When I was growing up, my family never had cable and didn’t get a DVD player until I was in high school. We rarely watched TV and if we did it was usually the morning and nightly news. To this day, we still don’t have a TV in our living room or in any of our rooms. I thought this was normal until I came to Radford University.
My roommate and I didn’t have a TV in our room our freshman year and everyone in our hall thought we were crazy. When I got my first apartment, I didn’t get a cable subscription and my friends also thought I was crazy. When I said I didn’t particularly want to get cable for our apartment this year, I was quickly overruled. I never realized how obsessed Americans, especially young people, are with TV.
According to the FCC, the average child has spent the equivalent of three school years in front of a TV before they enter first grade. By 18, an average American child will have watched more than 10,000 hours of television—an entire year and 51 days.
Am I the only person who’s disturbed by these statistics?
My friends have always teased me for not seeing as many movies or TV shows as they have. I was always the “lame” one who never saw anything. “Star Wars”? Never seen it. “Casablanca”? Never seen it. “Lord of the Rings”? Not interested. “Jersey Shore”? You couldn’t pay me to see it. I guess this makes me “lame.”
My friends ask me, if I didn’t have cable growing up, what did I do with all of that time? I read books and newspapers. I spent time outside. I did arts and crafts. I carried on conversations with other people. I went out and lived my life instead of watching other people’s lives through their fake storylines. My parents believe that TV dumbs us down and there are much better ways to spend our time, and I’d have to agree. After reading the FCC statistics, I have to wonder how much children miss out on because they are too busy watching TV.
Now that I’m on my own and I get to call the shots, I will admit that I watch more TV than I used to. But that doesn’t mean that I sit around and watch it as much as the average person does. Sometimes when my brain is fried and I’m trying to relax, I’ll turn on the tube for some background noise. I have a Hulu account so that I can track the shows I do watch. But I also make sure that I buy a newspaper at least once a week and follow the news online.
I think it’s more important to follow actual news rather than fictional or “reality” news. I try to carry on conversations with some of my classmates about current events, and I’m sad to say that many of them can’t keep up. I won’t apologize for knowing the names of the Republican presidential candidates instead of the “Jersey Shore” cast.
Who’s the lame one now?