Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life After TV

It seems, lately, I've seen a few people commenting on their blogs that they didn't have a TV when they were growing up. I didn't have a TV while I was growing up either. So, then, of course, I started wondering if not having a TV in the home creates better readers. Cause you know me, I over analyse everything. ;)

I'm not saying I didn't watch TV as a kid. I would spend huge amounts of time at my friends house just so I COULD watch TV. And when I was about 17-18 I bought a TV and began watching even more ridiculous amounts of it. I still watch anywhere from 9-18 hours a week. Eeek! Scary.

The funny thing is, yes, I watch more TV as an adult then I did as a kid, because of availability, but I also read more as an adult too. So, I'm not sure NOT having a TV made a difference with me, but since I didn't have a TV how can I really know? "They" have done research and found that kids who watch TV have shorter attention spans so who knows.



So, I present the question to you. Did you have a TV as a kid? Did it effect your reading as a kid or, now, as an adult? And either way, do you have a opinion about whether TV watching affects our reading ability?

52 comments:

  1. Interesting post! We definitely had a TV while I was growing up, and I watched way too much! But the thing was...there wasn't all that much available.

    There were cartoons for an hour or so after school and on Saturday mornings, but that was it. There were silly shows like Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, but no Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network to tempt me.

    I think I've always read, as I remember constantly going to my school library. Seem to read a whole lot more now, but don't think TV influenced me for good or bad. Will be curious to see what others think!

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    1. Yeah, TV was quite different when I was a kid too.

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  2. We did have a TV growing up and I watched my fair share BUT I read more! We had 1 TV but we had shelves and shelves of books and Mom took us to the library at least once a week. My own kids were raised with a TV (or two) as well and I have 3 that read LOTS and 1 that doesn't really read much at all (she is also the one that doesn't watch TV). So I'm thinking TV had little to do with our reading habits. Good topic!

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    1. Sorry! I just saw that you're comment somehow got put in my spam. Anywho, thanks for weighing in. I'm thinking the internet is the bigger culprit nowadays.

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  3. Heck yea I had television! I was a latchkey kid starting in about the 7th grade, so the tv was always on. My mom and I watched a lot of movies together too, so there's that.

    Can't say for certain, but I think I watch less television now than I did then. I really stopped watching in college, when I was just too busy. If anything, these days I watch more Netflix than actual television.

    I read more than I did in college, but probably less than I did when I was a kid. You just don't have all that free time as an adult. :(

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    1. Yeah, it's hard to squeeze in all the TV watching and reading and being an adult. Ah, to be a kid again.

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  4. I had a TV growing up back in the 80's and watched a lot more TV back then than I do now. I also read way more than I did back then. But, I didn't replace TV with reading. I feel I replaced TV with the internet because I spend inordinate amounts of time on it (like right now, for example). But, still I manage to read a lot because I just make the time for it.

    I don't know if TV affects reading ability, or attention spans because I've always watched TV, so I don't know what I'd be like having never watched it before. All I wonder is why anyone would believe TV would shorten a person's attention span.

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    1. Funny that you should say the internet has taken over TV time. I saw a funny little comic that said, "Everyday, 49 episodes of Law & Order go unwatched due to the great distraction known as the internet. Stop looking at the internet. The TV is counting on you." Well, I found it amusing, anyway.

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  5. Great topic! :P
    Anyway, I have a TV, but I never really watch it. I used to be a TV junkie, but I guess it's not my thing anymore. The only thing I really watch is shows that I have to watch (which is only like 2 or 3) or the NHL when it is hockey season.
    I think the main reason why I was TV junkie was because of boredom, but now that I this wonderful thing called a book, I don't watch it anymore.

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    1. Wow, I'm impressed. I can't seem to get over my addiction. At least I manage to read as well. ;)

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  6. We had a TV the whole time I was growing up, but we didn't have cable most of the time. My brother and I would watch TV after school, but we both read a lot. My parents made reading a bonus, as our bedtime would be set, and then, if we read, we could keep our lights on for another 30 minutes. And we're both readers!

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    1. Sounds like good parenting to me! I remember reading before bed to. So nice!

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  7. Great topic Jen! We had a TV, but what we watched was closely regulated. Usually just the actual kids programmes afterschool and on saturdays. We didn't have tvs in our bedrooms and we weren't allowed to watch anything that was on past 9pm (this didn't stop until I was about 13). I'm a big reader, but neither of my siblings are.
    I don't think it's the TV that stops kids reading, I think it's the TV REPLACING reading. If parents substitute television-watching for reading then I can see why kids wouldn't grow up to be readers....but some people just aren't readers anyway. My brother sister and me were all read to as children and all bought books. my brother just doesn't read at all and my sister reads VERY lightly (like a book a month). They both do watch TV but honestly, I probably watch more TV than they do.

    Great post Jenny, really interesting question!

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    1. Yeah, I'm surprised I enjoy reading and spend as much time reading as I do. Cause the TV watching can get out of control.

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  8. We had a TV but not cable so I spent most of my high school years at a friends house every day to watch MTV (you know, back when they actually played music videos). When I went to college we had free cable and I am ashamed to admit it but I think I hardly read at all because there was so much to watch on TV. After the newness wore off I was a bit more balanced. I watch more TV now than I did in high school but my reading is about the same.

