you are what you watch

You are what you watch…?

In today’s world, we are swamped by the media. TV, movies, mobile devices, news, magazines…the list goes on. Everywhere we look we are being bombarded with people telling us what to do, what to say, what to wear, how to behave, what to believe, who to exclude. Again, the list goes on! For over a hundred years, since the invention of the moving picture, our obsession with what we watch has spiraled into the stratosphere. The simple novelty of watching pictures move has turned into something that consumes so much of our time, our money, and even influences who we are and how we behave. It has become so important since the birth of social media to be careful with what you believe online. But I would argue that it goes far deeper than the recent ‘fake news’ rash. We need to be so careful about what we put into our minds. Once it’s there, it’s there! You are what you watch!

To each there own

Don’t get me wrong. I love sitting down and watching a favourite TV programme or movie. It’s one of my favourite ways to relax and unwind. However, there needs to be a note of caution with what we allow ourselves to watch. Have you ever heard the idea that when we become numb to, or over exposed to something, we crave a new level of that same thing? How do you think we went from Laurel and Hardy to Rambo on our screens? We craved more. More extremes, more violence, more sex, more intrigue…We become immune to what we see, and therefore need to up the anti to fulfil our desire for entertainment. Everything has become acceptable.

It’s true that people are entitled to their own taste and opinion, I know I have mine. ‘Each to their own’, the saying goes. But how far does that go?! Where does the conveyor belt of immunity end? What is too extreme? Or will everything just become acceptable in the end? How far is too far?

PG 12

I remember the day when I rented my first 12 rated film from Blockbuster Movies. I was so excited that I was old enough to watch a movie that had to be rated age-appropriate. The movie was called ‘Never been kissed’ and starred Drew Barrymore. Thinking back, there was some mild drug use baked into some brownies and probably some mild swearing. Nowadays, this is so normal that you’ll see it in kid’s programs. The bar has been continually lowered because as a society we have become numb to what once caused concern. I know I’m certainly guilty of this. I’ve watched programs and films that ten years ago I wouldn’t have entertained because they were too violent or contained too much foul language. My bar has been lowered. And I probably haven’t even been aware it was happening.

By watching more and more programs or movies that portray certain language or behaviours, I, and the world around me, have embraced those same things too. Do we not hear swearing that much more? Is sex not more rampant in everything we see and hear? Are we not a people of consumerism, wanting whatever we see others having? We are what we watch!

I’m worried

In a world where everything is acceptable…’ do what makes you happy’…I find it massively concerning that we are constantly seeking to be entertained. Instagram, Facebook, TV, computer games, movies…we are consumed by so much screen time that we probably don’t take the time to really look up and see what kind of effect it’s having on us individually and collectively. How many of the things that we watch actually educate or inform us? The News? A documentary here or there? How much of it is just superficial nonsense?

I’m not having a go! I promise!

I’m worried. Over the first lockdown, we had some truly glorious weather. I was getting some gardening done and making the most of the sun, absorbing the beauty and heat. My neighbours were doing the same. However, their children were complaining every five minutes, asking to be allowed inside to play on their tablets or play their computer game. ‘I’m bored!’ was all I kept hearing. This is what keeps the attention of kids today. They don’t know how to be bored, or occupy themselves with something that isn’t plugged in!

I know I sound like an old fuddy-duddy! But if all we put into ourselves is other people’s opinions, superficial nonsense, and more and more acceptable content, then what hope do we have for our future generations? If our answer to silencing noisy children is to put them in front of a screen, then how will they learn to think for themselves, foster imagination, make friends, deal with conflict?

You are what you watch

I’m not saying don’t watch TV or movies. As I said before, I love them too! But what I am saying is be careful what you watch. The producers will keep supplying it if we continue to consume it. They will always be seeking to push the boundaries with more sex, violence, horror, etc because we keep watching it. I had to make some decisions not to watch certain programs because I knew they were affecting me in ways I didn’t like. And they were hugely popular shows. I was becoming depressed and angry because what I was watching was manifesting in my own behaviour.

Strike a balance

Can I encourage you to really be careful what you allow into your mind? Everyone is different and is affected more or less extremely by different things. But if we don’t control what we put in, how can we control what comes out. I’m trying to strike a balance with what I allow myself to watch. Sometimes I will watch something on the more extreme edge of acceptability, but it’s not the norm. I’ve been there, trying to convince myself, ‘it’s just a tv program’ all the while cringing at what I’m watching. Why do that to yourself?!

I love to learn about the world, history, and people. Sometimes it can make for difficult watching, but I’m not just watching something difficult for entertainment’s sake. I am becoming more knowledgeable and better informed. There is a purpose to it.

I also love to read! I have a dear friend who has challenged herself to read fifty books in 2021! What a feat! I’m not sure I have the time for that! I might do if I watched less on the TV …who knows! Reading engages the brain more and improves our cognitive abilities way more than watching TV does. Find an author you enjoy and allow your imagination to run wild! (Disclaimer! Books can be just as destructive if we choose unwisely so only read what will uplift and challenge you!)

Look after you!

What am I really getting at with this ‘you are what you watch’? Basically, look after your own mental health, your own emotional wellbeing and don’t watch something just because the media or other people tell you it’s acceptable or normal. What we allow into our minds will manifest outwardly, so please, think carefully before you binge watch that next season or whatever it is. Is it doing you any good?


  • Inge Hill

    I love and appreciate your old fashioned thinking❤️ So grateful I grew up in an era before all this technology. We played for hours outside every day… and did chores and homework. Tv time was family time for a short period in the evening, wholesome tv. I miss those days and wish the youngsters of today could experience the same without all the distractions and evil which has become the norm.

    • Katie Morris

      Yes. I remember as a child playing outside for hours too. It’s only in my lifetime that the media has got a stranglehold on us all. The very fact you call it ‘old-fashioned thinking’ is so telling, since it’s really only 20 years old. Surely we can fight it, one family, at a time by being more careful what we let in.

  • Annie Nifong

    You re ‘Spot-on’ about TV programs being violent. Give the series ‘Kobra Kai’ a watch. It’s Amazing. Let me know what you think.🙂

    • Katie Morris

      Yes, we are fans of Kobra Kai in this house. John has always been a big fan of Karate Kid anyway, so was delighted to watch the new re-boot. Haven’t watched the new season on Netflix yet though!

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