Participation in the Unplugged Project has got me thinking a lot about television and the lack of television in our lives. It also prompted me to do a little reading, at sites like Instead of TV. This has been a great encouragement to me, as I don't know anyone (besides my sisters) who impose many if any limits on their children's television viewing. Seeing that there are others who agree with me on television helps to boost my confidence that I am doing the right thing by my kids.
When I was a child, my mother limited our television viewing to 1 hour per day. It is funny to me now that that seemed like such a difficult and harsh restriction when now 1 hour seems more than generous. I have vivid members of how confining that was and how much my sisters and I hated the limits.
When I was in high school, I had an assignment to write a research paper and the topic I chose was the negative effects of television viewing on children. (If I sound like a nerd, that's because I am a nerd.) Anyway, it was pretty clear to me from that research I did that television viweing was not a good thing.
In college and for a year or so after college, I did not have a TV. This was mostly because I was too cheap to buy one and too busy to watch one. But there were several short periods during those years where I had a television (while interning in the summer and on business trips) and I found that I watched tons of TV. That box is totally addicting to me. Once I turn it on, I have such a struggle to ever turn it off, even watching things I barely liked. I would not get the things done that I needed (or wanted) to and I would always stay up way too late and have to drag myself out of bed in the morning.
Now, we have a television but we do not have cable and for some odd reason live in a little bubble that gets no broadcast television reception. So that actually makes it pretty easy. We have some videos and dvds that my children watch, although I limit them to 1 per day. (These are mostly 30 minutes long.) I don't miss watching at all. The only issue I have is how isolated I feel when I get together with others and they are talking about all the latest shows. And this issue bothers me for my children. My kids are still young but I worry about them feeling left out and ignorant at school because they don't know about all the characters and shows.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on watching television....