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Twenty Ways to Control Television in your Family's Life

Terry Mattingly

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Very few Americans watch programs on television. Now, let me refine that statement a bit. We don't watch programs on television. We watch television. We don't sit down and make choices about what to watch and what not to watch. We sit down and watch television--period.

I saw this reality firsthand in the early 1990s, while I was teaching at Denver Theological Seminary. During a class entitled, "The Contemporary World and the Christian Task," I asked a room full of future pastors to divide into four groups, choosing from the following options. They and their families could watch:

  1. No television whatsoever.
  2. Anything they wanted to watch, but it had to be on a rented videocassette.
  3. Anything they wanted to watch on a videocassette, but they had to use their VCR timer and tape it themselves.
  4. Whatever television they wanted to watch, so long as they kept a journal of what they watched, including each and every channel change.

To my surprise, the students begged and pleaded to be allowed in the "no television" group. Why? They were terrified to have to think about what they would watch. They feared the process of making choices. It was easier to unplug the TV, even for one or two weeks, than it was to take this issue seriously.

Read the entire article on the Conciliar Press website.

Posted: 9/4/04



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