voluntary simplicity and no tv??? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-23-2008, 08:55 AM
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Hi to all,

I have a question and I am just looking for some feedback here.

I have 6 kids and I am a single working mom...so yeah, I'm busy. The thing is my kids are out of control...my house is a disaster because I cannot begin to keep up with all the messes they make. I seriously wonder what is wrong with them sometimes because as I am cleaning up one mess they are out deliberately making another worse one!

My question is this...does anyone think that getting rid of tv will help with how they behave?

I saw an article at the fall parent teacher conferences that outlined how the constant flash...with the exception of only the "Mr. Roger's Show"...of the tv added to adhd symptoms by shortening an already exceptionally short attention span. So, in an effort to reduce my usage of energy and live more simply, I thought of cancelling cable(not to mention it would be cheaper!) and selling the tv's(yay! and and much needed added income).

I know my family will flip out(my dad says the kids "need" something to watch) At this point I am a vegan, which my family is against...so I figure what's one more thing.

Now, I don't plan to simply cut out the tv and leave it at that. The idea with the tv is to get rid of distractions so that we can add in some other things like family reading time, individual reading time, lots of cooking lessons in the kitchen and, as the weather permits, camping and other fun outdoor activities. I also plan to take the money saved and use it towards a YMCA membership for all of us. I don't know how "living simply" that is...but it would give the kids an avenue to pursue things that interest them that I cannot provide for them at home like gymnastics and basketball.

So, there is my long and winding question...I hope it makes sense. I guess it boils down to do you think I should and do you think it's feasible. And if there is anyone who has done this (getting rid of tv or even never having one) I would love to hear some stories about how you did it or are doing it, how it's working out and what you see in your children or even in yourself compared to other "normal" people. (LOL, had to put that in there since every time I bring this subject up with people who know me they always say I am not normal!!!)

Thanks so much...I hope this was the right place to post this...I couldn't find anywhere else on here or even in other online forums that it seemed to fit.

Be well,

jean
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#2 Old 02-23-2008, 09:03 AM
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I think it might be a great idea, if you can stay committed to offering them other (better) ways to spend their time. TV often overstimulates the heck out of kids. Not all shows....many shows on Nat'l Geographic, Discovery, etc. are great for children, but the spastic crap on Cartoon Network and Nick is not allowed in our house except in VERY small doses. My son prefers to watch the History Channel because he loves to learn and it doesn't spaz him out.



With 6 kids, it is crucial to remain in control of the home. I have a friend with 5 children and she runs her home in a loving and fun manner but definitely also with military organization and precision. She is supermom. I know I couldn't do it. She says the key is respect, consistency, and responsibility.



Good luck.









Best of luck.
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#3 Old 02-23-2008, 09:44 AM
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I personally think it's a great idea. My only suggestion would be to simply make a no tv except for family movie time or something. this has worked for us. Well...we have a similar version of no tv on weekdays at all. in the evenings we read to each other, play games, sometimes go to the park or play outside.



About the messiness of your kids...I have a different suggestion for that. Put some toys in storage, and leave a limited number of toys out per child. it helps to have shelves where they can put their own toys away...and stop cleaning up after them. Sit down and have a family meeting explaining the changes you are puting in place...and let them know that you will be rotating their toys on a regular basis so that they can continue to enjoy them (only not all at once and all over the house). Explain to that you feel tired a lot and you just can't keep up with their messes. And...if they are old enough explain in terms of our planetary responsibility how important it is to clean up our own messes. Have a chore list...simple things that they can do that won't be too difficult but will give them the feeling of being part of the community rather than using you for a maid.



for instance, my daughter mentioned this week she wants an advance on her allowance to have money for a school trip. I said I wouldn't give her an advance, but I would add some extra chores to the list and when they were done properly and well....I will give her the money she needs (for buying souviners). Just so you know, I paid for the trip...she's not paying for that. She just wants to have a little money to spend.



and yes, add some reading times. My daughter is now ten, and we're reading Huck Finn...I've read her some great books that though she won't read on her own...she loves me reading them to her. She reads books on her learning level (right now she's reading roald Dahl's the Great Glass Elevator) to me. We've been doing this for years.





