I have a challenge for you. Switch off your TV, unplug it from the wall and don’t turn it back on for (at least) 7 days. Have I gone mad – Perhaps!
For a while now I have been noticing the screen time in our household taking the place of other things which we would rather be doing with our time. In the evenings, a tired husband comes home from work, and after dinner, the laptop and the TV keep us both zoned out until we go to bed, leaving little room for real communication. A sleepless night followed by a wet and windy day, find myself and my toddler cooped up indoors, and the TV goes on. He skips a nap, and desperate for some downtime, I switch it on. But what a difference it makes to his mood – after staring blankly at those colourful and unnatural images, he is not calm and relaxed, but completely wired and full of pent up energy. He is more likely to shout or become angry and frustrated, and so that relaxing break I was craving is all undone while I try to bring my toddler back down to reality.
Watching TV and surfing the net have got to be two of the top ways to procrastinate and be unproductive. Writing not only gets postponed, but my brain frazzles up. If I sit down to write and get distracted by social networking and reading blogs, by the time I’m ready to write, my creativity has gone out the window. And its addictive. You turn on the TV to watch one show and before you know it, 2 hours have passed you by. You turn on the internet just to quickly check your email and you follow link after link until you are out of time. And then you look back at your day and think, what could I have achieved if I had been more proactive and concentrated on my tasks?
There are many who state that children under the age of 3 should never watch television. It has no real benefits (to any of us) and as I learned quickly with my son, it has a whole host of negatives from lack of concentration, to difficulty using his imagination and playing alone after watching TV, anger, frustration and difficulty sleeping and unwinding.
TV for the under 3’s has also been linked to a rise in obesity, learning difficulties and overall health issues. Then of course there is the inappropriate content, violence and mass advertising they are watching and absorbing.
So my friends, we have bitten the bullet. No TV for a week and once the 7 days are over, who knows how we will feel about going back to it. At the very least I hope it will push us to be more mindful in when we turn it on and give us the strength to turn it off again once we have finished watching something together.
Not only that, but since my internet usage is rapidly spiraling out of control, I have decided to limit my computer time to 2 hours for work and writing per day, and 1 hour of leisure time. Hopefully I will be able to cut the leisure time too eventually, but that is a drastic improvement on my current situation.
So how about it? Are you up to the challenge? Why not blog about it and let us know how you are getting on and what you are doing with all that free time?
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