Technology for Tuition

Twice a year At&t offers a $1,000 scholarship to a student who best answers a technology question.  This time the question is about on-line media and how it is impacting our lives.

Below is my response, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.  Thanks!

I don’t have a TV and I watch more television than ever.  As a child, I enjoyed sitcoms on a black and white TV with knobs to change the channel.  Now, my five year old streams commercial-free, shows while we drive on the Interstate.  What a remarkable leap in technology in just one generation.

My household consumes media solely through the internet, which has been, mostly, positive.  I enjoy watching shows at my convenience, without commercial interruption and having the choice to watch multiple episodes in a row.  The biggest drawback for me is a social one, I tend to be seasons behind when an episode actually aired, so I am wary of friends, radio or other real-time media that will spoil a show ending. But really, that is a rather persnickety complaint.

The greatest challenge online television has provided is it’s unprecedented convenience.  What is to stop me from wasting away in front of a screen all day?  Having what I want to watch, when I want to watch it - at my fingertips - has meant I am watching more television than ever.  I suppose that is great news to an advertiser, but not the best news for me as a student.

Television is a distraction.  A wonderful and enjoyable distraction in moderation.  Self-moderation is, of course, a fantastic skill to practice and I welcome the exercise in self-control that Netflix has provided.  In an era where technology seems to offer an answer to every problem, I think we need to be cautious about what problems technology itself is creating.

For now though, I look forward to seeing the ending of Breaking Bad whenever it finally makes it to Netflix.