Television is a very interesting invention. As the TV’s get bigger, and the production becomes more skilled at drawing the viewer in, television can take over our lives.
Why is it that some people refer to themselves as tv addicts, or admit that they can’t control themselves from watching “one more show” repeatedly, when they want to turn it off? According to The New York Times television viewing lowers brain activity, acting as somewhat of a sedative. However, the rapid firing screens also agitates the brain so that the viewer actually feels more relaxed after the television is turned off. According to Downtown Abby, the directors use various techniques to keep the viewer engaged and to keep their focus on the television, leaving you feeling unfulfilled with an untold story so you return for more. On top of screen angles, colors, rapid movements, intense emotion complied with music, there is also that cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more. Another reason why we may spend so much time watching other’s living their lives on television, rather than living our own, is because our brains are hard wired to respond strongly to sex and violence, and thus television uses these themes, often pouring negative messages that degrade the viewer, rather than uplifting them…. hooking us in with our own strong responses.
What can we do about this? You can do something drastic like sell all your televisions and give it up for good. You can allow yourself to only watch one series at a time (but with Netflix and the internet, binge watching from cliffhanger to cliffhanger is increasingly popular). Perhaps you may decide to no longer watch series shows. For example, when you really want to watch abit of television, watch a movie that leaves you feeling satisfied and that the conclusion was found. Or watch a Law and Order… or a show that can stand on it’s own. Than you can walk away from television for days or weeks, and come back when you “feel like a good show tonight”.
Whatever brings you peace, apply that to your television viewing. If you didn’t have television what would you do instead? Walk more? Get to bed on time? Read more? Listen to more music and be more creative? Whatever works for you. First evaluate if your current viewing is working for you. If it is not, than make a plan that does.