Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Netflix: The New National Pastime

The sights and smells of Yankee Stadium filled with 50,000 screaming fans still lures. It’s live and you’re part of the moment, but millions more watch on TV. I am sure more Americans watch Netflix than baseball today. If our telephones are now smart, how intelligent are televisions. There are hundreds of channels providing hundreds of programs and movies on demand. We curl up in comfort with our beverage of choice and watch and watch and watch. Is this a good thing?

  • The average American over the age of 2 spends more than 34 hours a week watching live television, plus another three to six hours watching taped programs.
  • Watching shows from DVRs has doubled, and 36 million, more or less, are watching some video on smartphones.
  • The average adult watches 5 hours of TV per day:  maybe a little news, Sports Center, American Idol and a movie.
  • Americans over age 65 average 48 hours a week of TV viewing, nearly seven hours a day.
  • The average person spends more than four hours a week trolling the Internet on a computer and that number rises to more than seven hours for people 35 to 49.

What about the kid’s homework, dinner, family time? Don’t forget to walk the dog.

  • Children 2-11 watch an average of 24 hours of TV a week, or 31/2 hours a day. (Kids 2-5 watch closer to 30 hours a week).
  • Teens, ages 12-17 watch 22 hours.
  • 18-24s watch 25 hours a week.

Reports suggest kids spend more time with their “media” than they do with their mommies.  While time is spent at home, it isn’t spent on doing homework. Are our kids getting any smarter or better or just media clever and overweight?

I’m mad as hell and I’m going to throw my TV out the window. Okay, Okay, I got carried away. I can’t throw my TV away, or my Blackberry or my iPad any more than I want to move to a commune. I’ve got Marvin Gaye and Tammie Tyrell and 10,000 songs whenever I want. I’ve got Casa Blanca, All About Eve and Independence Day at the touch of a button. I’ve got 12,000 archived email messages . . .

But I learned a very valuable lesson from my son when he was 13. The Simpsons were at their heyday and I refused to ever allow it to be watched in the “family” room so as I reached for the remote to change the channel my son who had been watching TV with me got up to leave.  I asked him where he was going. He said to his room to watch the Simpsons and do 300 pushups.

It sounded like some sort of weird penance so I asked him why. He said, “I like the Simpsons. You won’t let me watch them here so I watch it in my room and every commercial I do thirty pushups”. Now I knew it was a weird penance so I asked him why. He said, “I can watch what I want and do what want.” I asked how long had this been going on and he said since he played Pop Warner football.  At 9/10 he was small and thin and our parental compromise was he do 10 pushups every day for a week before summer training camp to make himself stronger (and to demonstrate his commitment). He never stopped doing pushups, now he was up to 300 every other night (and connected to the Simpsons).

There is life with media but integration is unique and necessary for personal development. Five hours watching TV a night, without structure, doesn’t make you better, faster, stronger smarter, richer or sexier. Motion Picture is an oxymoron. So is Reality TV. And Netflix is . . .

Filed under: Community Green

One Response

  1. friendsofbrookpark says:

    All that artificial turf around the empty parking lot there sure smells like tv:-)


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