Kill your TV!

Barbara - posted on 07/30/2010 ( 41 moms have responded )

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So, my sister in law has a six year old that she's raising in a no TV house. At first I thought she was fanatical, but after doing a little research on how it affects children we decided to pawn ours as well. We've been without it for a couple of months and I think it's been one of the best decisions we've ever made. What do you ladies think of doing away with TV?

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Tara - posted on 08/01/2010

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@ Lee
My children do have limits and boundaries, just not with some things. And they do not need to be "taught" self-control, they learn it by living in the environment we bring them up in.
They do not get to do whatever they want whenever they want. They have chores, they have school work, they have other commitments like volunteering etc. they simply make choices about their free time. And they make good choices, they are very independent and self-aware children. They will turn the TV off when they are done watching what they choose to watch.
My oldest is almost 17, he was raised the same as my younger ones, he watches little TV, has a few shows he loves to watch like Daily Planet etc.
People underestimate kids and what they are capable of when they are raised to be accountable for themselves.
Tara

[deleted account]

We turned our cable off shortly after our son turned 1 yr and have never missed it. We have one TV in our home and it is turned OFF until after dinner each night.

I have considered getting rid of it, but we do use it a good bit for games--my son has a Wii and My husband has PS2 & PS3. We play those together after dinner several nights a week, but we play board games a couple of nights a week too now that my son is old enough to play some fun ones.



I have ADD and I HATE the TV being on "in the background" it makes it impossible for me to focus. I have an aunt and a couple of friends who keep their TV on 24/7 and it is difficult to visit b/c you have to talk over the TV and the people talking on TV interrupt my thoughts. Also, the flickering light annoys me--it is like a constant tug to look at the TV :( I realize I am in the minority with that irritation, but I know it is b/c of my ADD and I hate to hear mothers complain about their child's ADHD, but know that they leave the friggin TV on all day. Several studies linked TV exposure to increased symptoms of ADHD (only in children where symptoms were already present) and I have to say--It's true. I am so much more relaxed and focused when there is not this eternal distraction, and so is my son, even though he does not have ADD or ADHD (yes I know they have been combined, but I don't think it is accurate, so I keep separating them :P)

That's my rant! :)

Tara - posted on 08/01/2010

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My kids have unfettered access to day time TV. (takes the duck and cover position) lol

We homeschool our children. They are free range kids. They can choose to watch tv, use the wii, use the computer, go to the park, library, friends houses etc.
They know when they have had too much tv, they do not watch much at all in fact. If they choose to turn it on, my rules are simple. They know what channels they can watch and they know they must turn it off when they are done. Simple. I don't need to be the TV time monitor. They monitor themselves. Even my 5 year old know when she has watched enough. She knows if she is yawning, can't sit still, isn't interested in what is on etc. than she will choose to do something else. No one forces them to watch TV. They choose to watch, they choose to not watch. This system works great in our home. The TV is rarely on, there are no battles about who has watched too much tv etc.
If they want to watch something in particular they will write it down on the white board in the kitchen Example: "I'm watching Dog Whisperer from 5 till 6 ~~~ Alyssa" and that way no one is fighting over who wants to watch what when.
They also choose more interesting programming than most of their peers. This is because they have also been taught from a young age that TV can be very useful for information.
I think a lot of it depends on your lifestyle and how comfortable you are letting your kids make those kinds of choices on their own. None of my children have EVER sat in front of the tv day in and day out. But I have a friend and after she had dental surgery last year she lifted the TV rules for awhile when she was recuperating, her kids sat there all day watching fluff just cause they had no rules. But after day two they gave it up and moved on to other things.
Most kids will allow their internal guidance system to tell them when they have had enough of the boob tube, brain sucker, idiot box etc.
It works for us!!

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Bailey - posted on 09/02/2010

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We got rid of ours over a year ago. I agree, it was the best decision we ever made. Television, and commercials in particular are not suitable for children of any age in my opinion. I occasionally let my children watch a dvd on the computer, but only ones that I have pre-screened.

Michelle - posted on 08/03/2010

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We don't have TV... we have a TV- but there is no cable offered where I live and we don't want to fork out the money for sat. My daughter has movies that she likes to watch from time to time, but would much rather be outside. I don't see anything wrong with a little TV every now and again, as long as the TV's not the one raising the child!

