Channel Surfing Through Generations


The continuous change of television culture is inevitable. What we watch, how we watch it and who we watch it with changes throughout the years. I look back at the cartoons and kids shows I used to watch when I was young and compare them to the ‘kids’ shows I see today. Personally I think my generation was able to appreciate the benefits of great cartoons (such as Wild Thornberrys, Rugrats, Arthur, Hey Arnold, CatDog and I could go on forever listing).

Not only have television shows changed but the way we watch television and who with has also changed. Originally during my childhood, our household only had one television, eventually we upgraded to having two (which decreased the remote control fights). The main rule we had with watching TV was, when it came to dinner time the TV must always be off. There were also shows my parents prevented me from watching as they were seen as inappropriate or ‘trash’.

I compared my television experience with both my parents and grandparents.

Mum– “When growing up we only had one television. I only remember having our first television when I was eight and it was black and white, shortly after we moved to Urunga (a small beach town for those who don’t know) we got our first coloured television.  As mum and dad (my grandparents) owned a motel and restaurant they would have to work during dinner time, so us kids would eat dinner and watch television. At 9.30 the television must be turned off as it was then time for bed. We barely watched television on the weekends as we would always be outside playing sports or down at the beach. When we did watch television as a family it always the news and there was no talking allowed.”

Dad– “I grew up with always having one television as well, we would watch it as soon as we got home from school, the most popular shows were Mickey Mouse Club, Gilligan’s Island, F-Troop and Disney Cartoons.  At dinner time the television had to be turned off and then after dinner we would watch shows like the News or Homicide as a family. We also started off with a black and white television until colour came out. “

There were some similarities between my parents as they both remember when colour TV came in, having only one TV and the shows they watched.

Both grandparents grew up with the radio and no television which was a completely different experience for them. They did not have televisions until my parents were kids, and of course those televisions looked completely different to the ones I grew up with.

It is interesting to see how much television has grown throughout each generation, with my grandparents only having a radio originally and experiencing introduction of television into their culture. My parents experiencing the excitement of the introduction coloured television and myself experiencing 3D TV and screens so thin I feel I could snap them in half.


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