Saturday, 8 September 2007

You have been watching ....

There is debate elsewhere in UK Catholic Blogworld regarding the merits or otherwise of watching the telly. The debate seems to centre around whether or not to renew one’s TV licence. In my opinion, choosing not to watch the television and not paying for a licence are two completely separate issues.

Firstly, regarding paying for the licence, I think it should always be paid where there is a means to pay. I know you don’t need to pay if you never watch the telly and just listen to the radio, but somehow this seems hypocritical to me. Funding for public service radio and television comes from the same source. I’m sorry, but those that piously say they don’t have a TV or pay a licence fee but spend all their time listening to the blather on Radio 4 are freeloaders. Television isn’t all bad. There is occasionally some good TV; some good and brave documentaries and dramas still get made. On the radio, there continues to be a fine tradition of innovative programming. It may not be to your taste but there is some good radio to be found on Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 music, programming that doesn’t cater for the lowest common denominator. How does this get funded? Who is helping support innovative and talented musicians and writers and helping bring them to a wider audience? Then there is the World Service, it is provided by the BBC, licence fee money may not go directly into it but if other areas feel a pinch financially then this too suffers. The World Service is a lifeline to many and something we British should be proud to support. Then there is the question of getting cricket, the most beautiful game in the world, back to its rightful home on public service broadcasting, how can you have a say in this issue if you don’t pay your licence fee? It’s like grumbling about the government if you don’t vote. Please, think about paying for your TV license if you can afford to. You are free to choose not to watch the television or listen to the radio yourself, for others it is a necessity in the face of loneliness and isolation and should be supported. Of course there is the further issue of the accountability of the BBC and its programming……

Secondly, regarding the TV free household; it needs careful consideration. Will your children be able to relate to their peers or will they feel isolated if they don’t know what is on the television. Older children need opportunities to explore the world (real life and fiction) from many perspectives and whilst books and the internet may go a long way towards this, the television is also useful. I’m always surprised how many teenagers like Question Time, they seem to like and need debate and are interested in current affairs. Also, children need to become critical of the media. They need to be aware of what is not being said, who is being targeted, possible agendas and other points of view. We need to know our enemy, hiding from it doesn’t seem a particularly useful strategy.


WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I am not convinced by the get-rid-of-the-TV stuff. It's a tool. Certainly there are those who watch Eastenders and Big Brother-but that shouldn't stop us watching Ray Mears and The Journey Home (EWTN).

My computer is in the living room. My 18yr old is allowed the lap top in his room for essay work and NOT the internet even now the rule stands and he agrees with it as it is part of his being a role model for the younger children.

Radio: my 16yr old listens to Classic FM and I listen to Catholic Radio podcasts and that's all.
I don't allow local radio because of the foul language and terrible stuff spouted on it-not Radio 1 obviously.

I allow my children to go the library but they are not allowed to look at the teen books and mags nor some of the more dubious adult fiction.

I don't see people banning the radio, computer and all magazines, papers and library or bookshop trips so why just the TV?
As a teen I was far more negatively impacted by the books I read than stuff from telly.

It's not about the tool-it's about the parenting and self discipline.

I have friends who have chosen not to have a TV and they are happy without it. Good for them.
We choose to have one-it doesn't make us worse parents/Catholics or anything else.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I just wanted to let you know, a friend of mine (the one without TV) has said that Maryvale have links with an organisation that offer help with paying for courses. She was not sure of the details but if you phone you could talk to someone who might know; she recommended Caroline (can't remember her second name-but she teaches philosophy) as someone who would know.

God bless

Rita said...

Thanks for your comments and information!
I'm also approaching a missionary order I have connections with to see if they can help with funding for Maryvale. I'm sure if I'm meant to do the course next year, I'll have the funds by then.

Another thing about the television; it may be escapism but it can't be used as a source of bullying. There is some horrendous bullying that goes on courtesy of the internet and texting. This is far more potentially damaging than anything supervised TV watching is going to throw at a child.

God Bless.

Ttony said...

One small detail: the World Service is funded by the FCO, not from the licence fee.

Otherwise, I agree.