Jane - posted on 08/02/2010

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Couldn't do it and wouldn't do it. My experience with TV is this...my kids are 20 and almost 17...both straight A honor students...my oldest is on a full scholarship to college and my son will be in the same position when he goes. TV was "sorta" regulated but not really. They're HUGE readers (books have cost me more than all the TV's we've ever owned in this house - LOL), artistic, love music, etc. They've both always had TV's in their rooms but ya know what? They watched only certain things by their own choosing. Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and the History Channel were all favorites and still are. They actually learned a ton from TV. I think when you make it too important and try to over control, it becomes something untouchable, hence they want it more. It's just another form of entertainment in our home and it is what it is. Does that make sense?

So, no...won't be ever giving up my TV! But, I don't judge others for doing so...if they want to do that, more power too them.

Jenny - posted on 08/02/2010

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TV's are for so much more than just watching TV these days. I will never part with my 52" Bravia. For one, it's networked with my PC so I can access all of my music on my house stereo as well as stream movies and surf YouTube. Sony offers a radio service called Slacker that is very good. The Modern Blues station is on permanant rotation around here. We also have a Wii and PS3 that are used fairly reguarly.

There's a few shows I follow like True Blood and the Daily Show. The kids are allowed about an hour a week which is usually spent on Bugs Bunny reruns on the weekends mornings. They never really ask during the week and like Tara's, will turn it off when done. I avoided the whole Hannah Monata phase and don't get asked for the latest and greatest toys constantly. So far, so good.

Jessica - posted on 08/02/2010

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I forgot about commercials, they are another BIG reason (actually probably the biggest) for wanting to limit my childrens' TV in the future. They have such a huge affect on kids- my little brother and sister (11 and 9 now) have always had unlimited tv. And though they are generally really good kids, I remember when they were younger I would come visit and all they would talk about was this or that, that they saw a commercial for on tv and how much they wanted it sooo bad and HAD to have it. I just couldn't believe the affect simply seeing commercials for stuff had on them. Totally contributes to that gimme gimme attitude and I don't like that at all!

Tara - posted on 08/02/2010

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@Jamie,

Yes I agree that if we sat around all day and watched TV, our children would probably watch more of it. The fact that I don't watch TV except very occasionally at night, likely has something to do with my kids tv habits. They have never been told they can't watch TV, they know the channels they can watch and they ALWAYS turn it off when they are done. I say always in caps because I can't stand the sound of a TV on for background noise!!

Oh and regarding commercials, I am raising my children to be conscious consumers. They hate advertising. lol

When they see something like a new Barbie etc. they make comments like "there's nothing wrong with my old barbie" or "I don't want to buy that it had to come all the way from the other side of the world!!"

Smart kids, even smarter because we don't treat them like they are incapable of making wise choices.

Tara

Barbara - posted on 08/02/2010

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Nikki- I think the fact that he is drawn to the commercials just proves they are working right. I mean, they're designed to get people's attention! Even before we tossed out the tv I started muting the commercials because I didn't like the way my son watched and sometimes repeated bits of them.
I saw a documentary about this man who escaped Cuba in the 80's because he didn't want to live under Castro. He said that everywhere you looked in Cuba there was more communist propaganda, telling you to love the regime and love Castro. All the tv shows, all the billboards, everything was focused on that. He felt like it was brainwashing and risked his life to leave.
Anyway, when he got to America he found that we do the same thing here, except instead of telling us to follow a regime, ours is telling us to go out and buy stuff. Stuff stuff and more stuff and throw away the old and go get some new stuff. Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?

Nikki - posted on 08/01/2010

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My son is only 14 months and he has absolutely no desire to watch tv, we never wanted him to be glued to the television either. We wanted him to be more active and play outside then sit on the couch later on, But honestly he wont watch anything, no cartoons, animal shows, regular tv nothing....BUT the second a COMMERCIAL comes on he stops dead in his tracks and glues his eyes to the television I dont know why, first it was certain commercials but now he will watch anything and then the second the show comes back on he goes back to running around.

