A couple of years back when I was at uni, I was sitting in a sociology lecture and the lecturer did one of those put-up-your-hand-if-you things. Unsurprisingly, I was the only person in the whole room who didn’t have a hand in the air when he asked everyone who had a TV. The lecturer then went on to say that 98% of Australian households own a TV. I can’t say I was surprised at the statistic, given the amount of hands up in the air that day. In fact, this article says that TVs could outnumber people in Australian homes (and perhaps they already have, since that was published six years ago). My question is, who exactly will watch all the peopleless TVs? 🤔
So, when I tell people we don’t own a TV, I get a variety of reactions in response:
So what do you do before work/after work/on the weekend?
Does that mean you don’t use a computer either?
Or as Joey Tribbiani would say: What’s all your furniture pointed at? 😆
So why do I think life is so good sans television? These are the four main reasons why we are TV-free and loving it!
Less advertising. I am already bombarded by advertising everywhere I go, so I am not willing to invite even more of it into my living room. Bus shelters, billboards, taxis, buses, buildings…I feel like wherever I go, the ads go too. Every time we choose to not view an advertisement, we are opting out of the marketing ploy which creates false needs in consumers and encourages us to spend our money on useless, wasteful items that will end up in landfill.
Screen time that is more intentional (and less of it). Obviously there are devices with screens in our house, but a TV not being one of them makes me more conscious of how I am spending my screen time. When I open a browser instead of hitting the ‘on’ button, I have to intentionally choose what will I watch, read or listen to. When you need to actually seek out content rather than just watching ‘whatever’s on’, you have a far better chance of consuming quality media that is interesting and engaging rather than just lots of it.
More interaction. The less time we spend staring at screens, the more time we have to spend investing in relationships and building meaningful connections with our communities.
More reality. Celebrity gossip, scripted ‘reality’ shows, popularity contests…the message is always along the same lines: being rich, popular and thin will get you far. Well, maybe onto The Bachelor anyway 😉 (Just what I always wanted to be: a concubine!)
So here’s another kind of response that I get (…sometimes) when I say I don’t have a TV:
Hey, that’s interesting!
I’d love to get rid of mine.
Good idea! My partner/housemate/gerbil watches way too much TV!
While the TVs in the Western world continue to outnumber their square-eyed owners, there’s a subtle shift happening below the surface. There are plenty of people out there who have become overwhelmed by our hyper-connected, hyper-stimulated society and feel the need to reach out to more tangible things, things that are grounded in reality and time, like relationships, experiences and communities. And just knowing that I’m not alone on this one makes me happy.
What’s your relationship to TV and digital media like? How do you deal with the screen time issue?
Thank you for reading!