watching tv

Do We Hide Behind Technology?

Well I had a big long business related post written up for today but if you feel anywhere near as tired as I do then I think you’ll agree something a little less mentally taxing is in order! Fortunately I read a great post today by Jason over at Work Save Live which reminded me of a conversation I once had with my Dad about technology. In Jason’s post he related a story about a group of kids who were sent on a camping trip together but weren’t allowed to take any technology along with them, no easy task for the kids of today!

Like most people reading the post I was expecting a story that showed how when technology is taken away from kids they become more interactive, loving, well mannered and more importantly happier kids! Was that the case? Unfortunately not. What actually happened is that once the technology had been taken away from these kids, they suddenly began to think a lot more about the problems in their life, in their home situation and with their peers. As I’ve said already this story reminded me of a conversation I once had with my Dad about the effects of technology on our lives.

Getting Rid Of The TV

A few years ago when my wife and didn’t have children we made a decision that to the outside world might have seemed a bit crazy, we decided to get rid of our TV! I know it sounds crazy but we felt we were spending so much time staring at the box that it was literally wasting our lives away. Although it was a bit of a shock to the system at first it did have a positive effect on our lives. We began to take up more hobbies, we went out for more walks together and most importantly we spent more time talking! It’s amazing how much you learn about your partner when you take the time to talk.

We found that our quality of life improved dramatically when we didn’t have a TV to consume our minds and became used to living without one.

Dad Comes To Stay 

Because we had become used to life without a television we were a little taken aback by the reaction to our decision when my Father came to stay. At first everything was fine and for a few hours we sat down, talked and had a coffee or two. Then 7 o’clock came, prime-time TV! Up until this point my dad didn’t really notice that the television wasn’t on (It was still in the room to watch the odd DVD) but when the time arrived for his regular Saturday night programming we had to break the news, we no longer held a television license. I wish I’d had a camera to capture the look of shock, disbelief and mild distress on his face! The news did not go down well.

The Debate Ensues 

I don’t want to bore you with every single aspect of the debate that consumed the next hour of our lives regarding the positive and negative effects of having a television, but one point did stand out more than all the others. It arose when I mentioned that not having a television had given my wife and I much more time to talk to each other, giving us a chance to better understand one another and also iron out some of our grievances. What was his response? Some things are better left unsaid!

Now to some extent I can understand where he’s coming from and the experience Jason gave in his article today shows that stepping away from technology for a while definitely has the potential to cause more short term harm than good. In the long run though is this not quite a worrying thought? Are we all unknowingly hiding behind technology and leaving important issues in our life unresolved, not talking about them or tackling them until one day we blow up inside?

I’m No Role Model

I’m certainly not professing to be a role model in this area. As a family we now have a television again but I know if I ever feel it’s taking over my life again, I have the ability to live without it, not sure if the kids will agree. I’m also sat here writing this post on my laptop, another time drainer. It’s tough to get away from technology in this world, many people couldn’t make a living without it, but is technology interfering too much with normal human interaction and will our lack of dialogue with those whom we love one day come back to bite us?

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10 Responses to Do We Hide Behind Technology?

  1. When I read this it reminded me of a conversation I had with mates of ours who have no cable but they have a tele to watch movies. When I asked why, they said the exact same thing you did. They don’t want to be stuck in front of the box.They do more as a family, keep active, talk, play with the kids etc. I thought, wow, impressive. Although we have cable we don’t watch much tv around here and have thought of getting rid of it as well. We’re not sure what way we will go. Do we hide behind technology, heck yes, so many people do, our faces are buried in it. It’s like our twin and without it half our world is missing. This only happens, if we let it happen though. We are ultimately in charge of how we chose to live our life, just like you both chose to shut down the tele. I chose not to own a cell phone… Mrs.CBB and I said the other day, wow, life used to be so simple until the internet and all this technology came around. It’s true, there was so much time to do all the things I wanted. One day I hope to be back in that place where life was just that, simple.
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..Becoming a Single Homeowner – Part 1 “The Plan”My Profile

    • The irony is most of the technology we have has been developed to make life simpler but actually it’s done just the opposite. We sometimes have a week or two without the TV if we think it’s taking over again. Thanks for the heartfelt comment Mr.CBB!

  2. Jose says:

    I love the twisted Irony in your post. Didn’t you see it? The kids are depriving the parent of television and the parent is upset! :D I love it!\
    Jose recently posted..Tribute to a Coupon QueenMy Profile

  3. Its funny how we have two tvs in the household, but they rarely get used because we are so busy with work, doing stuff around the house and other extra curricular activities. We don’t have cable, just Netflix.

    People say there are a lot of good shows on television, but I don’t really believe that. I feel the majority is garbage and reality shows, which don’t get me wrong, is great for turning off the mind and indulging in that guilty pleasure. But I don’t feel there’s enough out there for us to invest in cable.
    MakintheBacon$ recently posted..GUEST POST: Worst 10 Reasons Why Investors Don’t Trust Women In FinanceMy Profile

    • It makes a difference not having the option to just flick from channel to channel. When we only used our TV for movies it wasn’t on half as much, when you have all those unnecessary channels on hand you end up watching a load of rubbish and the day has gone before you know it. Thanks for the comment Makin The Bacon!

  4. This is why my wife and I are avid hikers. These trips are the best chance to turn off and just talk. We have some great conversations when we are on a hiking trip.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Weekly Personal Finance Blog RoundUp – Some Changes ComingMy Profile

    • We havn’t been on as many long walks this year because the weather has been awful and we have young kids. It’s definately something I want to get back to doing though, nature is one big talking point and I have some great memories of the times we’ve spent out in the countryside.

  5. Darren says:

    I’ve started exercising more frequently and reading more as a result of watching less TV. Because I work from home it’s tempting to switch the TV on whenever I like but I do not. I have the TV on in the evenings sometimes but more often than not I end up muting it so I can concentrate on something else.

    Staying off Facebook is one of my latest breakthroughs. It’s strange to think that at one time I checked it every day! I’ve been off it for about 6 weeks, only logging in to update my business pages.

    Overall, I still rely on technology but not the kind that rots my brain. I enjoy personal growth podcasts/audiobooks on my mp3 player while working. I find that so much rewarding than lazily gawping at the TV.
    Darren recently posted..A Broker Checklist for any Forex TraderMy Profile

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