Good Luck!it might be rocky at first, but really...the secret is consistency. I'm a prek k teacher and whenever there's a problem with something getting put on our shelf (like a paint set...or snack not being cleaned up well), I take the child back to it and say...let me show you something. I point out that it wasn't cleaned well, and the next person who uses it will want it to be clean. You have to do this a lot at first, which may create more work for you...but eventually they get it...beginning of play is take the toys out..middle of play is play with toys, end of play is put things away. It's a great lesson for children who struggle with attention span issues to learn beginning, middle, and end.
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#4 Old 02-23-2008, 10:16 AM
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I liked living with no TV. Maybe you could cut cable as a first step and see how that goes, and then get rid of the TV after you're sure that's what you want to do (you could still have a family movie night, for example, which is a far cry from having kids glued to the tv all day).



You could have your kids donate toys they don't use as often (or at all) anymore to limit the clutter. One of my friends, for example, has his sons donate an old (but in good condition) toy for every new toy they get. Since the kids grew up with that rule -- that they can't get something new unless they get rid of something else -- they are more thoughtful about what they ask for and are pretty generous with what they have.



As far as you keeping up with the messes they make... how old are they? Can't they simply not move on to the next activity until they've cleaned up the previous one? (Easier said than done, I know)
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#5 Old 02-23-2008, 10:32 AM
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A few thoughts from someone who used to be a kid, though I do not have kids (I'm assuming you're from the US btw):



Growing up in my small town, the kids from the "no TV" or "limited TV" families seemed to be a lot more creative and independent. They also did not fit in as well with their peers.



I guess there *is* the question of what are they watching in terms of content. In general stuff on public television seems to be of higher quality (and no commercials, which are really mind-polluting). Then again how many kids want to watch public TV all the time (I did watch a lot hmmm).



I do think TV has gotten to be such a part of our culture that if your kids aren't exposed to it they might not understand some references from their peers.



If you can really fill up all that time with meaningful and healthy activities I think that would be really, really beneficial and TV couldn't compare. I think TV is used a lot as an "electronic babysitter" and it's not a very good one. That comment of your dad's about needing something to watch is hogwash imo. People lived for thousands of years without TV.



I don't know if I would totally throw the thing out myself. I do think there are some worthwhile things to watch, but that is just me. I deeply respect those that choose not to have one, but it does seem a little extreme to me "in this day and age."



Just mho...
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#6 Old 02-23-2008, 11:34 AM
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I grew up mostly without cable. We had a tv or two but what kid wants to watch infomercials when it's a beautiful day outside? And if it's rainy or not suitable for outdoor playing, I was forced to use my imagination - read, draw, write, play a board game.



In middle school and high school I did miss a few references when kids would talk about this and that on tv... but that only made me pursue more interesting (and probably intellectually challenging) topics - WHO CARES who's dating who or who wore what. I wanna know about things that actually pertain to real life.



Although I don't personally have kids, I agree that getting rid of cable would probably be a good idea. Although getting rid of the tv completely may be better later rather than sooner. Movie night sounds fun!
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#7 Old 02-23-2008, 01:05 PM
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i think your idea sounds great, and that bethanie has the right idea about the clean up situation.



we're cable free and it's great. we watch a few shows a week (this si my husband and i), and with the kiddo, we are thinking of being a tv free family except for videos. we like movies a lot.



so, that's our plan.



good luck!
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#8 Old 02-23-2008, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by speckled6 View Post

My question is this...does anyone think that getting rid of tv will help with how they behave?



Probably not, although restricting how much they watch might help.



I'd suggest that the problem is not really the tv, but the fact that you have 6 children who need your attention and you are out working all the time and unable to give them enough attention.



They are trying to give you the message in their own simple way through their unruly behaviour.



I'd say that them leaving a mess everywhere is not the tv's fault either, but a lack of follow through on your part with parental guidance because maybe you're not exactly sure how to do that effectively, you don't have time, or are too tired, or all of those.



