do you watch tv?

i wish we didn’t have a tv.  sort of.

we’ve been making sure our four-month-old daughter doesn’t see the tv.  she’ll have enough screen time in her life that we’d like to keep it out of her world for as long as possible.  and it’s a pretty widely-accepted fact that tv doesn’t do a whole lot for your brain, much less your motivation.

so i’ve been watching less tv, too.  and i haven’t been missing it. 

and then i read an article about what a waste of time tv is, and i agreed with every point.

and then i started thinking about how if we think our kid would so much better off without tv, then we probably think we would be so much better off without it, too.  so why do we still have a tv?

here’s what we use our tv for:

1)      zoning out
2)     relieving boredom
3)     feeling less lonely
4)     watching shows we actually love
5)     watching sports
6)     out of habit
7)     when we’re mad at each other
8)     procrastinating

so the only ones of those eight things that i actually want to use tv for are:  watching shows we actually love and watching sports.  do i have the self-control to actually make that happen?  or am i all or nothing when it comes to the magic square with the addictive flashing pictures?  do we need to get rid of it altogether?  can we do that?

i'm curious:  do you watch tv?


  1. We don't have cable, which limits our screen time to whatever's on Netflix/Hulu. I bet that 99% of my TV time is spent watching things I really love because I can't channel surf or get sucked into hours of Food Network. That said, we are making the switch back to cable soon because M has yet to find a satisfying way to catch all of the sporting events he follows (I'm sure Adam can sympathize!).

    1. yes, k! the sports thing is a huge part of the reason we have cable right now. huge. hockey, baseball, basketball, and football: that's a whole lot of sport for him to catch online or at a bar.

  2. I watch a limited number of television shows. If they aren't on, the TV isn't on. The only exception is movies. Sometimes Netflix has something I really like and I watch that. But I don't turn it on for noise, I don't usually have the distraction. I don't think you have to go cold turkey, like an alcoholic. You just don't turn it on unless it's for something specific.

    TV is here and though it can be bad, it can also be good. I've gained a great deal of creative ideas, cool life lessons, and even motivation from TV. It's not all "black and white."


    1. g, i'm curious: did you decide this one day in response to how much you were watching tv? or has your tv-watching structure just kind of evolved?

  3. I think something as basic as the placement of the TV in the house has a big effect. For the last two years, the TV has been in the basement den of my house, while my bedroom is on the top floor. There's a bit of out of sight, out of mind effect where the TV isn't as convenient for quick procrastination fixes. If it's a possibility in the house, taking it from a prominent place in a living room to a tucked away den, where you have to be more deliberate about when you chose to sit in front of it and turn it on, might help.

    That said, the computer has probably replaced the TV as my procrastination means, and then some. The real question might be how to pull away more from glowing screens in general.....

    1. You're totally right about the computer! I'm more concerned about trying to reduce computer/internet time than TV time. There's a procrastination machine right there.

    2. yes, on the tv placement for sure. we do keep it shut in a cabinet when we're not using it, and if the doors are shut, we're much less likely to open them and watch. if the doors are open, it's so much easier to flip it on!

      i think the placement of the computer makes a difference too. (even if it's a laptop, the homebase has an effect.)

  4. I've never really bought into the whole, TV is bad for you, thing. I grew up watching TV all the time. Friday nights watching the Disney channel was a highlight of my week and it was how I learned about the world. I learned about different cultures and different people and different ways of thinking, and it was all made for me, my age group to digest. I also read a decent amount, but I don't think that my watching TV ever made me want to not read, it just exposed me to a different art form which I love. This whole hatred of TV is left over anxiety and preconceived notions about what technology does to people left over from mid century. It's the same notion that says children should go play outside or that there's something inherently better about being outside than inside. There's not a consensus on this other than between parents who remember a time where they had nothing else to do but play outside. We live in a different time, and our views of parenting need to change with them.

    1. mmmm...interesting. i don't know that there's something inherently better about playing outside ALL the time, but i do think there's something inherently better about spending a good chunk of time outside versus being inside ALL the time. (my daughter would disagree; she does feel that it's better to be outside ALL the time. i think she wishes we lived in a tent in the woods!)

      and, truthfully, this isn't just about parenting for me. it's just that the choices i was making for my kid caused me to confront the choices i'm making for myself, and reevaluate them.

      all of that said, i don't know if i'd go with a mass generalization that tv is bad for you either. i'm still figuring it out.