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Topic: To have TV or not to have TV?

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Subject: To have TV or not to have TV?
Date Posted: 5/10/2008 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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We haven't eliminated tv but we do limit it. There are a few PBS shows the kids watch and an occasional educational show fromTLC or the History Channel or such.

We prefer to rent those shows from Netflix though, they have a great database and then I don't have to try to channel flip to avoid all the inappropriate commercials. The way they post PG-13 commercials during a G-rated show disgusts me.

So are there any TV free households? If so was it hard to make the change? I've always been very curious about eliminating the tube.


Date Posted: 5/10/2008 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
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We are not TV free, but we do have lots of restrictions about what the kids watch and how much they watch.  We also just invested $8 a month for dvr from the cable company so that we can record and fast-forward through commercials and inapropriate content.  It was a great investment!

Date Posted: 5/10/2008 1:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2008
Posts: 10
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We'll be getting rid of TV after Sunday (Survivor Finale!)  We just all love to zone out in front of the tube.  We get much less done and I shudder to think what we are filling our consciousnesses with.  Speaking of Survivor and commercials!  they advertise mostly their own shows during Survivor, and they are all ghost/murder/kinapping/immoral relationship related.  We watch as a family and I have to stand as sentinel with my finger poised over "last" to flip to something acceptable. 

I loved PBS kids shows with my older child and I had a hard "Y"  or "G" rating rule, but I find my younger one watching "Y7" and "PG" too much with the older one.  We can't keep it under control well, even though we have tried.  So, we are going to have to rely on the library and Netflix.

- Leslie



Subject: no tv
Date Posted: 5/10/2008 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2005
Posts: 404
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My daughter and her husband have very little TV.  I don’t think they can even get PBS.  They rent movies.  Her kids don’t miss it.  They are very involved with other, healthier things.  One granddaughter is grown now and the other is a musician and able to play 2 instruments quite well. 

Date Posted: 5/10/2008 5:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 36
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We've had no TV access for 3 1/2 years now.  My kids are 5, 8 & 10.  We don't miss it at all.  We watch a DVD from the library or our collection once or twice a week.  We're going through the Waltons series and I Love Lucy series on DVD right now!  We love to be outside in the evenings and are just so busy with LIFE that it works!  My husband misses it the most for his college sports games - but he can watch a lot of them on the computer or his mother can tape them for him.

I highly recommend it!


Date Posted: 5/10/2008 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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We only have antenna access.  We had cable for one month of my four-month pregnancy bed rest for my oldest and decided it wasn't worth it.

We recently purchased our analog-to-digital convertor box and it's sooooo nice.  Not only do we receive THREE stations from our one PBS station (all different programming), but we pick up additional stations also.  It's like suddently having the history, travel, & cooking networks!

The box also has settings to set the V-chip.  So we have all TV14 and worse blocked.  Now if we're watching something and flip through channels we don't have to see awful stuff like "America's Next Top Model", "Pussycat Doll", or "Sex in the City".  It makes all those shows black and it's sooooo nice for all of us.

But we rarely watch TV anyway.  Perhaps one hour at night to "chill".  It's usually a PBS show (with the Humanism & Evolution discussed).

Our local news station has a 23.5/7 weather station.  Every digital channel has to have 3 hours/week of children's programming, so Jack Hanna is on for 30 minutes after lunch.  It's a good "work" break.

All this for a $25 (after gov't rebate) convertor box and the same TV (non-digital)...which looks incredible (DVD quality) now.


Last Edited on: 5/10/08 6:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/10/2008 7:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 163
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We haven't had TV for 8 years and don't really miss it.  The younger kids watch videos that I actually don't mind them watching, and the older ones watch movies, mostly from the library.  We're not real into sports, so we don't miss that. I am even happier that we don't have TV when I see what other kids their age watch and what the commercials are like.

Date Posted: 5/10/2008 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 237
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We can't get any channels, even PBS, without an antenna, which we disconnected about 10 years ago.

