About three years ago, I decided I wanted my own TV. I was freshly 17 and wanted to take “the step” into my own privacy in watching content. Around this time as well, as I went to a private school with provided laptops, websites like YouTube, Netflix, etc. were all blocked from access, and it was when we hit senior school that we could finally access these sites on our own accord. Over time, the split between family content viewing and personal viewing in my own life has changed massively.
We couldn’t always agree on television shows. I always wanted to watch The Simpsons, which my parents don’t enjoy. The only way I could access it was DVD box sets I had already watched, or new episodes on Channel 10. Now, I could find any cartoon including The Simpsons and binge it until I’m dead. However, shows like Big Brother, with an interesting edge excited our entire family for some reason and we watched it. Now, having younger teenage sisters, we watch similar reality television shows such as Married at First Sight or The Bachelor.
It’s interesting to look at the shows that are uniting families. In a world where there are television series created straight to online access, lots of families are looking towards ‘fast content’. There are notable shows that pull in massive viewerships, such as Game of Thrones on TV and Stranger Things on Netflix, however there is so much reality TV that thrives itself on scandals and challenges.
The television was an event. It was like a cinema in your lounge room. You had a small array of channels and if you wanted to watch other content, you would be finding your nearest video hire store to find movies. I remember I used to find lots of comedies and take them home, which really formed my humour in my early teens. I remember when something was on, it was ON. I would tune in every week for new episodes of Doctor Who.
When I look at my sisters, aged 14 and 11, iPads and iPhones with YouTube, TikTok and Instagram give quick and easy video content and Netflix and Stan give longer and curated content, while whatever is on TV is reserved for the whole family. My parents will only watch the TV without us if it is a Netflix show that they will stay up until sunrise to watch as they have addictive personalities – I know this as it’s passed on to me.
For me and TV, it’s a love hate relationship. I never had access to Foxtel or various services where I could extend my viewership and broaden what I watched – but now, I have a TV in my room with a Google Chromecast, and it’s also not connected to any TV channels. I can choose what I watch and I can switch between whatever I want. I like choice – however, I do love being around my family and watching a trashy show or even joining in on my parent’s binge watching sessions, and sometimes my sisters will watch various internet memes with me. I like how I can use this screen in a way that is customisable when it seemed to only be a stream of children shows, Neighbours or Home and Away, depending on mum’s mood, Simpsons if I was lucky and to finish it all off, a show that mum or dad was into and I had no choice. Probably Top Gear. At least now I have all the Doctor Who I could ever want.