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And So We Disconnect

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Aug. 17, 2015
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The demand for electric outlets in my room is high because there is always a tablet, mp3 player, or any random lithium-powered gadget lying around that needs charging. My desktop workstation drains the most energy and there is a tangled sea of snake-like cords lurking under my desk around my feet. On Friday evening, faced with the lack of a free outlet, I made the decision to unplug the television set.

I have nothing against television except for the extremely bright glare in the middle of the night that makes falling asleep difficult, the constant barrage of commercials that pop up at the best parts of every show, and the idea that entire days can pass by while clicking through channels aimlessly searching for a show that is interesting enough to hold my attention for half an hour. Immediately after disconnecting my television, I started getting story ideas for webcomics that have not been written, I started reading more books, completing unfinished projects, and taking longer walks in nature. It was as if my free time was not being funneled away in front of the TV.

In my lifetime, our dependency on electronics has risen. I have been on at least one road trip where a person forgot their cell phone and forced the driver to turn the car around for their phone. I used to ride buses where every single rider had an eBook reader or a tablet in their hands making the best use of their commute. There were moments in the college dorms when the Internet would be temporarily down and every social hermit would poke their head out into the hallway like a ground hog peeking out of its hole to see if everyone was without Internet. The best part of the lack of Internet was that it would get people out of their rooms and into the common areas to study or socialize. Our digital devices have created a culture where we are much more engaged with our touch screens and less invested in our actual surroundings.

I am very happy with the decision to reduce the amount of television in my life. My mind needs a break from the constant background noise. Next week should be a productive week since I just finished reading a book before writing this article and will start a new one before I fall asleep.


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anonymous?

Abt_Nihil at 3:18AM, Aug. 18, 2015

Funny you should say that! I actually lost interest and stopped watching TV shows around 2000 (save for anime), and it took some convincing for me to give them another try a few years later -- just because I couldn't believe TV would get as good as it has become during the past few years. Quality stuff like House of Cards or True Detective would have been absolutely unthinkable when I was growing up... so there's no way I can miss shows like these now.

usedbooks at 3:12PM, Aug. 17, 2015

Me too, Bravo. I've always watched older shows, never what the current stuff is. I grew up on Nick@Nite. All my DVDs are "classics" or very specific types of anime (and now I'm loving the additional classics series on Netflix). My parents gave me the entire Get Smart box set for college graduation. The only modern stuff I like is select animated series.

bravo1102 at 3:00PM, Aug. 17, 2015

The wife and I disconnected the cable more than ten years ago. We used to only watch DVDs and videos but now even that has stopped. Now I only watch TV shows I've downloaded on my laptop while at work to pass the time. And that is mainly because I got sick and tired of all this "must see" TV I had been missing out on. Outside of a few notable exceptions I quickly discovered that it had been worth missing anyway. So I hunted down old TV shows that I remembered and found them so much more satisfying. I can live without "Breaking Bad" but not "Twilight Zone"

ozoneocean at 9:02AM, Aug. 17, 2015

The bad side of the net for me is that it makes me too busy and hen it doesn't the amount of distraction that social networking provides takes up time that I could be using to draw. :(

usedbooks at 8:22AM, Aug. 17, 2015

When I'm can't access electronics, I read books and write on notebook paper. Not a big deal. I miss human interaction when without internet. Basically, the only reason I have any socializing is because of the internet. Without it, I don't/wouldn't get out and talk to or meet people more. I've been without internet, I just fold further into my own world and socialize with fictional characters in my head.

kawaiidaigakusei at 5:45AM, Aug. 17, 2015

Lovely, lovely responses! I managed to get through middle and high school without television and never had a TV or subscribed to cable while living in apartments. The Internet takes up way more time than a television ever has, but the Internet is more interactive and it allows me to read more.

KimLuster at 4:58AM, Aug. 17, 2015

Several years ago we went about a year with no TV and no Internet - it was actually a wonderful year: so much talking, playing scrabble, putting puzzles together...! While I think I'd go into DTs if I lost the net right now, I do know we lose... We spend lots of time outside away from everything, but we're really just as plugged in as everyone else!

usedbooks at 4:14AM, Aug. 17, 2015

I have to have the background noise while I work. I needed it in college to study too. I'm a creature of habit. But in my nomadic life, cable makes no sense. I have a PS3 to access Netflix/Hulu/Youtube when I have good wifi and a cherished DVD collection for when I don't (several hundred hours work of Detective Conan and 5+ full series of other favorites is plenty to keep up the comfortable and familiar ambiance).

Abt_Nihil at 3:48AM, Aug. 17, 2015

The good part is, I stopped watching regular TV when I moved out of my parent's home (although I do watch a lot of films and shows on my TV set). The bad part is, I get antsy whenever the internet connection doesn't work at home. As far as I know, TV doesn't play a role in the lives of most people my age anyway, but the internet has more than made up for that in draining their/our time.

Gunwallace at 12:33AM, Aug. 17, 2015

We reduced the amount of television in our lives by having kids.


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