TV and me: it’s all-out war

I have been waging war on the random viewing of TV shows for decades. How often do we turn on the TV to pass the time without even checking to see if there is anything worth watching? How often are they used as babysitters for the kids or grandkids?

I refused to allow TVs in my children’s bedrooms – or mine – and because there was only one television in the house, it actually drew us together. Sure there was some bickering, but it made us consider other options to being couch potatoes.

In my latest skirmish, we are downsizing and rebuilding. My one non-negotiable is that there cannot be a TV in the kitchen/living area. I know it’s the norm and that there are such things as fold-away TVs and cabinets where they can be shut away, but I don’t trust my partner to ever have it shut away. I want peace or music, not the tedious chatter of TV noise.

Why my vendetta? TVs are too easily turned on and not turned off often enough. They are conversation killers. They draw the eye to whatever is on, whether you are interested or not. TVs in restaurants are particularly odious. Why are they there? Bars yes, restaurants no.

My objections focus on the social rather than the health-related issues, but there are dozens of studies that throw up links to health problems.

  • Sitting down to binge watch your favourite TV shows increases your risk of dying from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and kidney disease, according to a study of 8900 adults conducted by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Researchers found that every extra hour per day spent watching television led to a 12 per cent higher risk of death linked to inflammation, including diabetes, respiratory, cognitive and kidney diseases.
  • A study from Spain found people who watched more than three hours of television a day had double the risk of premature death when compared to those who watched less than one hour per day. When they looked at other sedentary behaviours – such as driving a car and using a computer – they didn’t find the same links with early death.
  • A study titled Viewing time and reduced life expectancy concludes: “On average, every single hour of TV viewed after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.
  • The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Science reported: “Participants who watched TV for five or more hours every day were 65 per cent more likely to have a walking disability 10 years down the line, compared with their counterparts who watched TV for less than two hours every day.”

I rest my case. Talk the talk instead and if you do spend hours in front of the TV, stand up and do some basic stretches at the same time.

Apologies to people who live alone and/or in isolated circumstances.

Is your TV watching a crutch for not having the energy to do something else? Am I being selfish?

Written by Janelle Ward

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