Fine Tuning

By Lisa M. Grover

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    Television can be wonderful—through it we can learn about the world around us, be entertained, and even spread the gospel message. However, television is good only in appropriate doses. Here are some things to think about the next time you sit down in front of the TV.

    Before watching TV, ask yourself a few questions. Have you—

    • Finished your schoolwork?

    • Helped around the house or the yard?

    • Gotten some exercise?

    • Read your scriptures?

    • Talked to members of your family to find out how their day was?

    Instead of watching TV, you could—

    • Make a list of several things you’ve always wanted to do—then start doing one of them!

    • Write in your journal.

    • Read the Liahona.

    • Spend time with your family. (Then they won’t be tempted to watch, either.)

    • Learn to play a musical instrument or increase your practice time.

    When you do watch TV, do it selectively. Here’s how:

    • Set a time limit for how much television you watch each day or each week.

    • Decide what you’re going to watch before you watch it. Try to select worthwhile programs.

    • Devise an incentive program. After you’ve done your homework or read something worthwhile, reward yourself with a half-hour of television.

    • Use your television time to be more informed about current events by watching the news or other public information programs.

    • If something comes on the television that is vulgar or inappropriate, turn it off!

    Think you can’t live without television? Youth in the Penasquitos First Ward in San Diego, California, went on a television “fast” for a month. Here’s what three of the young women said about the experience:

    “Although I missed some of my favorite shows, I didn’t miss some of the bad influences usually shown on TV.”
    —Anne Hansen, 16

    “During the time I didn’t watch television, I was trying to decide where to go to college and found the peace of mind to be able to pray and receive the answer I needed.”
    —Carrie David, 18

    “This was a hard thing for me to do, but I feel that not watching TV has helped me be nicer to other people.”
    —Tiffany Clark, 13

    So what’s the problem anyway? What kind of influence does television have? Here’s what some seminary students had to say:

    “If you watch too much TV, you have less time for studies and homework.”
    —Coby Page, 17

    “If you have a belief system, then that will determine what shows you watch. If you don’t have a belief system, the shows you watch might determine what you believe.”
    —Candi Nickel, 17

    “Watching TV gives you less time to spend talking and doing worthwhile things with your family.”
    —Cara Adair, 17

    “Sometimes, on television, it looks like people who are doing bad things are having a good time doing it. That can affect the way you see things.”
    —Melodie Moore, 17

    Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh