Battling the one-eye monster

I love watching TV. I tell people that I learnt my ABCs from children’s TV programmes and maintain my proficiency in Chinese watching Chinese news telecast and current affairs shows. I use to tell myself that, between $1,000,000 (and abstaining from watching TV for life) and TV alone, I would choose TV (although I might change my mind now). But I know all too well that watching TV can be a waste of time.

Which is why I thought I should share this article by Randy Alcorn and see what I can adopt to control my TV-hours:

1. Keep track of how much time you spend watching. (It’s much more than you think). [yeah, I know. I’m doing a mental check]

2. Decide in advance how much TV to watch per week. (e.g. No more than six hours, only two nights or weekends). [Not too difficult, but it’s the keeping to the decision that’s difficult…]

3. Use a schedule to choose programs for the week (perhaps at family time)— then stick to your choices. [I don’t read TV guides, because they make me wanna watch more TV…]

4. Keep your television unplugged, store it in a closet, and/or put it in a remote part of the house (prevents mindless flip-on). [My papa will scream at me…]

5. Periodically “fast” from television for a week or a month. Notice the “cold turkey” effects. (Avoids addiction, reminds you of all that can be done when TV off). [Can do; at least American Idol is not running now =X]

6. Choose programs that uplift rather than undermine biblical values.
[Huh? Like what?]
7. Use the “off” switch freely. If it’s wrong and you keep watching, you’re saying “I approve.” (Unless it doesn’t present temptation and you’re critically analyzing it). [Well, I think I use it more than my family]

8. Use the channel changer frequently. Even decent programs often have explicit commercial clips of the latest adultery-rape-murder-madstalker-child-kidnapper movies. (Put the channel changer in the hands of one of your kids, under your supervision—let him exercise his conviction). [I actually try to do this… self-censorship]

9. Watch and discuss programs together as a family—to avoid passivity and develop active moral discernment through interaction. (Avoid the second TV set that splits the family and leaves children unsupervised). [I watch TV for mindless entertainment, not to discuss them… but I will try.]

If this scene or program we just saw was biblically off base or promoted ungodly values, talk about how and why. (Discuss commercials too—have fun debunking them). [but I don’t have kids now…]

If there’s a program your child wants to watch and you think he shouldn’t, consider watching it together one time and ask him to tell you whether or not he thinks Jesus wants him to watch it, and why. (Don’t deprive him of moral-decision making—it needs to become his conviction, not just yours). [Don’t think I can do it with my family…]

Use programs as a teaching opportunity. “That’s disgusting, turn it off” doesn’t explain why we should set our minds on godly input and avoid what is ungodly. Use reasoned conviction, not unexplained legalism. Children must dialogue to develop ownership of values. Otherwise, when Mom and Dad aren’t there, they’ll watch because they won’t have the conviction or courage to say “No.” [ditto]

10. Don’t allow young children to choose their own programs—that’s the parent’s responsibility. As they get older, they can choose, but parents should always have veto power. Use it with sensitivity, but use it. [I let my parents watch what they want to watch, unless I want to watch something else…]

11. Don’t use television as a baby sitter. Provide healthy alternatives, such as reading, projects, play and interaction with parents, siblings, and friends. [ok, I will keep this in mind]

12. Spend an hour reading Scripture, a Christian book or magazine, or doing a ministry for each hour you watch TV. (It’s not enough to get rid of the bad—go out of your way to renew your mind by filling it with the good). [wow, if I watch 3 hours of TV, I don’t think I have another 3 hours for ministry =X ok must watch less TV]

13. Consider dropping cable, Showtime, HBO, or any other service that you determine is importing ungodliness or temptation into your home. (Many people who are fatigued find themselves morally vulnerable to flipping on ungodly programs late at night. In the moment of strength make decisions that will prevent temptation in the moment of weakness—get rid of the source when you can). [Sorry, my brother pays for cable – so that he can watch football]

14. If you find you can’t control it—or you’re tired of the battle—get rid of your television. [er… I don’t think so. My family will kill me.]

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