Going cold turkey on TV

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It’s been two weeks since I decided to pull the plug on the telly.  I know, I know, sounds drastic…draconian, even – especially for a PR consultant, for goodness sake.

smashed-tvSo why did I do it? I’d finally got round to reading Remotely Controlled: How Television is Damaging Our Lives by Dr. Aric Sigman. It’s a terrifying exposé of the scientifically proven effects of watching the box.  I’d always felt slightly queasy at seeing my boys slumped, slack-jawed and glassy-eyed in front of back-to-back Simpsons.  Or my daughter, nose touching the screen, clamouring for more Peppa Pig.   But, we’d always watched TV as kids ourselves…so what could be so bad, right?  Well, lots actually.  I won’t go into the results of Sigman’s research here, but would recommend everyone to read up for themselves. They’re pretty shocking.

How to break it to the kids? I softened the blow by presenting them with a boot load of new Lego. Then tagged on nonchalantly that we wouldn’t be watching as much TV from now on. The boys looked incredulous, then crestfallen, then got stuck into the Lego.  After an initial barnstorming tantrum, the three-year-old was easier to handle. She bought the old ‘TV’s broken, man coming to fix it’ story, and enquires – though with decreasing regularity – as to when he is coming round.

And me? A fully paid up X Factor fan?  Would I really be able to tear myself away from Simon, Cheryl et al mid-series?  Actually, it was surprisingly easy. Funnily enough, with a bit of distance, I finally saw right through the smug manipulation of viewers, not to mention the obscene self-promotion.  And it’s been quite a relief not to panic about finding time to catch up on watching both shows if I’ve been out.  And that’s another thing: planning a social calendar around the X Factor didn’t leave too much room for socialising.

So have I given up TV completely? Nah. We’ll still be tuning in regularly to anything I’d class as decent viewing, and will no doubt watch the X Factor final, plus lots over Christmas.  What we will be, though, is a good deal more selective – there’s a lot that’s worth watching, but more that’s not.  The media, in all its forms, is my profession so, as long as I’m working in PR, the TV stays.  But the box has most definitely been put back in its box.