I have so many shows I watch ritually I PVR everything, Its my night time relaxtion before bed. I will continue to make sure my son focuses on other things , but I dont think we would get rid of our television

Jaime - posted on 08/01/2010

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Tara, I was reading through your comments and you bring up some very interesting points. I will admit I don't know much about the free-range parenting style, but I don't doubt it can work. One thing I will say with regard to your kids knowing their own personal t.v. limits; I agree to an extent that they can decide when they've had enough, BUT I also think that if they saw mom and dad sitting in front of the t.v. all day, they might be more inclined to do so as well. So limits and boundaries still come in handy because from what you've said you don't watch a lot...so (learning by example), neither do your children.

Lea - posted on 08/01/2010

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Tara - thanks for explaining that you do provide structure and limits because your first post didn't say anything about that. I think the fundamental question we are dealing with here is: Left to their own devices, do children make good choices or bad? I think perhaps it may have something to do with the specific environment they live in which way they get swayed.

[deleted account]

I would not get rid of my tv the hubby would kill me but I only put it on in the day if I want to watch something I have recorded. My son rarely watches tv, although he is only 9 months so he will probably start watching more as he gets older. I think limited tv is a great tool but only when used correctly, and as I have said before the tv should not be on all day!

Barbara - posted on 08/01/2010

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Tara- We were raised in a "free range" style, though they weren't calling it that then. I do think it is a great way to raise kids, and we definitely use a modified version in our home.
We had unlimited access to tv, and it slowly took over our world. By the time my parents noticed, it was too late for us. They tried removing the cable one summer, but we just sat inside watching soap operas and judge wapner half the time, even though we thought they were pretty boring.
Maybe we were just more susceptible than most are to tv addiction, I don't know. I just think people underestimate what a powerful attention-stealing force it is, and how hard it is to ignore it when it's right there. Like I said before, I would've told you our tv watching was totally under control and not affecting our family that much when we had one. Now that it's gone I can see what a difference it made in our lives, and it scares me.

Lea - posted on 08/01/2010

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Tara... how do your children learn limits and self-control if they have none and can do whatever they please?

ME - posted on 08/01/2010

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We don't have cable...I'm far more concerned with the effects of commercials, than I am with watching a program on a tv...Miles can watch any PBS show he wants, and he can watch some of the movies made for kids. We have netflix on our blueray player tho...this makes it a lot easier...

Lea - posted on 08/01/2010

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It helps me get some peace and distracts my son. If you don't have it on all day, your kid doesn't get desensitized to it and when you need it, such as when you are cooking, it works. You can also be smart and choose good programs and movies rather than allowing your kids to channel surf and watch god knows what.

Amie - posted on 08/01/2010

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I can live without t.v., I've done it in the past.

It's not a huge deal but we won't. Our kids don't watch a lot of t.v. as it is. Especially now that it's summer. If they watch a half hour a day I'm surprised. From the time they get up until they go to bed they're out playing with their friends in the neighborhood, bouncing around each others houses.

Winter time is a bit more sucky. It gets freaking cold out there. When it's too cold to go outside and they start pulling each others hair out, yea they'll watch more t.v. Not a big deal to us.

I don't think my husband would even mind it, well except he'd probably miss his games. LOL!

We all read a lot. We do have a family movie night. We also have other activities we do together, games, bike rides, taking the quads out, outings around the city, etc.

T.V. is just fine so long as its used in moderation, just like most things in life and child rearing.

Stifler's - posted on 08/01/2010

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I think no because I like tv. I just don';t turn it on unless I want to watch something and Logan isn't old enough to watch tv yet anyway so I'll get back to you.

Sharon - posted on 07/31/2010

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Holly - we do family movie nights too - tomorrow night its Clash of the Titans and we'll make smores in the livingroom. Its to wet to have a bonfire outside right now.

And I just posted to my wall a bit ago - we were all jamming to Travie McCoy - Billionaire - it was a ton of fun - I love it when our current favorite song comes up on the sirius tv/radio station. Fireflies by Owlcity was one of our big favorites too.

[deleted account]

Yup...I'm one of those people that keep the TV on for background noise. But we do get Sirius satellite radio on through the Dish network so sometimes I play music. But I;'m not giving up my TV and I do monitor what my son was watching. Today was a perfect example because after too much Spongebob I told him to turn the TV off and go play.

