Stop watching the screen

As parents, it’s easy for us to know why TV, social media and other screen activities are bad for our kids.

I think it’s just as devastating for ourselves. I’ve been watching TV since I was a kid.

How can you assess the damage done from all those years? I can find research and studies on the topic, but I don’t feel I need to.

I know it’s bad. Being a viewer is something ingrained in me now. And if you are one of those who claim that social media is more interactive, and you are not just a viewer – you are wrong.

Most social media users are ‘lurkers’ and not creators. Only 1% are creators.

There’s even a rule about that: “In Internet culture, the 1% rule is a rule of thumb pertaining to participation in an internet community, stating that only¬†1% of the users of a website add content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk.”

What are the results of years of content consumption?

  • You are a more passive parent
  • You are a more passive employee
  • You are a more passive spouse.

Getting more active doesn’t necessarily mean doing active things. It’s not about going to some kind of Tony Robbins course. Building a daily habit, let’s say run every day.

That won’t change the fact you are a consumer by heart and by instinct. So an hour a day, you force yourself to go to the gym. But once you are in front of the television set, or the smartphone screen, you’ll be sucked by the same old plots and dramas.

The alternative –

  • no tv
  • no social media reading (posting and commenting is fine, and even necessary for work a lot of the times)

This is not something I think should be done as a 30-day challenge, because, well, I think a decision like this is strategic by nature, and does not need ‘proof-of-concept’ or 30 day trial. It’s like if you decide to quit smoking. You’re not going to try it for 30 day, then evaluate the pros and cons.

Listen, if I hear about a show or film and it sounds like something that’s worth it, I’m going to watch it.

What do I expect from this cleanse?

Probably nothing tangible. I’m already someone who writes. I’m already someone who reads. But I think I have become too passive when it comes to living and decision-making. I want to feel more alive, more in my body. I think that this ‘experiment’ can possibly work better in getting me present in the moment, more adventurous, more inquisitive, than other methods like mindfulness, yoga or meditation.

I see how tv shows work for my little girl who is 5 years old. The plot of a show about a girl wizard is like any other show. Same dramas. Same plot lines. Girl fails test. Uses magic she got from magical owl to score high on the next test. Girl gets caught. The plot could have been written by bots.

And this is how all TV is, even good shows. Even the good shows have a problem, because they might have unique plots, but they keep you passive. When do you get off the screen and on to living? We don’t have a community nowadays. So people are either at work, doing chores, or watching content.

We don’t know how to live.

The cycle has to stop so we can live in the moment, and when I say live in the moment I mean confront day to day relationships with people in our community.

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