Life without a TV (still)

I just read about my friend Mark’s decision to unplug the TV and Roald Dahl’s hatred of the box in this excellent poem and so I decided to put a few more thoughts down on life without a TV seven months on.

So the World Cup has just finished and of the total 64 possible I watched just 3 (two England matches and the final). Four years ago I watched more than that live in the stadiums let alone on TV and you know what, I don’t think I’ve missed anything. I watched the highlights on iPlayer and saw all the goals and read the reports, so my football interests were satisfied.

But I wasn’t caught up in the hype, I didn’t see a single advert, I wasn’t consumed by something that lasted a mere month. I think it helped with a bit of perspective which TV can skew so easily, the world is shaped by what we see, by what we react to on the TV as much as anything else. I don’t miss the TV and I’m glad that at the age of two my son still isn’t really aware of the existence of a TV.

To be honest I still live too much of my life in front of a screen but it’s down to just one screen now. I’m not wasting time on consoles (if you’re a parent you can scare yourself by reading this article and seeing the pictures! pdf) and we don’t have a TV any longer.

The battle is now with the laptop, to controlling the urge to check emails just before going to bed (how pointless is that?) or read the news headlines constantly. I’m resorting to strong measures (I’m using this programme) to help me focus and shift my energies into more worthwhile and enjoyable things.

Screens are everywhere now, life is mediated through a screen, and I’m becoming aware that for myself this technology is a great servant and a terrible master. I prefer real freedom and real life rather than the sort I see on TV.

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