In Need of TV Rehabilitation

Jul 17 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew

I recently met a very interesting lady who did not have a common household item in her room. It is a departure compared to almost every household. There is usually a magic window that let us know what is going on in the world. This magic window is the television. The lady does not care for it.

Nearly everyone has a TV in their house; some have the fancy curved 65-inch smart TV that connects to the internet. Others make do with the older 14-inch screen TV that looks like it has a projector hooked behind it. Even houses with ceilings that have holes and the water leaks when it rains, make sure to have it. Not just that. A satellite dish has also become a necessity. It is as if they give them out for free. It is hard to place blame, though. A TV that does not receive satellite programming is like a phone without any voice or internet credit. It is basically pointless.

Growing up, having a TV was considered a measure of wealth and prestige. Only a few in cities had them. Before my parents got one, I used to go to the neighbours to watch shows. It would be the highlight of my day. We have come a long way as a society, where digital contraptions are a mainstay.

But not for the lady I met. She does not watch TV and does not have one in her room. She confessed that even when growing up, she was not into it. She also does not follow the news. Some claim she is ignorant, but she says she is trying to keep her inner peace. And it is not like she does not know what is happening in the world. She updates herself with the world's major news when necessary but does not obsess over it.

This may sound something like not having a social media account. Someone jibed on Twitter that not having a social media account is not a personality and made me laugh. It is true in a sense that those people who do not have an account say it proudly. But in the era where everything is connected to the internet, not being on social media does give one a unique personality if it is not meant just for the sake of being different from others. But not watching TV is a personality.

A few days ago, the power went out in our house during the day. There was no TV, or WiFi and my phone’s battery was dying. I had no idea what to do with myself. I kept praying for the light to come so I could turn the TV on, probably to a cartoon channel to calm down the kids so I could focus on whatever I was going to do. The funny thing was that I did not have anything to do. And yet, I wanted that background noise - the silence was deafening.

When the kids went to another room to play with their toys, I was left in the living room by myself, staring at a blank TV and checking if the power returned every five minutes. I wondered how the lady who does not have a TV spends her days. The irony was that I was not even that into broadcasts. Often, while the TV was on, I was on my phone, talking to the kids or doing something else. But the fact that it was not on that day made me bored.

We have gotten hooked on media. It is like we are bored with our lives and want some sort of distraction. We have to watch a show, a movie or something alluring to feel alive. It is like a drug. TV and the internet are not entirely useless, but we should not depend on them. It has pushed itself into our lives, and we often consider it a household necessity, like a couch. Whether or not it is that important is yet to be answered.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 17,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1159]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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