhood as mothers called their children to come inside because the Charlie Brown special was starting in 5 minutes.  The kickballs, softballs, and baseballs would all be abandoned as each child stopped playing to go inside and watch television.  In the old days if you missed a show when it was aired you had to wait a whole year, or possibly longer, for the show to be aired again.  Not so these days, my friends.  My daughter frequently asks "Will you TiVo that show for me?" regarding some Disney special, ABC Family movie, or Nickolodeon premiere that she wants to watch.  "Sure," I say, "I'll make sure it records for you."  I program TiVo and then we both forget about it until one day when we are sitting down to watch TV and the desired program magically appears in our TiVo To Do List.  Our children don't have to stop playing in order to see a desired program.  They don't have to schedule their lives based upon the TV schedule.

I think the technology also helps me better screen the choices available to my daughter.  Before the advent of the internet a parent had to go by the 1 or 2 reviews of a movie that we published in the newspaper.  They may have gotten some word-of-mouth reviews from other parents who had seen the movie, but there wasn't an easily accessible, wide variety of information and opinions about any given movie.  Now if I want to decide if the Twilight series is appropriate for my 11 year old (my vote is NO, not for my 11 year old!) I can read thousands of book reviews, thousands of movie reviews, and see enough trailers to feel like I have a handle on the movie content.  When I was 11 my parents let me go to the theater and see Poltergeist a movie I had absolutely no business seeing and a movie that my mother was appalled that I had seen when she finally saw it herself.

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of technology.  I believe that the latest advances relegate TV viewing to a lesser importance than 30 years ago because it can be at our convenience, with informed consent, and doesn't have to interfere with any 'real life' activities.

What do you think?


karen@fitnessjourney said...

I have to admit that I used to have the tv on most of the morning and afternoon since it was in a room close to the kitchen where it would keep me company while I worked. When we moved our tv (hideous huge monster) to another room, I stopped watching so much. I find that I get so much more accomplished and also, it gives me a chance to think about things more deeply. I still love my Office and Mad Men, but I don't watch all 4 hours of the Today show anymore!

Anonymous said...

tv is overrated really....we just went camping for 4 days and nobody missed tv from ages almost 50 to 11 yearsl old. Enjoyed this blog is the house painting coming.....still to hot????