Saturday, August 30, 2008

I enjoy TV. Let me say that up front. I don't let it rule me. Once I might have given too much time to TV. Interestingly, now that we have a DVR I spend quite a bit less tie watching. Partly because I can spend 25% less time on each show by skipping commercials, but more because I know what I want to watch and record those few shows for viewing after my kids have gone to bed. It isn't that I don't want my kids to watch the shows I watch, but because I'd rather spend my evenings with them. I've said this to make it clear that I am not trying to convince people to throw their TVs out.

I have had many friends that don't own a TV. They seem happy. Generally they aren't against watching TV. If they are over they might watch a show with me. They just don't own one personally. I talk to them about it and most of them use to own a TV. Some actually still own a TV but have put it away in the attic or something. I am generally pretty straight forward so I usually ask, "why?" I think it is good to have a reason for whatever we do. I thought it would be fun to list reasons why a person wouldn't have a TV. Some are real reasons I've been given, others are things I think might be subtext to the reasons given, and others just seem funny to me. Try and guess.

  1. My daughter told me "they" were coming so I got rid of the TV.
  2. The Devil spoke to me through re-runs of M*A*S*H*.
  3. We never did anything as a family without the TV so I divorced the TV to save my family.
  4. I did it so you would ask about the show you watched last night and know how much holier I am when you found out I don't own a TV
  5. By the way did you tape that show because I'd like to come over and watch it later.
  6. There is nothing good on TV.
  7. I have better things to spend my money on.
  8. God told me to get rid of it.
  9. I watch all my shows on my computer now.
  10. The government uses the TV to scan our brains.
  11. The aliens use the TV to scan our brains.
  12. The alien controlled government uses the TV to control our brains.
  13. There is too much garbage on the TV
  14. My kid saw Barney once and I was afraid to keep the TV after that.
  15. Why should I pay for a TV when you have that nice big screen?

I think it is bad to let TV own you. I think it is bad to let anything or anyone own you either. We should belong to God alone. If you can't own a TV without it owning you get rid of it. I think that is what Jesus was getting at when he said, "if your eye offends you pluck it out." It isn't that we need to gouge our eye our but we need to get rid of that which controls us and allows sin to take over. If you can't get online without looking at porn then cut the cord. I don't expect an alcoholic to go into a liquor store to buy the paper. It doesn't make sense for a person struggling with porn addiction to spend their time in a place full of porn.

I think it is the same with TV. If it controls you then by all means get rid of it. If you can watch an hour or so a day and spend time with God, your family, and get everything else done then veg out with the tube. Still, if your kid is developing a Barney addiction then you might want to put the TV in the closet till they are out of that phase.

5 comments:

Seda said...

My reasons?
- commercials
- I'm not willing to pay more than 20 cents a month for it.
- I've never seen news that wasn't edited and skewed to a pro-corporate viewpoint.
- boring
You're right on, Nick. TV is like a vacuum cleaner for the brain.
Can't wait to watch the Ducks play football. Go,Ducks!

Nick the Geek said...

Seda,

Thanks for the comment. For the longest time I only had over the air signals so I didn't directly pay for TV. I say directly pay because we all pay for TV even if we don't watch it because the biggest portion of TV is paid by advertising. That is eventually paid by consumers.

Common Sense said...

Interesting read "Nick the Geek"!

I must say, that while we do watch TV, my wife and I are probably one of the few people we know that only own one TV and unlike so many folks, ours sits in our living room, not our bedroom.

As a point of reference, we love spending time on our sailboat… we’ll stay out on the water for weeks at a time. By far, the most common question is: “don’t you get bored?”

No! We enjoy each other’s company, we read, we watch the world unfold around us, we watch spectacular sunrises and sunsets!

I'd suggest that, “We never did anything as a family without the TV so I divorced the TV to save my family.”, is probably the biggest “real” issue. It’s amazing to see how many families don’t even have dinner together without sitting in front of the tube!

I'll get off my soapbox in a minute, but the growing number of "Reality TV" shows is a real indicator of how many folks are exchanging their own reality for a virtual one!

So again, it’s not necessary to get rid of it, but you do need to make sure you know who is in charge!

While I’m at it, I also wanted to comment on your analogy:

“…If you can't get online without looking at porn then cut the cord. I don't expect an alcoholic to go into a liquor store to buy the paper. It doesn't make sense for a person struggling with porn addiction to spend their time in a place full of porn.”

While I certainly understand your point of view, I’d suggest that pulling the cord is not the answer. In today’s day and age, you would very quickly find a “real” excuse to bring it back.

The good that can come from this very same “cord” far outweighs the bad - your blog for example ;-)

But seriously, while my brother and I started our Managed Internet Filtering Service, My Internet Doorman, to help parents block porn (shameless plug) and protect their kids from inappropriate material on the web, we’ve found that a bit over 25% of our clients are actually adults protecting themselves. With no password to bypass the filter, they can’t give in to temptation.

Anyway, just the thoughts of a not so avid TV watcher...

Nick the Geek said...

common sense,

Thanks for taking time to read and comment.

Just a couple of things. First I agree with the problem of watching TV while eating. We did this for a while and I think that one thing is what made me decide that the TV was taking control. It isn't that I sat down and said this is how much TV is ok to watch but rather I did sit down and decide that there are times when it is not appropriate to watch TV.

Certainly anytime we are getting ready for anything the TV must be off. It is impossible to get the kids dressed and fed when they are watching TV.

When we are eating the TV is off. I am fortunate enough to work close enough to where I live that I go home and eat with my wife almost everyday. I give her my lunch break not the TV. I feel like we should eat out meals as a family and talk instead of watching TV. Studies show that watching TV while eating leads to overeating and obesity while talking while eating leads to appetite control and a healthier body.

TV is also off when bed time comes close. I like to have the TV off a half hour to an hour before the kid's bed time. This makes it easier to take care of bed time rituals and also makes it easier for them to get to sleep. Having the TV on right up to the moment of bed keeps your brain too active in all the wrong ways making it more difficult to fall to sleep and making sleep less effective.

regarding your thoughts on the internet and porn. Certainly filtering software is great. I highly recommend it. I also know that no matter how god the software is, it can be bypassed. The only surefire way would be buying internet from an ISP that has built in filters that cannot be bypassed by the client. Even then there is a balance between blocking all inappropriate content and leaving the internet useful. I have been on certain blogs and forums where there have been questionable content displayed.

If a person is completely unable to get online without finding these resources then they should walk away completely and so take control of their lives. This is the person I am referring to. Not just the person that struggles. If filtering software works for someone they don't need to cut the cord. If filtering software doesn't work and they keep falling into that temptation then they need to cut the cord to take control over their lust.

Common Sense said...

"If filtering software doesn't work and they keep falling into that temptation then they need to cut the cord to take control over their lust."

Can't argue with that...

...you may not be able to control the wind, but you can always adjust your sails..._/)

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