Americans are busier than ever, but when the days whirlwind of activity momentarily ceases, many of us choose to use what little free time we have to deflate in front of the television.
For a week we swore off all video; streaming, airwaves or otherwise. With the elimination of each television hour, we also avoided the exposure of some 20 minutes of commercials.
Melody watches the majority of her television online and also participates in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Erin watches some shows via DVD or online, but also watches conventional television, which carries the risk of promotional persuasion leading to hours of prime-time programming.
Television is no longer the single-set, family gathering event of the early days. People now have more television sets than they do people in their household. According to Nielsen Media Research, in the average home there are 2.73 TV sets for 2.55 people. People are mounting monitors in their bathrooms, kitchens and cars, only to be outnumbered by those in buses, airport terminals and bars. At times we felt a need for blinders to guard our eyes from the bombardment of video media.
With the advent of digital video recorders and a myriad of channels to choose from, people are watching more television than ever, and viewership has reached an all time high.
For the 2008-2009 TV season, the time a person spend with their eyes glued to the tube topped out at four hours and 49 minutes a day, or two solid months a year. This number is up four minutes from last year and up 20 percent from 10 years ago, according to Nielsen.
It is a huge part of our culture, and we are not immune.
Melody spent the week missing Glee and her World of Warcraft guild. Mostly after a long day of work she missed zoning out and turning off her brain.
Erin is disappointed to report her willpower faltered when she watched the season finale of the Amazing Race. It probably wasn’t worth it considering her brother’s guilt-trip coupled with her father’s words from childhood echoing in her head, “What possible difference will this stupid show make in your life?”
Well the answer is a resounding none, unless of course Erin is some day a contestant on a television pop-culture game show.