In a previous post, I blogged about ongoing research into the impact of TV on children’s creativity in school. While it is possible that a link will be found between the way that TV keeps our brains off the “default network” – the state of mind where ideas and new mental links are created – there is a more obvious downside to watching TV.
The average person (UK figures) watches between 2 and 3 hours of TV a day. That’s about 17 hours a week. 17 hours that could be used for physical exercise, learning a new skill, starting a side business, or spending quality time with loved ones.
Just one problem; there are some really great shows out there. I am a huge fan of programs like Mad Men, The Wire, and Weeds. TV shows ust seem to be better written than ever at the moment.
We are trying to reduce our TV viewing and we have found that one of the most effective ways to do that is to record programs or use DVD sets/downloads of series we like. It can be difficult to get young children in front of the TV to limit themselves to only one show. Every kids’ program on the Disney Channel seems to be punctuated with ten minutes of advertisements and clips of what is on next.
With a DVD or recording, my girls can watch an episode of their show without interruption. The best thing is that once a program is over, it is over; there are no cries of “Just five more minutes!” like I get when they are watching cable TV.
We have bargained the girls down to a reasonable 30 minutes TV time per day now, which fits in quite well with their other activities. As a result, my eldest daughter’s school work is coming along in leaps and bounds and she is far more likely to read, draw, surf the net, or write a story in her evenings. My wife and I are down to an hour a day but I think there is still room for improvement.