I think this is a case for Supernanny
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#9 Old 02-23-2008, 10:50 PM
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LOL, Sybaritik!!! My mom used to say she was gonna call supernanny all the time! I think that phase has passed however. I sure wish the kids' destructive phase would pass too!

Thanks for all the replies...I do think that I will hang on to the tv for just a bit longer...but cable has got to go. I will miss some of the shows I watch, but in the end...who really cares? In 20 or 30 or 50 years who's gonna care who won biggest loser this season besides the people who were involved and who'd lives it changed. And really...how many episodes of chowder or fairly oddparents does one person really need to see???

It will be hard for me as much as for them...but there are other things I need to be doing with my time and with my life. I just don't want to look back and see so many years wasted zoning out in front of that stupid tube! And I sure as heck don't want to contribute to my kids' lives being lived that way either!!! I think it is a necessary change...but I will admit to being more than a little intimidated. I think I will come up with a plan and some chore charts and schedules first and ease us into it. Gradual change can sometimes be better, I think.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies. Great advice and thoughts. I really appreciate it.

Be well,

jean
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#10 Old 02-24-2008, 12:26 AM
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I grew up without TV and never missed it OR cared. I don't feel like it had much of an effect on how I fit in with my peers. Everyone WANTED to come to our house, we had the "cool" stuff like a ping pong table and a hayloft and a pond to catch frogs and fish and ...



My kids spent their early years without a TV and are top of their grades in reading, math and language skills. Don't know if there is any correlation, though studies say there are.



If your kids have already have a TV they won't give it up easily. What is your plan for enforcing the amount and the shows they watch?



And say what you want about studies but as a teacher, I can tell you that my fellow teachers and I can usually tell with 100% accuracy which children watch an excess of TV, or are allowed to watch shows that aren't particulary age appropriate.
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#11 Old 02-24-2008, 03:22 AM
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speckled6, I applaud your desire to get a grip on things and your willingness to make some sacrifices yourself for the good of your family. Good luck...I think you will do just fine...personally, I wish someone would take away my TV because I don't have the willpower to do it myself!
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#12 Old 02-24-2008, 12:54 PM
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I've been TV-free for a year and a half. I've found that living without a TV has had such a wonderful impact on my life. My son and I spend our time doing meaningful things and interacting with eachother in a more relaxed way.

My favorite part about no TV is that we're not bombarded with commercial messages (even if you're fast forwarding through the commercials, you still get these subliminal messages!). No more "you should buy this", "you should look like this", "you should eat this", or "you should go here" bullsh*t. I don't want to spend my life thinking I need to have or achieve more at the expense of others (my relationships) to be a happy person.

I hate TV and don't plan to ever get one again. I do have a portable DVD player for movies, which I watch once or twice a month.
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#13 Old 02-24-2008, 01:34 PM
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While in school, I was once told that I needed to "get out more" because I didn't watch enough TV. In a lot of people's eyes, sitting on their asses and watching youtube or the latest cartoons/sitcoms counts as getting out. Just something to be aware of - maybe tell your kids that they are going to run into some obstacles from minds weakened by popular culture.
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#14 Old 02-25-2008, 12:14 AM
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My favorite part about no TV is that we're not bombarded with commercial messages (even if you're fast forwarding through the commercials, you still get these subliminal messages!). No more "you should buy this", "you should look like this", "you should eat this", or "you should go here" bullsh*t. I don't want to spend my life thinking I need to have or achieve more at the expense of others (my relationships) to be a happy person.

I hate TV and don't plan to ever get one again. I do have a portable DVD player for movies, which I watch once or twice a month.







You don't have to give into all the messages just because you're seeing them. And you could discuss this element of watching tv with your son....the art of filtering out the crap.



And have you given any consideration to how far you're going to take this, or how consistent you're going to be? There are messages at the movies, on the internet and in magazines, bus shelters etc etc, are you going to be able to stop your son looking at all of those too?



When people say they want to get rid of their tv's because it's corrupting their children, one of the things that comes to mind is the pleasure I got as a kid from watching tv. All the fun cartoons and shows that made me laugh and tweaked my imagination. And the pleasure I got as an adult whenever I've looked back with nostalgia at all those shows, and the fun in discussing them with other people who also remember.