Here's something interesting though. I had a college instructor who was my age a few years ago, maybe 33, 34 years old. She was the youngest of 5 kids in her family. They were all raised with no TV in the home. Books and lots of family outings. All 5 of those kids were their high school class valedictorian & saluditorian. Obviously those parents did something right, had a great academic gene pool, and turned on education over the TV.

Charlie - posted on 07/31/2010

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I think it would look way too funny playing my PS3 without a screen :D

Barbara - posted on 07/31/2010

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Caitlin- I was the worst holdout for getting rid of the tv! As I said before, I'm a total addict. My husband dislikes the tv, but he was patient with me and I finally came to the decision on my own. Just keep the complaints mild, build a good, non confrontational argument, and be patient. It totally worked on me.

[deleted account]

We turned our cable off, but we keep the tv. For one thing, all our game systems (the XBox and the Wii) are hooked up to it. My hubby's needs his "me" time and plays on the XBox (which we also use as a DVD player) and my oldest plays all kinds of educational and coordination enhancing games on her Wii (yes, it is hers. It was a Christmas present from a family member who feels the need to buy our daughter's love, but I digress...).

My 2 1/2 year-old is obsessed with Barbie movies (we're watching The Diamond Castle right now! lol), so I let her watch one once in a while and I swear I have a few Dora episodes memorized (we only have 2 Dora DVDs, so we watch the same 8 episodes over and over again). Where we live, it gets well over a hundred degrees (F) all summer long and it is literally impossible to take the kids outside for more than an hour or so at a time without them getting heat stroke (no matter how much water they drink - which is a lot). So, while they play with crayons or blocks or cars, I put on some Dora or Barbie in case they just want to chill (yes, the pun is intended! lol). Also, in the winter time, it can rain for weeks on end, so I have to keep the kids inside a lot and there's only so long the kids can entertain themselves while being stuck inside day after day after day.

Also, when my oldest is not in school (on weekends and school breaks) we have family movie nights all the time. The kids take turns choosing the movie and it's great to snuggle all together on the couch with some popcorn and watch movies. :) We also have family game night (with board games - our oldest is the Dominoes queen! She always gets way more points than us!) but it's hard to do it that often because the two little kids are always messing the games up.

I'm sure we could do without the tv and such, but of we don't have to then why would we? lol

Caitlin - posted on 07/31/2010

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I'd love to get rid of my TV, just to find out how much I could get done without it. I'm sure i'd get out for walks more, get more housework done, and more reading done and more quality time with my girls. I doubt it would ever fly with the hubby though. He's a TV whore like me.. *sigh*. I miss playing board games with him with him and laughing and having conversations, now I'm on debating mums and he's watching whatever he watches most nights.

Jessica - posted on 07/31/2010

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As long as you can control what your kids watch and how much, I see no reason to do away with it completely. Everything in moderation. Personally we don't have cable. I would love to have it, if only for a few channels... some kids channels, Animal Planet and Discovery Channels lol. But we just can't afford it. The tv is hooked up to our computer so the only way we watch anything is by downloading stuff or Netflix. I'm kind of glad my son is growing up with minimal/no TV, but if we had it I wouldn't mind letting him watch small amounts either.

Lyndsay - posted on 07/31/2010

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I rarely ever actually watch tv. My son watches maybe half an hour of a movie each day, the rest of the time its on for background noise while he's playing with his other toys and books.

Barbara - posted on 07/31/2010

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Blackbird and Siddhartha are our sons. It's the whole family, by the way. Their only cousin is named Tofu;)
We aren't hippies, though! I swear!!

