The average Briton frittered away 24.5 hours a week in front of the idiot box as of November 2012, according to a survey conducted by video-on-demand service Blinkbox. A separate study from Ofcom published in March 2012 found Brits spent 15 hours a week online. This amounts to nearly 40 hours every seven days staring at an illuminated screen of some description. Just imagine what else you could be doing with this time. If you fancy packing the TV and Internet in for a while, you'll be able to plug the gap they leave with relative ease, and may just find life that little bit richer as a consequence of your decision.
All but the most hardened of news junkies should have little trouble getting their fill of current affairs without using the Internet or watching TV. It may be true that stories that appear in physical newspapers are yesterday's news by the time they hit newsstands, but would being 12 hours behind the curve really make that much difference to your life? If you must have your finger on the pulse, listen to the BBC or commercial talk radio. Failing that, try ignoring the news. The Swiss novelist Rolf Dobellifear argued in a 2013 essay that the consumption of news can lead to aggression and fear and inhibits creative thinking, so perhaps you'd do well to layoff it altogether.
Online shopping, and to a much lesser degree cable and freeview shopping channels, are killing the high street. Buying goods and services from the comfort of your own home may be easy and convenient, but it doesn't do much for small- and medium-sized businesses. Even established firms are increasingly finding it difficult to compete. January 2013 saw Blockbuster and HMV go to the wall, largely thanks to people downloading and streaming music and film online. Think about whether it's really too much effort to get out of your seat and visit your local town centre. If you walk, you'll get some fresh air and exercise into the bargain. You also won't have to pay any delivery charges.
People did manage to amuse themselves before the invention of both the television and the Internet, and arguably in more worthwhile ways. Visit your local book store or library as opposed to downloading your reading material to your tablet. Pop along to the cinema if there's something you particularly fancy seeing. Take up cooking or a sport. Again, if you're in the mood for some comedy or drama that you don't have to read, take a look at the radio schedules. Get yourself down to your local independent record store instead of downloading your tunes from huge online corporations or stealing artists' creations through torrent sites.
It's not difficult to argue that "social" media is anything but. There's only so much friendship and companionship that can be conveyed in 140 characters or by "Liking" inane comments and pictures posted to social media profiles. Instead of conversing with your friends or complete strangers online, get out and meet real people in the flesh. Visit pubs restaurants, clubs and bars, or invite your real buddies to your place to listen to music, chat, drink and generally make merry.
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- MailOnline: Time well spent? Average Briton spends nine years of their life watching TV – with three years wasted on "rubbish" and repeats
- The Telegraph: Britons spend 15 hours a week on average on the internet, research finds
- The Guardian: News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier
- The Guardian: Has e-commerce killed the high street?