Television – Opiate of the masses?

What's on the box?

OK, I admit it. I enjoy watching television. Sports, news, movies and the occasional police drama. Whew, glad I got that dirty little secret out. Have you noticed when the topic of television comes up that many people will say ‘Oh the television is never on in our home’ or ‘We only watch the ABC news’.

Liar, liar pants on fire. OK, not to generalise, only about 95% of people are lying about how much television they watch. According to the ABS (2009):

99.7% of Australian homes have at least one television

68% of homes have two or more televisions

Watching TV is Australia’s most popular leisure activity

Australians watch on average 3 to 5 hours of television a day

There’s  lots of research that suggests watching television is bad for you but that’s not the purpose of this blog. Personally I hate much of the mindless programming – reality TV, half hour ‘situation’ comedies, game shows, sensationalist ‘magazine style’ shows masquerading as current affairs and news that only focuses on the negative. But that’s just me. These shows rate off the charts so somebody’s watching them.

TV is a great way to relax. It’s impossible to be ‘in the zone’ 24/7 so after a 12-hour day give yourself a break and allow yourself some downtime and a bit of escapism in a good movie or your favourite show.

Plonking down at 6.00 pm when you get home to smash through 4 or 5 hours of viewing every night certainly is not the go. Filling your head with images of murder and serial killers just before you go to bed can also make for some interesting dreams. Pick the shows that you want to watch and allow yourself the time to enjoy.

A good idea is to record the shows and watch them at a time when you can fast forward the ads. A digital recorder is relatively cheap and avoids what I consider to be the most destructive influence on TV – the ads:

–  Average ad break is now 8 to 10 commercials

– Some commercials are run twice in a ‘top and tail’ strategy

– Programs run 10 minutes over due to frequency of ad breaks

– We are bombarded with images and sounds that have an effect on us

That’s masses of useless information flying at you in a concentrated burst. In their attempt to break through the clutter of TV, marketers resort to mindless repetition and ridiculous claims.

Banks offering wonderful service that they don’t deliver on, special offers with hidden conditions, ads telling us that we’re too fat, missing out on life or that our houses are full of germs. Each message designed to elicit a response by making us feel bad about ourselves and our circumstances.

Forget world hunger, apparently the most pressing issue on the planet today is having fat, luscious lashes. I feel better now. Clearly there is a lot wrong with me but the solution is at hand for only $79.95! But wait, there’s more.

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I delve deeper into this issue. I may even wear a white coat so you know what I’m saying must be true … Y’all come back now.


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2 Responses to “Television – Opiate of the masses?”

  1. paulhassing Says:

    We just ditched our VCR and bought a hard drive. I’d heard that they transform one’s TV experience. I was sceptical, but it’s true.

    We can now blitz through ads at the speed of light. Suddenly, 30-minute programs are reduced to the 12 minutes of actual content.

    Wish we had’ve done this years ago. Best regards, P. 🙂

    • WorkLifeBankBalance Says:

      Thanks Paul, certainly a great investment and a real time saver. Sitting through the ads is enough to do your head in. It’s great to avoid that negative flow of information. For others that dont have one even muting the ads makes a big difference.

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