A recent report showed that the average American watches five hours of TV per day. Spending that much time on the couch is affecting our sleep, limiting human connection, increasing our spending habits (advertising) and anxiety (news).
Many minimalists advocate that you watch less TV or eliminate your device.
Once upon a time (maybe in 2002), this was sound advice. But not anymore, especially not in 2015. In fact, I could get rid of my TV tomorrow, and it wouldn’t affect my lifestyle…at all.
People, TV isn’t the problem.
The internet is.
The internet allows us to watch more of what we want, on demand. So why would we get rid of our TV when we can get more out of our computer and data allowance?
More accurate advice would be to get rid of your computer. But who’s got the courage to do that?
Don’t get me wrong, Masa and I love marathoning through a season of Orange is The New Black, on a Sunday afternoon with the blinds closed, as much as anyone. But there comes a time when you have to recognise that we have too much digital entertainment at our disposal in relation to the number of hours we have in a day.
If it’s not TV, we’re spending hours on YouTube, Netflix, iTunes or torrenting sites.
In this post, we look at a few strategies to help you temper your streaming/downloading addiction. Because let’s face it, that’s the real problem here.
1. Cancel your Netflix account or any other subscription service you are part of
Our culture has shifted from buying or renting DVDs in a shopfront to purchasing media online, to now paying a subscription for as much content as you want.
We are overwhelmed with the choices of media. From Game of Thrones to an unlimited supply of on-demand sports. This is due to the increased usage of online streaming services like Netflix and YouTube. It’s reported that 40 per cent of households now subscribe to a video on demand service.
One way to temper your streaming addiction is to simply cancel your memberships. That way, you’re forced to ask yourself if you really want to watch your favourite TV show before purchasing. It also prevents you from over-indulging in content just because it’s there.
2. Stop illegally downloading things
There’s the elephant in the room right now.
No matter how hard the feds try to shut down torrenting sites, they keep coming back to serve the community. An example of this is in The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site that has been in existence for over a decade. Time and time again, they keep bouncing back after being interrogated.
With data powering our entertainment, many of us are guilty of downloading content for free from these sites.
There are three reasons to stop downloading torrents:
- It’s illegal
- You end up spending a considerable chunk of your life consuming stuff when you could be doing more productive things.
- It’s not fair to the artists who create this content.
3. Reduce your data plan
You heard me correctly. Call up your home internet provider and downgrade your data allowance.
Two things will happen here. You’ll save on monthly expenses, and you and your family will be forced to ration your internet usage each month. Maybe then you only have enough allowance to watch one TV series for the month, not 10.
And to our American readers, I’m aware that you have unlimited cellular data plans, so you don’t get off that quickly. Make sure to reduce your carrier data allowance as well.
Challenge yourself to get by on a few GBs per month. Or if you have the courage, disconnect your internet altogether.
A new level of self-control
I’m just as guilty of internet addiction as anyone else. The challenge is managing our usage, so we don’t spend all of our time behind a computer. We’re already dependant on technology for work, let’s not let it take over our personal lives as well.
So next time you think about getting rid of your TV, think about what you will do once your TV is gone.
Do you rely heavily on the internet for entertainment? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Image source: Flickr