Monday, April 02, 2012

Time to Change

I'd be lying if I said I was never ever addicted to TV. I recall being addicted to humorous serials, cartoons, adventure stories, and the weekly movie watch etc. Actually, I suspect I was more addicted to advertisements than the TV programs themselves, while I was in school. I have no reliable data on approximately how many hours of TV I got to watch every day but I think it was rationed and regulated to a large extent. Even otherwise, there weren't as many channels or even 24-hour channels, those days (Gasp! I must be older than I'd care to admit). 

Ask me what I think of TV now and my expression might be a honest and funny blend of disgust, irritation, sarcasm, exhaustion, anger and what not. I am truly the happiest when the TV is switched off (which normally means the house is silent and serene). I'd rather sit and read a nice book whilst eavesdropping on chirpy conversations between the neighborhood's birds or listening to the music of the breeze on the trees. I might watch an occasional cartoon or a nature/science program during the weekend, a nicely done low-drama musical contest or show and a rare good movie (if I happen to somehow know it is being aired or accidentally discover it). But my intention is to not watch more than a few hours of TV every week (let's say 7-8 hours a week). 

Intuitively, I am irrevocably convinced that watching a lot of TV is a miserable and dangerous habit for one's mental, spiritual and physical well-being. It distracts us from so many good and important things in life, reduces us to mute (or excited) spectators of many events, encourages us to be lazy, slows down our mental processes in many ways and fires our negative imagination more often than not (going by the types of serials and reality shows that are aired).  Even though the previous sentence may sound like I put the blame on TV and not ourselves, the undeniable truth is that it is up to us to not let TV dictate to our lives.

My biggest worry though is not so much the TV-watching habits of adults but the early onset of the habit in children. We're obviously robbing them of their wonderful lives by introducing them to the Idiot box and then "leading" by example. Think of families where there is minimum interaction between the adults and the children and all they do together is watch TV. Think of families which only have a debate or discussion when they need to decide which channel or program to watch. Think of families which know little about the real world around them but believe that the sensationalized and dramatically presented programs they watch on TV is what is real. Think of families that quite often collectively sacrifice silence, reading, music, playing a sport or game, pursuing an art, exercise and intimacy with nature and animals for their favorite TV programs. Think of what the children in such families are missing because of their biggest attraction and focus being TV. 

It's been discovered by many researchers that children who watch a lot of TV are more susceptible to attention deficit disorders. Children who lose their ability to concentrate and ability to think on their own because of being fed to the teeth with commercially motivated and deliberately packaged opinions in the form of advertisements and TV serials have obviously lost many things in their lives. Children who are unable to turn away from what is being fed to them and introspect in order to find their own version of truth and come to their own conclusions on how they want to lead their lives are, of course, not getting it right. If that's not a sad thing, I don't know a sad thing when I come across one. 
Source: Internet. (No copyrights were attached to the image)
This picture above winds (pun intended) it up for me quite well. It is time to change. It is time to stop watching so much TV. It is time to stop leading children into the mucky and deceptive whirlpool called TV. It is time to intelligently choose what to watch and not let our children's creative and energetic brains die a sad and early death. It is time to shape the future of our children, country and world by introducing them to different dimensions of the real world.

Note: This post has been written and submitted to the "Time to Change" contest on IndiBlogger -


Jay said...

Families that sit down and have dinner together; families that debate regularly – where everyone has a different opinion & everyone has an equal right to speak; families that love reading, music, and playing sports – from all kind of racquet sports to sports like Golf to board games to just plain going for a walk together; families that are intimate with nature and animals; families where the idiot box doesn't rule ‘together time’ - are called ‘weird’ by the Indian society. I can vouch for it :)

I've read a lot of people fantasize about families such as these, and i've heard people claim to have families like them too. What’s important is to actually practice it. Parents need to make a choice early on, on what kind of a family they want to build. One of the reasons why India is in the mess that it is (and it’s just my opinion – i needn't be right), is because parents have decided to do just the opposite and be ‘normal’.

I once asked my dad why our family was so different. He said, "Son, it all boils down to the choices we make."

I don't know if he was right, and i refuse to say if my folks had got the formula correct. Because it would be presumptuous of me to say so...

shazia m said...

I can fully understand. I hate the serials especially. dont know what will become of the tv watchong generation.
you are right in saying that tv watching disables thinking power especially within small kids.
most of us use the tv as artificial baby sitters and introduce the tv to toddlers so that we have our hands off them for some time, not realising the long term ill effects
you have raised a valid though neglected issue.

Nimmy said...

I can't help but say that I've missed listening to the wit and wisdom that pours from your mind. I am extremely happy to not just see that you've left a comment but also happy to see the contents of your comment.

I'd love India to have plenty of 'weird' families. Pretty please. I fantasize about them too. If you believe me, I am convinced your thinking is unique, introspective, intriguing and meticulous because of the choices your family has made!

Nimmy said...

Shazia: Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Let's start a "I hate the serials" campaign. :-) As you very rightly point out, I have noticed how desperate (or incapable?) mothers turn to the TV in order to 'manage' their children and get some time off.

Nimmy said...

PS: My blogger comment notifications no longer seem to drop into my inbox. Pardon the delay in noticing your comments/feedback. :-/

Sammy said...

Nicely written
Well done yaar..cheers for the article :).
Also Check out mine.Give your comment on it.
Are Hijra's(TransGender) not a Human being.?

KayEm said...

It is up to parents to take the kids away from TV for a little while each day. No easy task as it'd have to be something more exciting than their favourite program. A list of possible activities is what would be most useful. Taping their favourite program for later would be a good start. Picnics, hobbies, gardening, getting together with kids in the neightbourhood, organise a play or a concert for the grownups... How wonderful if they'd be taught young to volunteer a little of their time for a cause.

Nimmy said...

Thanks, KayEm! Agree with you!