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On Sunday there was a clip about depression on TV One, if you didn’t see it, you can catch it on TVNZ ondemand. The segment covers a couple of personal experiences, as well as having an interview with a Doctor. There is also some discussion on how to recognize depression in yourself, and others, and what should be done about it. Worth a watch.

A recent article has indicated that TV watching is higher in teenagers who later develop depression (see an article reporting on it here:  TV and depression). Now, there is a temptation to advocate that children shouldn’t watch any TV, but that would be a bit of an over reaction (those who were later diagnosed with depression watched 2.64 hours of TV a day versus 2.28 – that’s only 20 minutes difference) . However, there is wisdom in looking at what we’re watching on TV, why we’re watching it, and how it is affecting us.

TV can be bad for us if we’re using it to consistently escape from reality. TV can be very involving, and offer us a chance to relax, and get away from the stresses of the world – and it is entertaining! This is good, but if we spend too much time on such things, and avoid dealing with issues this can become negative.

TV can also be bad for us if we buy into it’s unrealistic world view. Depending on the shows you watch, the characters portrayed on TV are unvariably attractive, witty, have exciting lives filled with action and romance. If we compare our lives to life on screen we might find ourselves lacking, no matter how worthwhile our own lives actually are. The values that TV can promote may look exciting, but they are often removed from reality.

So, if you tend to watch a lot of TV,  it’s worth a think about it; what effect is TV having on you? Are you using it to escape from reality? Are you buying into unrealistic worldviews? If not, continue to enjoy it, but if so, this could be contributing to depression, and it might be worth changing your mindset, or your habits, or both.

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