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    1. It seems like I go through phases. Sometimes I hardly read at all and watch tons of TV and sometimes I read all the time and hardly every even turn on the TV. I wonder why, though.

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  9. Interesting... I never really put much thought into this. I watched TV a decent amount when I was a kid, not a lot, but we had a TV and I could watch cartoons and VHS tapes of Disney movies. But I did read a lot too. So I'm not sure if I'm the exception to 'their' studies or what, lol.

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    1. Yeah, it looks like most of us our exceptions. I guess there are people it may have effected but, thankfully, not me.

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  10. Yup, in fact I was one of the few kids in my class to have a tv in my room. Mostly I used it to stay up late and watch Moonlighting. I actually has dyslexia that I was lucky to get diagnosed in the first grade. My parents, my dad in particular, were book lovers. There were books everywhere in my house. Once I discovered that reading could be fun, and not just hard work, then nothing, not even the distraction of tv could get me to stop reading. When my mom had to go help my grandparents when they got ill, my dad and I spent a lot of time together, mostly at restaurants, where we would read our books while waiting for food, and we listened to audio books on the way up to visit mom on the weekends. I read more now, and watch tv slightly less than I did, but I think that's also because it's easier to catch shows On Demand or dvr them, so they no longer interfere with a good book!

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    1. Yeah, thank goodness for technology. I'm glad the dyslexia hasn't stopped you from being a reader. Sounds like you had great parents!

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  11. We had a TV when I was younger, but I don't think having the TV really affected my reading. Mostly because my mom didn't let us watch movies or TV except on Wednesdays and Fridays. I think it was trying not to get behind in high school and college that made me into a not so huge reader now. When I was going to high school and college, if I found a good book, all I wanted to do was read it and do nothing else, and that would lead to getting behind on homework. So in order not to distract myself from school work, I stopped reading fun books. My husband is a big reader though, so my reading habits will probably change.

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    1. That's cool that Erick is a reader. I didn't know that. I hope he gets you back to it. ;)

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  12. I did watch TV as a kid. I don't necessarily think it affected my reading. I just didn't like to read; it hurt my eyes and my head. Plus, I could never get into the books that were assigned at school.

    Now that I'm an adult, I watch much less TV. But, that's because of time constraints. If I'm in a total veg mode, then TV does affect my reading because it's much easier to do and takes less effort.

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    1. Yeah, I know all about veg mode. ;) And Zelda can be a huge distraction too.

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  13. I had no tv growing up and so my first year of college I watched a ton of tv. Heck, reruns were all new to me, but by my second year of college I could hardly stand to watch any tv because it felt like such a waste of time. But I love to read because Mom and everyone loves reading and that is what she would have us do when we were bored. My oldest daughter loooooves to read and we didn't have a tv while she was really little. I think it actually helped me to read with her when she was bored and now it is so much easier to stick my kids in front of a show than read to them. Sigh. I just think kids need to be exposed to parents who love to read and books that are enjoyable to them and they will most likely enjoy reading, especially with all of the new technology that allows you to carry a library around with you in your pocket.

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    1. I agree. Seeing mom always reading sure helped me.

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  14. I did have a TV growing up, but because my parents and I lived with my grandparents we always had to watch what my grandad wanted to watch. So I didn't really spend a huge amount of time sat in front of the TV.

    I probably started reading so I didn't have to die of boredom watching the news all day :P

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    1. LOL! Well, at least it got you reading???

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  15. We had TV, but no cable (and my parents bought a TV lock). I watched way more when I was a kid than I do now, but I've always been a reader. I think TV may not have too much of an impact on reading, except as an easier alternative if you tend not to like reading anyway. My husband is a huge TV/movie watcher and never liked to read, but he's started reading more. It takes time to become a strong reader, especially if you've never been that interested in it.

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    1. Yeah, I wonder if kids that struggle with reading never get better if they just give in and watch TV all the time instead.

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  16. I think I would have been a reader with or without the TV. We had one during elementary years, but it broke sometime in jr high school and they didn't replace it until years later when I was nearly done with high school. So, I don't know. Maybe it made me turn to books a little, but I think I would have anyway. Now, I enjoy them both. I think the thing that makes us readers love to read, also makes us love TV... it's the stories. Which also means that I think readers who don't watch TV would like it if they did... because of the stories. Should I be doing a post on this? Hmmm....

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    1. I agree. I love stories in any form.

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  17. I had a tv growing up and I think the time I spend reading and watching my favourite shows is about equal...an hour or two of both each night before bed. My brother, however, is WAY more of a tv watcher than a reader. He hates reading even though he grew up with my mom reading to him in bed each night (something studies show promotes a love of reading in children when they are older)...so I think it really depends on the person!

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    1. I do to. Some people just don't like to read. Poor things. ;)

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  18. I've always had a TV. I didn't realise there were people out there (our age) who didn't grow up with a TV. I think the TV taught me English when I first moved to Australia from Vietnam so say what you will will about TV, but it really does help kids learn a language. There's only so much TV you can watch though. I think naturally, sitting in front of the TV is unnatural and even as a kid I felt that. I read so much more as a child than I do now, but then again, I had a lot more free time. Some people don't watch TV at all and they don't read either. I guess it's just a lifestyle choice.

