OPINION: TV is a time for family bonding

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
One activity that I don’t think happens anymore is watching evening television together.
Camera IconOne activity that I don’t think happens anymore is watching evening television together. Credit: Unknown/Getty Images

Gee the world has changed. I suppose that is a bit of a broad statement, but I’m not just referring to changes in technology and attitude.

I’m referring to a major shift in habits, the way we just do things. For instance, evening family habits, that only a generation ago were the norm, are becoming a distant memory. And our viewing habits is simply one example.

As a schoolteacher, I am conversing with the younger generation on a regular basis, and over time the subject of chats I have with them has changed significantly, especially in the area of family activity.

When I was a kid, Mum and Dad would follow my brother and I in our sport, and school activities and we’d all go to occasions involving extended family.

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Maybe that is still the go with many, but one activity that I don’t think happens anymore is watching evening television together.

Yes, there is no doubt, they chalk up a lot of screen time, but this is generally sourced online, or via pay TV systems and they often spend time alone in separate rooms watch what they want or playing games on computer.

You even have the option of watching anything that is on TV on your phone.

Some families don’t even eat dinner together, opting to grab a plate of food as soon as it is ready, before heading off to the far-flung corners of the house. In the 1980s, I remember all the family sitting together for a meal, before watching a couple of hours of telly before bed.

Tuesday nights were special in our house. That was the night of the week that my nanna came for dinner and we always had a roast with apple pie and ice-cream for dessert.

When that was over, we all moved into the lounge room to watch the weekly episode of The Sullivans.

The war-time program was, indeed, a must-view for everyone and watching it with Nanna was quite special.

I can remember at primary school, talking at recess about what we had watched the night before. Programs included The Goodies, Doctor Who and Benny Hill.

Free-to-air television was also pretty limited in those days. In fact, until the early 80s, here, in Geraldton we only had access to the ABC.

Back then, television was, somewhat, a conduit for communication and bonding. And I reckon it really played an important part in our lives.

Peter Fiorenza is the host of Fiorenza on Sunday, 10-noon on Radio MAMA.

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