On demand TV is in most households in the developed world, but technology has provided us with a double edged sword.
From the moment we rise in the morning until well after our head hits the pillow at night – and if we choose so, every moment in between – the availability of any and all genre of visual media is literally at our fingertips.
TV is no longer limited to that one screen in a living room where the family gathered, if not to discuss world events reported in the news, then to enjoy nothing more than the comforting presence of one another in the combined enjoyment of a prime time show.
TV-time is no longer an opportunity to learn the skills of diplomacy and the benefits of democracy, as streaming has eliminated a need for these, when almost every member of the household has individual access to at least one screen.
TV has also become a minefield of censorship with guardians needing the skills and opportunity to enforce parental controls in a world where often their children are more tech-savvy than they are themselves. Navigating the tricky territory of viewing that was once restricted to certain hours, now being available 24 hours, is all but impossible.
At one time a parent could survive with just the extra set of “eyes in the back of their head“, but now with individual small screen devices in separate bedrooms across multiple family members, those eyes are simply no longer enough! The reality is that you’d be spending all your (usually very little) free time checking from one child to another to enforce, or ensure, that innocent minds are not being assaulted by any of the gratuitous violence (and worse) that is freely accessible.
On the flip-side, one can binge on whatever they desire without the frustration of other family members and their variety of interests. Children can laugh along with their favourite cartoon characters as much as they like, teens can dine on a 24 hour diet of music clips, while adults pick and choose as they please… Even if the kids haven’t gone to sleep yet!
Our positive flip-side is that we have created our own family viewing time around an oldie, but a goodie, in “Friends” – I guess you could call it “designer primetime“.
There were moments when I saw ‘on demand TV’ as the death of family time, but with a little gentle persuasion (and perhaps coercion), I am beginning to see the way to a new era of family viewing.
How has the availability of streaming services affected your household dynamic?