About a year ago my 7 year old daughter asked me an interesting question, she asked me why we all had to watch the news every night at 6? Well I told her, it is important to keep up with world events and know what is going on the world and I like it. (just like my dad explained to me when I asked the same question at her age) then she told me she doesn't like it because it is all sad news of people hurting each other and dying. I had no answer for her, so after pondering for the entire night I made a decision, a decision I announced to the family just before 6pm that night. I told them I will no longer be watching the news at home. The news was officially barred from our television. Then I proceeded to tell them why I had reached this decision.
It was a personal decision although I felt I should let them know why I had decided to eliminate the news from our television and here I will explain it to you also. Although the news is a valuable source of information, it is designed to hit us in the shock area of our brain to keep us watching. They seem to prioritise the news this way by placing the most shocking news in 1st place, and the cute surfing/skateboarding dog seems to get a small mention at the very end of the news, sometimes the end credits and music are interrupting the only feel good story of the entire hour.
Why is all the local and world horror thrown at us before financial news and sports? When was the last time we had news without a terrorist linked attack or plan of attack or a near miss? The news tells us what to talk about at work the next day and if you spend the next day talking about the terrible news in the world all you are doing is amplifying the pain and for what?? Wouldn't your time be better spent trying to help the people suffering?
This is where we begin to come up with the excuses, such as 'how can I help when there is so much bad in the world, I am only one person' well my thought pattern now tells me that If I watch all this suffering on the news and do nothing to stop it.....am I not using the news as a source of entertainment? Think of it this way, how do you feel when you trip over and get hurt and everyone just stares at you like you are the show? Well I am the person who comes over to help you up and minimise your embarrassment, sometimes I even speak loudly and say 'well I wasn't just going to watch you struggle getting up' and I stare back at the starers as if to say, empathise people!
This happened at my local shops not long ago when an elderly lady tripped on her walker, and for over 5 seconds people watched and stared as she struggled to get up. I was there immediately while giving a dirty look to the staring crowd and it was only then that a younger girl sitting down decided to get up and help me help the elderly lady. The young girl would have continued staring had I not have given the look but I was glad to have the help and hopefully I have taught the young girl that it doesn't hurt to help others.
You don't have to stare with the crowd, you can be different and make a difference in the world. I am doing it right now by sharing my thoughts with you. If you can gain anything positive from my writings then I have in a way helped you.
So watching the news is alerting me to all of the evils happening in the world and I can not possibly help all of the people affected. But what I can do is choose a particular foundation that I feel strongly about and donate, perhaps look in my local area for families that I can assist in rebuilding a burnt down home, donate clothes, money or even labour to help clean. I am not helping anyone by saying 'oh look at those poor people suffering' but I can actually say how can i stop those people suffering? What would I want if I was in that position, I guarantee it is not for people to be staring at me on the 6 o clock news.
By now you may be saying well how can I find out about these people if I don't watch the news? Believe me there is enough social media stories telling you the news already, what I am saying is don't amplify it every night by watching it in a movie format that is clearly designed as entertainment and to target advertising at you.
Then there is the other reason I think people watch the news....to see celebrities doing silly things. Sex tapes, online screw ups, drink driving etc. whatever bad behaviour they have done or even personal experiences they are having, somehow this is entertainment? Maybe we like seeing them screw up because it makes us feel better about our lives? When I realised this was why I enjoyed celebrities in the media, I decided I will focus more on my own life and stop comparing myself to ANYBODY because it is counter productive. If I look at celebrities at there worst in order to make me feel better about my own life, I have serious problems. I am also not improving my life I am finding ways to justify my life being stale and repetitive and not growing. These reasons are adding to the 6 o clock news ban.
The final and most important reason for not watching the news, loss of family time. Around 6 o clock we are normally having dinner and we should be talking about our days experiences and sharing fun times, connecting without WIFI is what I like to call it. When the news was on in the background I would constantly be shushing my daughter or partner to hear the next shock story on the news. That no longer happens, if the television is on it will be something we can all enjoy and participate in. Ironically we enjoy Family Feud, coming up with silly answers to survey questions gets us all laughing but hey that's just us. Whatever makes your family happy is where it's at, and in my opinion, the news will not do that. There are enough distractions out there in life and to amplify the negatives just seems ridiculous. If you live alone there are many good shows online these days to entertain you, don't fall victim to the news on television.
I hope you can take something positive from this article and work into making your life happier as mine has become this last year, I am closer to my family and we laugh more at night. I hope people in less fortunate places can find happiness in there life too as it is a priceless commodity that you simply have to seek. Happiness has a different meaning for everyone, search for it and you will yours.