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?