I will begin by saying that I realize more and more with each passing day just how much the world has changed since I was a child. These days, we are bombarded with digital media in every conceivable form and from every imaginable direction. In addition to computers, pads, pods, and smartphones, all delivering digital information and entertainment to us over the World Wide Web, we also have broadcast, cable, and satellite television and radio.
Even the most basic of cable television packages these days comes with scores, if not hundreds, of channel choices. And nowadays, television has expanded into delivery formats that far surpass traditional delivery systems. In addition to simple broadcast, cable, and satellite formats, television programming is now delivered via the internet in such formats as HULU, NETFLIX, ROKU, SLING TV, and numerous other similar media services providers.
What is more, these new delivery systems not only provide traditional television and movie offerings, but like most cable networks, they are now even producing their own original programming. Add to this the fact that most televisions these days are Smart TVs, equipped to receive and display internet signals, thus making possible the viewing of YouTube, Vimeo, and other video-sharing websites on one’s television screen, and you can easily see that today’s viewers have a plethora of programming to choose from. Quite literally, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of videos available for viewing at the click of a few buttons.
Compare and contrast that to what things were like when I was a boy growing up on a farm some thirty miles south of Atlanta back in the 1960s. We had three VHF network channels to choose from: ABC (at the time WXIA-TV channel 11), CBS (at the time WAGA-TV channel 5), and NBC (at the time WSB-TV channel 2). FOX did not yet exist. Neither did cable. Beyond this, we had two or three UHF channels, including channels 17 (at the time, WTCG-TV, though later to become WTBS and then Superstation TBS), 36 (at the time WQXI-TV), and 46 (at the time WHAE-TV). Other than Channel 8 (Public Broadcasting), that was it. Period!
Imagine telling some young kid today that all he or she has to choose from is a mere six or seven television channels! They would likely think you were out of your mind!
And yet, quantity does not necessarily imply quality! Just because people now have hundreds (or even thousands) of choices for viewing does not necessarily mean that they also have better programming options available to them. Indeed, it is for this very reason that, in our own case, my wife and I find ourselves increasingly drawn to classic television over modern programming.
Granted, this may well have to do with our age. It is only natural that one becomes nostalgic as he or she ages, longing for an earlier, by-gone era when life seemed less complicated and much simpler by comparison to the present day.
But a careful assessment of the content of television programming from previous generations, especially when compared with that of the modern era, will quickly reveal that things have changed - arguably for the worse. Whether dramas or situational comedies, television programming of the past was much more wholesome than it is today. It included far less profanity, far less obscenity, far less vulgarity, and far less indecency than it does today. That much is simply undeniable!
What is more, most programs of the past tended to be redemptive in that they were designed to convey some sort of moral at the culmination of the episode. Good most always won out in the end. The “bad guys” most always got caught and paid the price for their transgressions. In the process, essential values about good and evil and right and wrong were both affirmed and confirmed. Sadly, this does not necessarily happen today!
For my part, I have not given up completely on modern television programming. It still has much to offer – as long as one is prudent in his or her viewing choices. The important thing to remember is that one does not have to sit back and mindlessly consume whatever is offered up on this or that given network.
As you make you viewing choices, pay careful attention to what the program you are watching is really attempting to communicate. Is there an underlying message? If so, is that message wholesome? Does it reflect your own values? If not, then by all means, change the channel! Better yet, block the channel so your children and grandchildren are not exposed to it at your expense!
Likewise, pay attention to the commercials as well. Sometimes, networks will air traditional programming, known by all to be wholesome, only to intersperse it with commercials and/or promos for programming that clearly does not reflect the same values as the program being shown!
Simply put, don’t tune in to some network showing some wholesome 1960s era situational comedy only to find that the majority of commercials are from that given network promoting its own programming, the values of which are clearly antithetical to those on display in the sitcom being shown. If you do, you are allowing the network to accomplish their deceptive tactic and goals. Instead, change the channel! You, not that network, control your viewing habits. Accordingly, you, not the given network programmers, control your own values!
One last thought. Psalm 101, verse 3 says “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.” (Click on the link below and read the various translations of this one significant verse!) Make yourself a sign and place it above your television with this one verse form God’s word. I assure you that it will impact your viewing habits! Most likely for the better! Doing so will certainly answer the question of “TV or not TV?” I guarantee it!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/psalms/101-3.htm.