Television is now man’s new BFF

If this latest report on our TV viewing habits is any indication, Fido is going to be one depressed puppy dog. Forget about spending quality time with Fido and the family, not to mention the Lord. Many Americans would rather spend time alone with their television sets even when they’re at home with their spouse and children.

At least that’s what the numbers from an alarming new survey reveal. We have truly come to the point where we have completely redefined our relationship with our TV set. As scary as this seems, we now see the TV as less than a means of entertainment and more and more as a “companion.”  I don’t know about you, but outside of some of the really good religious programming out there, such as EWTN and maybe some of the classic movies channels, when I turn on the TV, I am not seeing too many folks that I want to hang out with unless you consider Honey Boo Boo’s clan and the Kardashians good wholesome company.

According to this survey commissioned by LG Electronics and released late last month, some 60 percent of American consumers leave their television on all day long regardless of whether they’re actually watching it. But that’s not the half of it. The survey results are great news for the electronics industry but bad news for those trying to get closer to God and each other. Here are just a few of the statistics:

  • More than one third of Americans (38 percent) turn the TV on as soon as they wake up.
  • Two thirds (61 percent) fall asleep with the TV on.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) switch their TV on within just 15 minutes of arriving home.
  • Some 35 percent say their relationship with their TV is so strong they would rather watch the same show at the same time as family members but alone in a separate room.
  • Nearly 73 percent leave their TV on for background noise and also leave it on while doing chores.
  • In his interview with the Argentinian weekly “Viva,” marking 500 days of his pontificate, Pope Francis stressed the importance of parents spending leisure time with their children. I can’t read the Holy Father’s mind, but it is pretty clear, sitting around watching TV in separate rooms was not what he was referring to. He said he would often ask mothers in Buenos Aires how often they played with their children.
  • In the case of the moms, they weren’t lounging around. They were working long hours trying to help put food on the table. But the Pope still stressed the importance of down time together, including cultural activities such as art and hey here’s a novel concept: reading.
  • When I sat down to read this study, I couldn’t help remember what Benedict XVI told us several years ago; “We can no longer hear God. There are too many frequencies filling our ears.”
  •                 Apparently we can’t hear our family members any more either.
  •                 Replacing family with TV is one major issue. Then there is our relationship with God. The sexual content, violent content, and the mindless Reality TV shows make up a majority of today’s programming. I would much rather hear about TV viewers and radio listeners watching and listening to Catholic media and falling asleep to the words of say Mother Angelica or Father Mitch Pacwa; unfortunately, that is simply not the case.
  •                 “It was an unexpected question. It is hard. The parents go to work and come back when the children are asleep.”
  •                 How sad is it that we value our favorite shows so much that we will walk away from our loved ones, shut the door and plop down in front of the TV. We do this, according to the survey, because we simply do not want to be bothered or have interruptions during our favorite programs. How many people are convincing themselves that this is actually family time just because little Elvis has not left the building?

Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ava Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 130.

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