It's a bit like remembering your favourite bands etc. Admittedly, it's not of huge importance in life, but it's one of the simple things that makes it a bit more fun and connects you to other people.



Everyone has to make the decisions that are right for their life I guess, but I think it's a bit unfair to deny your kids the same opportunity you had, to enjoy something that's part of our culture. When other kids want to be social and ask them what they're favourite show is, all they've got to share is 'I dunno, my mum doesn't let me watch it.' That can be kind an isolating feeling for a child.
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#15 Old 02-25-2008, 07:32 AM
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You don't have to give into all the messages just because you're seeing them. And you could discuss this element of watching tv with your son....the art of filtering out the crap.



And have you given any consideration to how far you're going to take this, or how consistent you're going to be? There are messages at the movies, on the internet and in magazines, bus shelters etc etc, are you going to be able to stop your son looking at all of those too?



When people say they want to get rid of their tv's because it's corrupting their children, one of the things that comes to mind is the pleasure I got as a kid from watching tv. All the fun cartoons and shows that made me laugh and tweaked my imagination. And the pleasure I got as an adult whenever I've looked back with nostalgia at all those shows, and the fun in discussing them with other people who also remember.



It's a bit like remembering your favourite bands etc. Admittedly, it's not of huge importance in life, but it's one of the simple things that makes it a bit more fun and connects you to other people.



Everyone has to make the decisions that are right for their life I guess, but I think it's a bit unfair to deny your kids the same opportunity you had, to enjoy something that's part of our culture. When other kids want to be social and ask them what they're favourite show is, all they've got to share is 'I dunno, my mum doesn't let me watch it.' That can be kind an isolating feeling for a child.



First of all, my son doesn't live with me full time. His father doesn't restrict his TV viewing at all. So he's not being deprived of TV as you seem to think he might be.



Yes, I have taken into consideration how far to take this. It's been a year and a half since I've removed the TV from my life. I'm fully aware of other forms of advertisements we are exposed to. I'm not removing any billboards from the side of the road or anything. I just don't see why I need more than what we're already exposed to in our other day-to-day activities.



Yes, I don't have to give in to all the messages. Why didn't I think of that?

The reality is that TV - even the shows - can offer a distorted view of what life and family is like. This isn't the kind of entertainment I enjoy. I prefer spending time with my son reading, cooking, going to the park, going to the co-op or the science museum, spending time with our friends and family, etc. Yes, sometimes we even watch a movie together!



I suppose it's no different than depriving my son the pleasure of eating meat....right? He's going to be soooo left out because meat eating is such a part of our culture. He won't have fun with his friends now.



Let's get back to the OP's question.
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#16 Old 02-25-2008, 08:44 AM
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While in school, I was once told that I needed to "get out more" because I didn't watch enough TV. In a lot of people's eyes, sitting on their asses and watching youtube or the latest cartoons/sitcoms counts as getting out. Just something to be aware of - maybe tell your kids that they are going to run into some obstacles from minds weakened by popular culture.





true that! i've said to some people that i feel like a person from another planet at times when a few of them start making references to TV programs that I've never seen and never want to see.



back home in NJ we have one large LCD TV on the wall in the family room and when we were growing up that is the only room that there ever was a TV. my sister and I, and my mom and dad, hardly watched it. it was and still is hooked to cable (now satellite) but except for occasional things it was and still is very lightly used. the exception is that my dad Tivo's the News Hour on PBS or an occasional other show and might actually sit down and watch it three or four times during the week. my sister and I were just too busy to hang out in front of the TV. even our time on the net was limited too, not by fiat but by just having much better things to do. i think that is probably the key, having better things to do.



now here at college i spend some time with my laptop in between doing other things, but i can bring this thing anywhere in my backpack, do work for my courses on it and get stuff off the web, my email, etc. so, i have access to it all the time if i need it and dont have to hang out in one spot transfixed on a screen, which is how i like things.
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#17 Old 02-25-2008, 08:59 AM
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Yes, I don't have to give in to all the messages. Why didn't I think of that?



