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You inspire and encourage! I think the world needs more families like yours -- so creative and conversational with each other. It sounds like you experienced TV like many experience books. You and your family created your own visions of the story and characters. I definitely agree with you that the family needs to be the safe place where everyone can share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences.
Reading, gardening, walks, hobbies, riding, sports, helping family or neighbors, work on the home and social visits used to dominate most of western culture prior to the television. I think we have an ingrained desire to entertain (or otherwise occupy) ourselves.
Television brings us the news and vast stores of knowledge. But most news has become a spin-session and few people really watch documentaries. While both of these are good on their surface, they have their downsides: The news you get is what someone thinks will sell ads (and not just the commercials you skip - many shows themselves are designed to create a 'desirable' fashion, automobile or lifestyle so you go spend your money). The documentaries aired can give an real appreciation and basic concept of what's being discussed, but it's no substitute for active engagement (where that's possible).
Most people watch movies, sitcoms or other shows that are strictly entertainment. In this act, the body is virtually motionless; our reflexes slow, our heartbeats hibernate and our mind goes numb - clouding the mental faculties. I'd suspect that these negative effects probably apply to the internet (depending on what you do with it). There are a myriad of studies that decry the destructiveness television has done to our culture, ability to get along, sense of community and (perhaps most notably) the development of the human intellect in children.
While I'll be the first to stand and applaud what it's given us - its come at a price. And with such a simple, effortless way to 'plug in' and relegate living to those on the screen, its far too seductive (as an entertainment means) for our own good. I don't ever see it going away; the smartest thing we can do is to exercise self discipline to minimize the damage it does us.
Just my thoughts
Technology will never be voluntarily ignored, or unused, will it? When faced with boredom, and doing something else, even if it's TV, and maybe because it's so easy, we will do it. Path of least resistance, right?