So I’m here, in Sydney, sitting with my cousin’s family. Having dinner, talking about whatever we can talk about while watching TV or watching kids playing is our (daily) basis.
My cousin is 13 years older than me, which is quite a huge gap, so our memory of television in childhood is different.
We were born and raised in the Third World, when our country was still “under-developing”, so television was something luxurious at the time, especially in his time. Born in the capital city in a civil servant family, which is a middle class family, I can say that buying a television was not something unaffordable for them. But it wasn’t until he was 12 did his family have their first TV set. (Wonder if they watched TV before that? Yes. In my country, we had public TV at almost all residential areas) There wasn’t anything much on TV then, just basically news, weather forecast, one or two music shows and a couple of (really good) TV series (Thanks god, in my time we had a few more nice cartoon shows). Just like my family then, television in his time was precious, usually placed nicely on the cabinet, and only used during family time (normally dinner/ after dinner) or in special occasions. Everyone sat on a couch, sometimes bed, having a cup of tea, talking about their day, enjoy the gathering with the TV turned on
As time gone by, we got our second TV, though technology was different at our times. But I guess, that’s the point. While his family remained their routine for years afterwards, my family had some changes when we got it. The quality of image and channels increased, we became busy with our own favorite stuffs, resulted in less family time. I saw a rift in my family relationship. Even my dad, who were always worried that I could be addicted to TV, only showed up a couple of times per week. Does it sound familiar? That is also a major problem of many families I know. The more the technology is developed, the bigger the distance among members is. Being able to maintain family routine like his is priceless.
“The medium is the message” (McLuhan 1964)