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    1. LOL. I spend so much time reading and watching TV. What on earth would I be doing if I didn't do either?!

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  19. My friend doesn't have a TV, and I was horrified when I found out. Why are we so dependant on that little box in the corner of the room? Having said that, I'm not a huge TV watcher. I'd rather read. My partner is the opposite though - he'll sit flicking through the channels just for the sake of it. He drives me crazy!

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    1. I don't know why we're so dependent on it but when the cable goes out I start freaking out.

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  20. I'm only a teen (16) so that being said, I don't remember NOT watching TV. Seriously. I have videos of me as a 2 year old being fed baby food and glued to Spot the dog or Busy Town or something like that. But I would say, NOW I watch like a ton of TV. Except, in Singapore, they don't play most of the shows I love to watch. So *ehem* I watch them elsewhere, but that totally messes up my schedule by not allowing me to read and blog -__-.

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    1. Yeah, think of all the reading and blogging we'd get done with out TV.

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  21. I watched so much TV growing up, and I didn't really like to read. But now my siblings and I are all fairly consistent readers. I don't have a TV now, but I watch plenty of shows online. (so it's just like having a TV).
    My son already loves his cartoon shows, so that worries me a little. I hope he'll like to read, though. He sure likes story time at the library.

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    1. I think if you like to read it will probably rub off on him...hopefully. ;)

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  22. I watched an insane amount of TV growing up. It was really what we did in our house. My best friend introduced me to the fact that people actually read for fun. *gasp* And to be honest I thought she was crazy for a long time. Now that I'm older and have children of my own it's funny, I watch maybe 5 hours of TV a week. We don't have cable, we have netflix and internet, and we only have one TV in the house for all to share.

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    1. I was the opposite. I didn't watch that much TV as a kid and now I do but I still love to read. Looks like it really does just depend on the person.

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  23. I had TV as a kid, not anything fancy like movie channels and what not but I did have TV. I mostly watched old horror movies with my dad and old westerns with my mom and of course Lassie, She-Ra, etc. Even with the distraction of TV, I was still a book feind. Now (thank god for DVR) I spend 10 or so hours of active TV watching, but sometimes I just have it on in the background while reading (and I can - believe it or not - tell you what is going on in the book and on tv). So I really don't think TV has any effect on my reading, internet though . . . well that is a whole other animal!

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    1. Ah, the internet. I could do a whole post on how it distracts from everything!

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  24. Well, hmm. Yes, we had a TV. But, we had a 100-foot TV antenna and could still only get 3 channels for much of my childhood. So, I grew up doing a lot of crafty things, reading, writing, sketching, playing outdoors for hours because my mother didn't want me "under foot". Now, we have a TV but no cable or satellite. However, we also do have DVDs and Amazon streaming. Guess what? I hardly ever watch TV, still. I think the computer is my biggest problem. I periodically take breaks from the computer and find that when I do, I read twice as much. I guess I'm just not a big TV watcher. I did go through an embarrassing phase when I was addicted to soap operas and literally spent 5 hours watching soap opera after soap opera *every day*. I think it lasted about a year. Then, one day I thought, "This is ridiculous. I'm wasting so much time!" and I dropped down to my one favorite. If only I could get a grip on my internet use, like that.

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    1. Ah, the old days of atennas.

      I wish I could come to that resolution and quit watching so much TV.

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  25. +JMJ+

    My family had more than one TV when I was growing up! LOL! It obviously didn't affect my love of books, but I think I'm just really hyperlexic. =P

    The one thing that TV seems to offer these days that books often don't is a sense of community. You can go to work tomorrow and ask your colleagues what they thought of the latest episode of so-and-so, but unless a book was a huge best seller or something that was turned into a movie, you wouldn't be able to bond over it in a similar way. (You could form a book club, yes, but it wouldn't give you that feeling of being connected to everyone else.)

    TV unites us immediately the way the canon of Great Books used to unite us gradually. Reading the canon used to be every literate person's cultural rite of passage, but why bother with that if you can turn on the TV and be "plugged in" to everyone else?

    But I think the real "enemy" of reading is the Internet. There's something about online reading that makes us skim instead of peruse, and I believe all the time I spend online has had an averse effect on my reading of books--even those I know must be savoured slowly.

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    1. Agreed! I could have written a whole post about the internet's effect on reading.

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  26. I had a tv while growing up but we only had one. I don't recall it detracting from my reading. Now, we have a tv in almost every room, but honestly, I hardly watch any of it. The younger children watch the most, and yes, it does take away from their reading so I am now making a concentrated effort to have it off more than on. But like the commenter above, the Internet is the big time sucker not only for me but for the older kids. Fighting the Internet time battle is difficult, but am trying to make a dent there too...less Internet means more reading time and less ingrained quick pauses we naturally do with Internet reading.

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    1. Yeah, the internet is definitely taking over as the great distracter.

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