The average American watches 4 hours, 35 minutes of television every day. (Center for Screen-Time Awareness, 2007 Fact Sheet)
Annually, that’s 1,673 hours. Can you believe it? Almost 10 weeks a year, just watching TV. It is a waste of your life!
We understand the need for a little entertainment or down-time, but TV is a time waster that must be strictly limited.
Here are our recommendations for managing TV-time:
- Pick one or two shows, and stick to them. Leave the TV off the rest of the time. Pick those your family enjoys together, and when they’re over, turn it off.
- Better yet, Tivo or tape your shows, (or wait for them to come out on DVD), and watch w/o commercials. A one-hour drama (like the highly addictive 24) can be seen in 41 minutes this way. If you watch one season of 24, you’ll have spent eight hours watching commercials. Wouldn’t you rather be doing something else?
- Don’t watch TV news or morning shows. They are slanted, trite, and horribly inaccurate. Pick a favorite news website, scan the headlines once a day (or better, once a week), and you can be done in 3 minutes instead of 30. Or get the Sunday paper and spend Sunday afternoons lazily in bed with your wife. That’s good multitasking right there.
- Our best recommendation: don’t watch TV at all. Completely eliminate it.
How about this:
Turn off the television. It is not necessary for relevance. And it is a deadly place to rest the mind. Its pervasive banality, sexual innuendo, and God-ignoring values have no ennobling effects on the preacher’s soul. It kills the spirit. It drives God away. It quenches prayer. It blanks out the Bible. It cheapens the soul. It destroys spiritual power. It defiles almost everything. I have taught and preached for twenty years now and never owned a television. It is unnecessary for most of you, and it is spiritually deadly for all of you.
– John Piper, Preaching as Worship: Meditations on Expository Exultation, Bernard H. Rom Lectures in Preaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, November 2-3, 1994.
I’m not preaching here, but early in my ministry, I decided to put the TV away for the summer, just as an experiment. I unplugged it and crammed it into a closet. After about two weeks of withdrawal, I decided I loved it. I read more and exercised more. Smarter and fitter. A few years later, I eliminated it entirely. Great decision. I still rent DVDs pretty often or watch major sports events, but daily TV is largely a thing of the past.