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When I was 12 I got the best gift a 12-year-old could get: a TV for my room. My parents got me a silver, 13-inch Insignia television with a built-in DVD player.
For some reason my dad wasn’t able to hook up cable to my room. I didn’t mind, though, because I started collecting the Friends seasons on DVD. And that’s all I watched on that TV for years. I would spend Saturdays sitting on my bed watching Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, and Joey for eight consecutive hours.
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I was riveted by each second of each 22-minute episode even though I’d already seen them ten times.
Then I got a cell phone.
It started gradually – my decreased attention span. I was spending less time with Friends and more time texting. I got my first cell phone when I was 14. It was a two-sided phone Beyonce endorsed. One side had a microscopic screen with a keypad, and the other side had a touch screen that didn’t work.
I still watched my little TV, but I was becoming more interested in MSN Messenger and choosing a ringtone for my cell phone.
Then came unlimited data.
I got a Blackberry when I was 16, and with that came endless possibilities. I could be on Facebook wherever I wanted – Even on my bed watching Friends on my TV.
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It became harder to sit still for 22 minutes and watch an episode. Any time a show slowed its pace, I’d look down at my Blackberry and see what was going on somewhere else. Somewhere not on my beloved TV screen.
Now, between my iPhone 6, my 15″ MacBook Pro, and my iPad Mini 2, I’m barely looking at my TV screen – even though I claim to be watching it.
TV is one of my biggest loves, which you probably already know from this blog, and I’ve neglected it for a long time. My poor little TV was sitting in front of me trying to bring me entertainment, but I was ignoring it.
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I tell most people about my love of watching TV – which isn’t accurate anymore. If I’m being honest, I now love sitting in front of the TV, looking up occasionally from my phone or computer screen. Or both screens at the same time.
I think most of us are overwhelmed by screens.
We have shorter attention spans because we get bored of one screen too easily, so we look to the next one for something more interesting. Usually we don’t find that something. Then we repeat.
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I know I’m talking about TVs like they’re good for you. Yes, people should spend less time on every screen and just go outside and get some damn fresh air.
But we’re in pretty deep.
It’s more realistic to set goals to focus on one thing at a time. If you need to send a text, send that text. But don’t do it while also taking a quiz on BuzzFeed (which I’ve been guilty of).
I’m setting goals to sit down and watch 22 minutes of uninterrupted TV on my little Insignia. I want to make time for my old Friends.
Yes, I’m still turning my brain off by consuming entertainment through my television, blah blah blah. But at least I’m trying to keep my attention on one thing for longer than the time it takes to watch a Snapchat.
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