Statistics Canada has just published statistics about Canadian television viewing in Fall 2004 (via CBC). I loved TV once, and as I sit by its deathbed, I’m torn between wanting to hold onto it just a little longer and hoping for its suffering to end.
Not many years ago, before panicking about the Internet became fashionable, Moms-Who-Like-To-Worry were concerned that their kids were watching too much TV. Many moms even restricted or banned TV in their houses, ensuring that their kids would spend most of their after-school and weekend time at friends houses doing <so-called>homework</so-called>. Well, it turns out that by the middle of this decade, kids couldn’t care less — Canadian teens spent only about 12.9 hours/week watching TV, half the average for all ages. Men 18-24 spent only 12.4 hours watching TV. That still represents nearly two hours per day, which seems to me like a lot, but it’s been declining steadily over the years.
In contrast, now that their kids have left the nest and it’s safe to turn the TV back on, the Moms-Who-Once-Liked-To-Worry cannot tear themselves away — Canadian women over 60 watched 35.6 hours of TV a week, which is pretty close to a full-time job in North America or three full-time jobs in France. I wonder if their now-grown, formerly TV-deprived kids phone home once in a while just to yell “HYPOCRITE!” at them.
Teenagers don’t watch much TV, I think, because it cuts into their text messaging time (except maybe as background noise). Young males would rather play videogames or misrepresent themselves on MySpace. So who watches TV? Same as it always was: the Baby Boomers. TV was born with the boomers and perhaps it will die with us, even if we don’t get most of the jokes on the The Daily Show.