Barbara - posted on 07/31/2010

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I was allowed unlimited access to TV as a child, and I have to say my brothers and I became irreconcilably addicted to it. It took me actually removing it from the house to realize how deep that addiction went. If you would've asked me pre-removal how much it affected our lives I would've told you "not much." I had it on during naptime and sometimes a little beyond that, and I would turn it on for the news, and sometimes to watch a show with the hubby after the kids had nodded off.
My two and a half year old son Blackbird watched Sesame Street about three times a week, and he would watch a dvd here and there, giving me a moment to get dinner started or something like that. Didn't seem like such a big deal.
As soon as it was gone we saw what a difference it made in our lives. Blackbird's ability to concentrate on one thing at a time changed dramatically within about a week of getting rid of it. I no longer feel like he needs something like a tv to keep him occupied so I can get something done, as his train set or some crayons actually hold him in absorbed play by himself. I feel like I have so much more energy, and I actually get things that I want to do done, like making fresh bread or whittling titles off the book list that has been waiting to be read. More importantly, we all spend so much more time having fun together. (And it's been great for our love life by the way;)
Now I feel like I've wasted so much time in front of this time/energy/motivation vampire that was sucking my life away, and was looking to steal away the lives of my sons. I just read that the average child spends the equivalent of a full time job in front of some kind of media entertainment source. That really scares me!
Maybe my position will change when our sons aren't so young, we will see. I thought it would be so hard to live without it, but now that it's gone I love the changes that it's absence has caused, and I really don't want it back!

[deleted account]

It's an excellent idea. In the past 10 years the only time I've had cable was the last 3 months of my twin pregnancy (bedrest) and the first 3 months of their lives. We had 'rabbit ears' for 2.5 years which got CBS for me and my ex and PBS for the kids. That's it for 'tv'.

We do have videos/dvds which I definitely allow the kids to take too much advantage of. They start back to school on Monday though, so I'm thinking of limiting those a bit more. At least w/ videos/dvds I do have a lot more control over what they are watching.

No electronic screens for at least the first several years of a child's life is actually ideal. I didn't quite go that route, but my girls were over 2 before they sat through their first (Blue's Clues or Dora) show.

LaCi - posted on 07/31/2010

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I'm not interested in getting rid of my television. I'm a movie junkie and I heart my video games. Since I've had a television in my room most of my life, I don't really buy into the *negative effects* television can have on children. I think it depends on the child.

However, yesterday I did decide I'm taking away all electronic toys and the television during the day and my son and I will spend the day, 7am-4pm, completely unplugged so I can work on his vocabulary. TV isn't really the problem because he doesn't pay much attention to it, but all those damn battery operated toys are an issue. Anyway, I'm trying an across the board ban on electronics to see what happens. My guess is, I'm going to have to deal with a lot of tantrums this week. :)

Danielle - posted on 07/30/2010

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No way.
If I wanna grab a shower, the only way I can is during a nap or if I put on Elmo's World.
I certainly don't believe in using TV as a babysitter but I do think it's okay for children to watch SOME TV. Try to keep it educational and make sure you spend lots of quality time with the kids and I think it's fine.
Anyways, I also enjoy my quiet TV time that I occasionally get after my son goes to bed. :)

[deleted account]

It's not hard to limit the amount of tv a child watches. We have one tv in the house, and intend to keep it that way. Husband likes sports and the news. I watch news and have a couple shows I keep up with when I have time. And we love to watch movies after our daughter's bedtime. Our lives do not revolve around the tv. But we get information and enjoyment from it.

That being said, in college I didn't have a tv for two years. I found other stuff to do, plus my grades were awesome those two years.

Yes, I could live without it. But I don't want to. So I just set limits. It's really not hard.

*Lisa* - posted on 07/30/2010

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I could live without TV, but I don't want to ;)
I guess if it's ruling your life and becoming an addiction and you can't control what your kids watch then you should get rid of it. But there are studies to show that everything is dangerous and damaging. It's all about moderation. Being a parent and controlling what your kids can and can't watch and how many hours etc.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 07/30/2010

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I have my fav shows that come on at night, other then that my tv is more like a background sound CNN pretty much on 24/7. I'm a big reader and I'm on the net more then tv....my 7year old is higly active outside, he plays the Wii more then tv, so.......i could not do away with our tv's, more because they are all Flats and were too much $..lol

Sara - posted on 07/30/2010

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WE don't have cable, though we do have a TV. I don't see anything wrong with watching a little PBS kids (which is the only channel we get anymore) or putting in a Dora DVD when I'm trying to cook dinner. She still plays with toys, we still do things together, but I was raised with a TV and I'm a fairly normal person. You have to do what is right for your family.

Sharon - posted on 07/30/2010

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NO.

I enjoy my tv. I like reading more. My kids watch a couple of hours each week and I don't see the harm in that.

Even my teenager isn't all that into tv.

Maybe other families have an issue controlling their viewing habit but we do not.

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