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What's wrong with watching too much TV?
Old 02-09-2011, 01:09 AM   #1
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What's wrong with watching too much TV?

I did not read a lot of retirement books before I retired early and lately borrowed "How to retire happy, wild and free" by Ernie J. Zelinski from the library. You see, I love watching TV and movies and was not able to do that when I was working. Now, I watch on average about 3 or 4 hours of TV/movies a day (less on golf days and none on travel days) - this amount is already considered too much per the book. Zelinksi categorised watching TV as a passive activity -"nothing more than mindless entertainment, something that can't be very satisfying." He did qualify further to say that "if our passive activities aren't complemented by active ones, we won't experience the degree of happiness we are looking for in our retirement years." Thankfully, I do have a number of active activities. I don't think I'll cut short my TV/movies hours. It is my genuine interest anyways and also there's so much to learn from TV - was just watching a documentary on Bhutan yesterday. So, do you find watching TV/movies a mindless entertainment?
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:28 AM   #2
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In my experience watching too much TV is like living a 2nd hand life instead of lifing in reality. But it also depends on the kind of TV:
Watching people interacting with others (soaps, bad movies) instead of interacting with people in my real life,
- watching other people doing sports instead of going out and moving my own body,
- watching other people travelling instead of finding a way how to expose myself to such experience, at lease in small scale,
- watching documentaries that confirm my own believes instead of those that challenge myself to explore something new to me,
- using TV constantly as background instead of turning it on when I want to watch and off when the documentary/movie is over,
would be negative for me.
However, using TV as a tool to learn something new or, like in good movies, to see things I could never (or would rather not) experince in real life is valuable.
Balance is the key IMO.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:25 AM   #3
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not me, DW and I love movies, esp the classics and since my athletic days seem to be in the rear view mirror, have another surgery coming up (arthritis), I really enjoying watching the sports I used to play on TV, cycling, golf and football are my favs.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:48 AM   #4
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All things in moderation. Too much TV and you get to be as smart as Howdy Doody. (OK, my age is showing.)

That said, I do enjoy the History channel, some movies, some documentaries, Sci-Fi, and the occasional mindless pap.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:44 AM   #5
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TV time is time you could have been doing... anything else but watch TV. Here's a perspective on that.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:16 AM   #6
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Depends on what you mean by "too much."

When I was much younger, I would watch 10-12 hours of TV a week.
These days, I probably watch 10-12 hours of TV a year, and DW thinks that's still way too much.
I also watch one or two movies a month on DVDs.

But if you enjoy it, that's really all that matters.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:21 AM   #7
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The only reason I watch tv is for the mindless pap. From HGTV to Sons of Anarchy. I like having it on when I do bead work or am on the computer. When I worked I rarely watched tv, my down time was spent reading novels. I thought tv was a waste of time. But really, what is the difference? For a child reading is better because it is developing a skill but as an adult who cares? I once made the mistake of criticizing how much tv my spouse was watching and he asked me what difference is it from all the fiction I read. I shut up. The only difference is the intrusiveness on others who do not want to watch and listen, but here are ways to deal with that issue.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:38 AM   #8
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I agree that what you do in retirement should be what you enjoy and what should it matter to someone else what that might be. I live in the midwest and the last two days have been below zero, so I watch whatever catches my eye on tv. I go to the store, or whatever else needs to be done, and then sit down and watch some tv. no doubt some of the tv is mindless drivel, but some can be entertaining. I also spend some time on the early retirement site, which is enjoyable but doesn't accomplish very much. you work all the years so that you can have the choice of what to do with the rest of the time you are alloted, it is your choice what to do with that time. sorry if my comments are redundant, as it is still below zero and I don't have much else to do.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:38 AM   #9
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The only reason I watch tv is for the mindless pap. From HGTV to Sons of Anarchy. I like having it on when I do bead work or am on the computer. When I worked I rarely watched tv, my down time was spent reading novels. I thought tv was a waste of time. But really, what is the difference? For a child reading is better because it is developing a skill but as an adult who cares? I once made the mistake of criticizing how much tv my spouse was watching and he asked me what difference is it from all the fiction I read. I shut up. The only difference is the intrusiveness on others who do not want to watch and listen, but here are ways to deal with that issue.
Oh, I love the Sons, sure hope DW doesn't see this post, she thinks I've stopped recording it......
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:41 AM   #10
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... my down time was spent reading novels. I thought tv was a waste of time. But really, what is the difference? For a child reading is better because it is developing a skill but as an adult who cares?
This always occurs to me when I hear about one of these how you should live your life books ragging on TV. Some printed fiction is much better quality than most TV, and this is perhaps better for one's soul. But, as good a novel as is Remains of the Day, is it a more meaningful experience than watching Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson experience their private agonies in the movie?

Likewise, I have read a lot of WW2 era social and military history, but when I watched The Third Reich, The Rise; and The Third Reich, The Fall, seeing all the home movies shot by ordinary Germans during this time gave me understanding I never had before.

I have the same issue with (fiction or non-fiction) reading and with TV- I tend to feel that my day has been wasted, unless I do it for a fairly small period close to the end of the day. I do not think that this is a reasonable feeling, but I doubt I am going to shake it now.

