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How computing killed the television star

By Jules Quartly (China Daily)

10:25, June 06, 2012

There's a revolution going on in my living room. The focus has shifted, away from TV and toward all the other screens that we have.

Like most people I know, passively sitting in front of the TV is a thing of the past, and we're just as likely to be waving a motion-control remote at it in some new gaming universe. Even watching a soccer match is a multimedia event, as I get real-time comment from The Guardian on the laptop and converse with friends on the phone's free messenger WhatsApp.

As a family, we simply don't have the time or inclination to watch much terrestrial or even satellite TV. While the Spring Festival Gala, blue-chip events like the Olympics and our weekly Friday night video (usually a download that I put on a USB) still unites us around the tube, the rest of the time it is secondary to the mobile phone, iPad and computer screens.

My 2-year-old loves slinging angry birds into houses or slashing fruit, while my 4-year-old is rapidly leaving me behind on the lower levels of games like Cut the Rope, To-Fu and Jetpack.

I don't teach them to play. Rather, I leave the phone somewhere and it disappears with them into some quiet corner of the apartment, where they fiddle with their thumbs (literally) for 20 minutes or so, before finding some other diversion. Needless to say, I can never find my phone.

My laptop has been commandeered, too. The older kid has worked out how to open it up, get online and search for "Dora" from Dora the Explorer on Tudou and Youku, which screen the kiddy show. She has also asked me to bookmark the cartoon Tu Tu and Justin Bieber.

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