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.