Shhh the Television is on!

As children of this dynamic technological society, our television experience is dramatically different to that of our parents. My mother, 53 and a child of three, grew up in a time where there were 3 television channels and transmission stopped at 10pm.

“Growing up with television was just normal for me but obviously it was a new experience for my parents. My first memory of television was when I was 4, I’d watch Romper Room, which was a children’s preschool program on at 9.30am, it even predated Playschool. It was an interactive show and the audience could send in letters and pictures. Thinking back on it now it would have been quite convenient for my mother, I sat and watched TV whilst she did chores”.

“I remember when the television was on it was an experience the whole family enjoyed. No one could talk, we all sat together watching the same program. There was no such thing as channel flicking because you had to stand up and walk to the TV to change the channel, plus there were only a few channels. On a Sunday night we’d all sit down to watch Disneyland, The Brady Bunch and when I was older I stayed up to watch the Sunday night movie”.

“The most historical event I witnessed was probably the moon landing. I was in fifth class and 210 kids pilled into the school hall to watch the special televised event. I don’t think we can relate a mass event like this to 9/11 as the moon landing was planned international event. With media events today you can go back and view them on YouTube and watch it over and over again. Back then no one could record it because VHS recorders weren’t available yet”.

“A show with caused much controversy was called No. 96. It was the first Australian production made especially for adults and not children, which changed the idea that TV was not just for family viewing. It was famous for having nudity on screen for the first time which lead to a real cult following.”

From what my mother has said television viewing back then was a completely different experience to what it is now. Technology has interfered with our viewing patterns, which has its positives and negatives.  We are now able to pause, play and record live television and we have the option of purchasing cable. However television has destroyed the idea of the ‘family room’ and families no longer have planned television ‘dates’. Instead they view what they want, when they want, on one of the 5 TV in their house, whilst checking Facebook and emails at the same time.

Convergent technology has taken over our lives and changed our television view habits. Internet users are sacrificing their television viewing time and replacing it with Facebook (McRae 2006). Consumers are now able to interact with their product though accessories like gaming consoles or innovative technological developments like 3D TV. The reshaping media of the 21st century is leading to transmedia storytelling, an experience beyond television, which combines multiple technological mediums to engage the audience (Jenkins 2007). McRae (2006) further states that digital convergence will certainly disrupt the way we currently view television as an entertainment medium. Furthermore mum argues the value of television today as entertainment, saying that “reality TV is not entertainment, it’s not informative, it’s just rubbish”.

I finished my interview by asking where do you think the future of television is heading? Mum’s reply, “backwards, the free to air TV as apposed to pay TV is now lowest common denominator product”.

I’d like to know your thoughts on the way television is heading and whether you think it’s the direction it should be going in!

Eveman13, 2009, Romper Room with miss Nancy, online video, 25 Feburary, Claster television distributor, viewed 25 August 2013.

Jenkins, H 2007, Transmedia storytelling 101, Confessions of an ACA-Fan, weblog, accessed 25/08/2013,

McRae, P 2006, ‘The Death of Television and the Birth of Digital Convergence: (Re)shaping Media in the 21st Century’, Simile, 6, 2, p. 3, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 25 August 2013.

About Nicola Salter

Nicola. 21. UOW Graduate
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