I have fond memories of engaging with television throughout my life and for a long time, it was something that my family could share in together. Growing up with the absence of the wide range of content that is available online, families were forced to sit together on the couch and watch their favourite TV shows in current time. Whether it was watching the long-time running ‘Home and Away’ or being caught up in the latest episode of ‘The Block’, families were able to converse freely with each other about their days and spend quality time with each other.
An article by The Guardian titled ‘Watching TV is the only wholesome family time we have most days’reiterates the idea that in moderation TV can be beneficial within the family home in promoting bonding between family. Author Emma Beddington says “the rise of on-demand and streaming services has apparently triggered the demise of cozy family viewing sessions: new Ofcom research released last week paints a picture of a nation binge-watching solo on tablets and laptops rather than gathering together to squabble over the remote control” (Beddington, E 2017).
A prominent experience that I had as a child that surrounded television was binge watching episodes of ‘Kath and Kim’ with my Step Mum. She introduced the series to me and instantly I fell in love with the humorous portrayal of a mother, daughter relationship created by Gina Riley and Jane Turner. I never had the DVD’s at home, so I always loved visiting my Dad and getting to watch more episodes with her. It was something that I was able to bond with my Step Mum over and allowed me to feel more comfortable with her. It is never easy when one of your parents finds another partner, but by sharing these moments I was able to create a relationship with her and the transition through divorce was easier on me.
Source: My Step Mum and I
University of Wollongong Lecturer Sue Turnbull highlights within her lecture that our memory can teach us and “that our television/media experiences can have a deep ‘affect’ in terms of our emotions and understanding of the world” (Turnbull, S 2018) and “that our television memories are deeply embedded in our social experiences”. Through reflecting on the memories that I have shared with my Step Mum and the emotional significance that it has had in my life, these ideas raised by Turnball are further reiterated.
Reflecting on a television memory of my own, I realise that sadly this tradition is slowly becoming obsolete as streaming services such as ‘Netflix’, ‘Stan’ and “YouTube’ are offering a wider range of content for their audiences and more frequently. Family members are more likely now to access their entertainment within the comfort of their own room on a device rather than sitting together around the TV. Luckily though, I am able to hold on to the memories that I have had throughout my childhood where I didn’t have access to the large array of ways to access entertainment and were able to bond with my family.
- Turnbull, S (2018), Lecture, Week 2, ‘Shaping connections in qualitative research: Television in the home’, 3rd August2018