Videos. They’re everywhere. We usually think of the TV or the movie theater when we think of watching something longer than 10 minutes, but we forget how many short clips we watch during the day. Since I stopped watching videos on October 1st, I’ve noticed how many videos I could have watched while online. During an average day I probably click play over a dozen times and probably more! Videos autoplay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, they pop up in emails, on your feeds, on every news site and many blogs and we’re bombarded with TVs everywhere we go.
Video is a fantastic way to share and get information quickly. They make us laugh, cry, smile, and get angry. After a long day at work it’s great to relax with my wife and watch a favorite movie or laugh at a few short comedy sketches. News has never been the same since television and online videos. Videos are constantly used to educate, uplift, inform and entertain. They are a great creative and social medium which has changed the world.
Yet, despite all of these great things, I think that we often become too saturated in a world of videos. We are bombarded with ads, we save hundreds of hours of shows to watch later, we spend hours a day sitting in front of screens, we ignore our children or use video to distract them and we watch the world through a 4 inch screen rather than explore it for ourselves.
This month I have been mindful of how many times I’m tempted to watch online videos or flip on the TV. I am astounded at the number of times I’ve had the urge to watch something. Like the urge to check social media, the draw to videos is powerful. There have been some nights after work when that’s all I wanted to do!
But life after videos has also helped me be aware of how much time I really have in a day. Video easily steals away our time as we click “play” over and over. I have written more these past two weeks than in previous months. My wife and I have spent more time outdoors and actually talking to each other. When we’re with family we talk, laugh and play games more. Instead of watching a movie on Saturday night, we went on a 3 hour hike and made dinner together.
I’m not calling for an all-out ban on all forms of video entertainment. I do think that taking a break, stepping back and realizing how often we watch videos will benefit all of us. Start small by going without video for one hour or one evening. Unplug the TV for a week or cut back on YouTube videos for a few days. See if you notice a difference. Do you have more time? Do you seem happier? Does your family spend more time looking at each other instead of a screen? What can you do instead of watching TV or online videos?
We’re nearly halfway through October. Will you join me for the #VideoFreeOctober challenge for the last few weeks of October? If you don’t think you’re up for the challenge, try something smaller. Maybe no videos in the morning or only one TV show per week? You can tailor this for wherever you are in life. Share your ideas, thoughts and concerns in the comments below.