I don't know, why didn't you Ms Cranky



Quote:
The reality is that TV - even the shows - can offer a distorted view of what life and family is like. This isn't the kind of entertainment I enjoy. I prefer spending time with my son reading, cooking, going to the park, going to the co-op or the science museum, spending time with our friends and family, etc. Yes, sometimes we even watch a movie together!



I think that's your vision of reality.



There's another reality too in which not every tv show is a pile of **** that's going to corrupt your child's mind. There's plenty of educational stuff on the tv for kids too.



And it really is possible to watch some tv and get out and about in the world socializing and taking part in activities. I don't know why people often talk like it's an either/or situation.
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#18 Old 02-25-2008, 04:31 PM
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Whew! Is it getting hot in here?!?! I guess I should have known from my family's reaction that this was going to be a heated topic!

I think it boils down to the idea that some of us may be a little more prone to "sitting in front of the tv" as our only source of entertainment to the exclusion of other more worthwhile and wholesome activities.

Yes, there are some fabulous shows on tv...but how many people who grew up on cartoons and soap operas are going to turn to the history channel??? I personally don't. I want to watch the junk as much as my kids do and I admit to having a weakened mind and will do to the cultural impact the tv has had on my life.

I spent everyday of my summer break between 6th and 7th grade watching tv from sunup to bedtime...talk about my life away!

I don't want to see my bright and beautiful children waste their lives in the same way...but it is happening as we speak. That was the largest catalyst for the idea behind this. I want more for my children.

And just as a side note: I would hope that if someone wants to be social and asks one of my kids what their favorite tv show is that my child's response would be "I don't watch tv, but my favorite movie is ... right now. And on the weekends we go camping and hiking and I get to help in the kitchen...I can already make ... by myself. Do you want to come over some time?"

There is no awkwardness in that...and I think that most kids would look at that and, sure they might think the "no tv" thing is a little weird but, what about all that other cool stuff...most kids would really think that was cool.

I do remember watching shows that I loved as a kid...and my kids get those still too. I have my computer for movies and I still have the tv and dvd player for now.

I just think that there is a world full of exploration and excitement on the other side of tv...a place where we "do" instead of sit and "observe". I want to be the one living that life, the vibrant, fantastic, busy and fulfilling life. I may be idealistic. I may be naive. I may be biting off more than I can chew, but I thought I was doing that when I went vegan, and it was surprisingly easy. Perhaps this will be as well.

At any rate...thanks so much for the replies, very helpful.

Be well,

jean
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#19 Old 02-25-2008, 04:49 PM
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I just think that there is a world full of exploration and excitement on the other side of tv...a place where we "do" instead of sit and "observe".



Someone has never played a Judge Judy drinking game.



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#20 Old 02-25-2008, 07:13 PM
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Yes, there are some fabulous shows on tv...but how many people who grew up on cartoons and soap operas are going to turn to the history channel???



*raises hand* I grew up watching cartoons and sitcoms. Now I flip between TLC, discovery, food tv, the history channel, and discovery health most often. Other than that, there are a select few things I watch (Lost) and some I'll watch if I catch an episode (Law & Order, House).

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#21 Old 02-25-2008, 07:32 PM
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This isn't the kind of entertainment I enjoy. I prefer spending time with my son reading, cooking, going to the park, going to the co-op or the science museum, spending time with our friends and family, etc. Yes, sometimes we even watch a movie together!



I suppose it's no different than depriving my son the pleasure of eating meat....right? He's going to be soooo left out because meat eating is such a part of our culture. He won't have fun with his friends now. .



BEST.POST.IN.THE.THREAD!
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#22 Old 02-25-2008, 08:01 PM
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BEST.POST.IN.THE.THREAD!



Let me second that!!!!!

That post was exactly what I was looking for and needed. On so many levels!
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#23 Old 02-25-2008, 08:44 PM
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Yes, there are some fabulous shows on tv...but how many people who grew up on cartoons and soap operas are going to turn to the history channel???

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*raises hand* I grew up watching cartoons and sitcoms. Now I flip between TLC, discovery, food tv, the history channel, and discovery health most often. Other than that, there are a select few things I watch (Lost) and some I'll watch if I catch an episode (Law & Order, House).