What I would definitely feel was a waste was reading what some guy (like Zelinski) thinks I should be doing with my life.

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Old 02-09-2011, 07:43 AM   #11
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I consider reading to be a better activity than TV watching, simply because it engages the imagination. When we read, even fiction, we must create images in our minds to match the words on the page. On the TV, these are already there, the interpretation of some other person. Many times we are disappointed when a favorite novel is adapted for tv or the movies, simply because it doesn't "look like" what we've imagined.
But that is my own life and my own time, not yours. If you want to sit in front of it all day...it doesn't affect my quality of life at all. But if I lived in a house with a tv watcher, it would drive me mad in short order.
I see an enormous difference in reading fiction versus watching TV, Martha--the argument was yours to win.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:48 AM   #12
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My son is 11, he's badly addicted to useless TV watching if we let him. He'd watch and play video games all day long if we let him. He's banned all week and can only watch on the weekends now. We noticed his "addiction" years ago, he still tries to slip in tv time in the morning before going to school. He'd sacrifice homework and sleep time to watch if we're not on top of him. Since we shut down his M-F tv, his grades improved. We just got his report card last night and his lowest grade was 1 B minus and mostly A's. For adults, as long as it doesn't prevent you from doing what you need to do, it doesn't matter.

Forgot to add, he struggles to read any more than minimally required. We have to push him to read more.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:03 AM   #13
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my grandaughters are addicted to ipods, iphones, computer social media. they are 17 and 18. it is truly addictive. they have there iphones with them constantly and feel if they are out of touch for even a couple of hours the world will end. I have a cell phone and only use it for incoming and sometimes a little out call. these electronic devices are the real detractant to children from their schooling.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:03 AM   #14
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Different strokes for different folks! I have a friend who watches tivo movies all the time. He also goes fishing and plays tennis. He loves meeting with people. He does not read much but he sure fills his time.

Any attempt to say he watches too much TV is met with disdain. He is doing what he wants to do in retirement!
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:04 AM   #15
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When we read, even fiction, we must create images in our minds to match the words on the page.
I've always agreed with this.

However, there are times (most evenings, actually), when I'm just too tired to read or do anything other than watch TV. It is deliciously passive.

Also, I have to get my daily dose of laughter, so we always watch at least part of (Tivo-ed) Craig Ferguson and Jay Leno. Plus the news.

I'd feel guilty if I watched during the day.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:15 AM   #16
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I see an enormous difference in reading fiction versus watching TV, Martha--the argument was yours to win.
Not really. I got my enjoyment from reading, he got his from tv. He never really was into reading fiction and how could I say he was wrong?
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:17 AM   #17
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these electronic devices are the real detractant to children from their schooling.
You have to learn to fight fire with fire.

Our oldest grandson (12) thought his grandmother's Kindle was cool, so he saved up his allowance, worked extra chores, did his research and bought himself a Nook (free library access). He loves it - and now his two younger brothers (6 and 8) are asking when they can have one. Their parents told them they'd have to prove they really liked reading before anyone would even consider letting them have one. The 8 year old "got religion" and started reading a series of kid's books, then got into a competition with a friend on who could finish the series first. Now he's really hooked on reading...

Oh, and these kids aren't nerds couch potatoes - they all play on a sports team and the oldest is also in the band.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:24 AM   #18
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My take on 'too much' is when one has no outside interests and basically no life...get up in the morning, turn on the TV and park there.

My dad had no hobbies and didn't socialize much while he was working. He is now retired and watches tv and that's about the extent of his life...drives his wife to distraction since she's constantly on the go with friends. She tries to get him to join in but he has no interest.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:25 AM   #19
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I did not read a lot of retirement books before I retired early and lately borrowed "How to retire happy, wild and free" by Ernie J. Zelinski from the library. You see, I love watching TV and movies and was not able to do that when I was working. Now, I watch on average about 3 or 4 hours of TV/movies a day (less on golf days and none on travel days) - this amount is already considered too much per the book.
I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with spending 3-4 hours a day doing something that you love to do, and were not able to do while w*rking!

I think the fear is that one would substitute the alternate reality of TV for real life, and would miss out on all the other activities and fun of retirement. TV is usually very passive and I think we all need to have at least some active participation in life. If one was missing out on life due to watching too much TV, I'd think one would start to feel a little depressed. So, if I was feeling a little depressed I might cut back on the TV and engage a little more in other aspects of life.

However, for me this is not the case. I have the TV on a lot with the "mute button" on. For me the TV is the modern equivalent of a fireplace in that I like the flickering light. I also watch TV as much as you do. I have not felt depressed, nor have I felt like my TV-watching has impinged at all on my other activities.

In fact, this afternoon I am waiting for my new 58" Samsung plasma TV to be delivered! What fun. I have been marginally surviving with a 19" LCD TV while the house was on the market, since a 19" TV would be easier to move north. It will be great to be able to actually SEE what I am watching for a change. Plans for tonight include the evening news, American Idol, and HGTV. And after that let us not forget the Wii, which usually is a relatively non-passive way in which to use a TV.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:33 AM   #20
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In fact, this afternoon I am waiting for my new 58" Samsung plasma TV to be delivered!


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