I second, Rabid's post. I watch many different kinds of television programs for many different reasons...from the inane to the intellectual, which does include the History Channel, TLC, A&E, Discovery, CNN, PBS, National Geographic, and Court TV (I love crime documentaries). It's, obviously, up to you how you want to live your life and raise your child, and I think the less chaotic distractions in ones life, the better, but I wouldn't be so judgemental about the kind of people who watch certain television programming.
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#24 Old 02-25-2008, 08:47 PM
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I have never lived in a home that had cable. Growing up, we usually had a small TV, but it was limited to whatever free channels the bunny-ear antennas could pick up. Nothing came in very well. What came in the best was TBN, that awful fundie TV station. We didn't watch much TV, and I spent time playing outside, reading, etc. I was considered weird socially for a lot of reasons, but watching more TV really wouldn't have helped.



Then, when I moved into my own apartment, it never even crossed my mind to pay for cable. People kept bugging me about it, and I finally started answering, "I don't want to pay for something I wouldn't use much, and I don't want to start watching a lot of TV to make the money worthwhile."

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#25 Old 02-25-2008, 09:29 PM
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My mom likes reality shows so I watch with her a little bit when I'm home, but I don't like to watch TV on my own time at all. Sometimes if I'm bored I'll turn it on for a minute, but I always end up turning it off after 2 minutes or so in favor of reading, napping, or yoga. I do, however, like Grey's Anatomy, but that hasn't been on in a while.



I prefer movies or shows on DVD (Sex and the City, Firefly).



ETA: When I have kids (give me 15 years), I don't want them to watch tv. I'd rather do crafts, go on nature walks, and read with them like my mom did with me when I was young.
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#26 Old 02-25-2008, 10:49 PM
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Yes, there are some fabulous shows on tv...but how many people who grew up on cartoons and soap operas are going to turn to the history channel???



lots of people. its a mistake to generalise so much about peoples viewing habits.
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#27 Old 02-25-2008, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SallyK View Post

I suppose it's no different than depriving my son the pleasure of eating meat....right? He's going to be soooo left out because meat eating is such a part of our culture. He won't have fun with his friends now.



It probably isn't that much different really, but the more things you leave your son out of, the more marginalized they become in their social group.
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#28 Old 02-25-2008, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sybaritik View Post

It probably isn't that much different really, but the more things you leave your son out of, the more marginalized they become in their social group.



yeah! like what if he grows up to like men and has an eating disorder as well. he'll be a tv-less, gay, vegetarian, anorexic. thatd be tough
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#29 Old 02-25-2008, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rabid_child View Post

*raises hand* I grew up watching cartoons and sitcoms. Now I flip between TLC, discovery, food tv, the history channel, and discovery health most often. Other than that, there are a select few things I watch (Lost) and some I'll watch if I catch an episode (Law & Order, House).



Same here. I still watch sitcoms and other mindless drivel, but I also watch the history channel, national geographic (and not just Dog Whisperer), etc.



I my tv. What was the quesiton?
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#30 Old 02-25-2008, 11:55 PM
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My TV viewing was limited while i was growing up. my parents set up playdates for me, enrolled me in swim classes, piano lessons, and took me to the beach or skating, whatever. When I saw friends, we would play games or go outside, not watch TV. But I can still remember watching Mr. Dressup and Polka Dot Door. Everything in moderation, that's how I see it. One thing that annoyed me back then but what I appreciate now, is that I was never allowed to have a television in my bedroom. My parents didn't want me to isolate myself from everybody else and never come out of my room.



Now that I live by myself, I don't have a TV in my room and don't ever want one there. My room is for sleeping, studying, reading. I have a TV in my living room that I use primarily for watching movies or I use the DVD player to play my CD's (I don't have a stereo). I do not have cable and it saves me a lot of money. Even last year when I had cable I never watched it anyway, so I see it as something unnecessary. If you don't want your kids to watch TV, go ahead and do it. I don't think cutting out TV will automatically solve all problems, but it definately won't hurt them.

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