We have a few thousand books, probably over 100 games, and WAY too many VHS & DVD's!

My kids do love the Waltons, Little House, Lucy, and Dick Van Dyke series, and the old Disney movies, along with the Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea and Odyssey movies. Not to mention Veggie Tales, McGee and Me, and anything to do with trains, including Thomas. Most of the Pooh videos have been given to the grandsons now.

I don't think my 5 kids have missed it much at all. My youngest has figured out how to keep up with Hanna Montana and some of the other newer Disney characters online :-(

We do have access to 2 different libraries with really good VHS/DVD collections too.


Date Posted: 5/10/2008 11:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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Last Edited on: 12/10/08 12:34 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2008 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 697
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We did not have any TV or video access at all till oldest was 5.  She is by far our most creative. She rarely watches TV. She spends her time sewing, quilting, reading when not studying. (21 now). 


Date Posted: 5/16/2008 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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We basically don't watch live TV. It seems like your use of NetFlix is like we use our TiVo DVR. We are in our sixth year of using TiVo, we bought it when most had not yet heard of it. We record our favorite shows and then fast foward through the commercials. We do not need to set our schedule around watching a TV show and love to watch them later on as we can fast foward through the commercials and 'coming up next' and the recaps. Whatever we never have time to watch we just delete--goodbye!

I have also used the cool features on TiVo to select shows to record by topic. So when studying a science or history topic I can quickly scan by topic keyword and find the shows without ever consulting a TV guide or the Internet TV listings. It saves time and it is so convenient and useful.

I use the parental controls to block my kids from watching shows and stations I don't want them watching. And all the recorded shows are tracked so I really could spy more on them if I  wanted to. LOL.

The only one who watches live TV in our house is DH when he is cooking dinner or cleaning up after dinner and he puts cable news channel on. :) I will not complain of him having the TV on with the commercials since he does some of the cooking and cleaning! Compromise! I try to keep the kids out of the area though due to some of the mature content topics addressed in the news and those prescription drugs that are advertised all the time...

So my kids only see live TV at the grandparents house or other relatives homes.

My kid's TV viewing is limited to one 30 minute show after their shower then we watch one show at night as a family. That is pretty limited compared to most households. On a weekend if they have time or if they are sick then can watch a TiVo'ed movie or we borrow free from the public library.

If my kids had it their way they'd watch eight or more hours a day. I am not kidding.

My friends without a DVR love NeFlix. I am resisting it as we are already paying for the DirecTV and the TiVo fees. Our public library and other towns also seem to be really buildling their collections of documentary and movies on DVD too, and those are free to borrow (not as convenient as the mail delivery though).

It is not easy to limit TV watching so hurrah for everyone here who limits it.

I refuse to ban it completely as: 1) we get good stuff out of it, 2) some is entertaining and not enriching but not damaging either, 3) the issues with the commercials are irrelevant with our TiVo, 4) getting the kids to have limits and them learning to abide by them is a good thing and 5) we are already very alternative due to HSing and our parenting style so I don't wish to add banning TV entirely to that mix--we are getting to a point now where our kids really know the differences between them and othe rkids and it is not good to feel like a complete oddball. They already feel different than other people and that our household has more rules than in other families. My kids are 8 and almost 11 now. I need to pick my battles here and not be so rigid about *everything*.


Last Edited on: 5/16/08 5:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
Posts: 309
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I had a tv free childhood! It was great. We did not own a tv at all. My mother said we could get one when the youngest of us was old enough to read and enjoy books, and he was slooowww.... we finally got a tv when I was 16.

I always said I would do it with my kids, because I had so much fun. We all grew up to be bookaholics. The rule was, if you were reading a book and you put it down, and someone else picked it up and read ahead of you, it was theirs. We swapped books all the time. We all read voraciously and we read fast, too. Years of practice.

However, DH comes from a family whose idea of relaxing is to turn on the tv and veg out in front of it, no matter what is on. I hate it. He even put a tv in our bedroom, which I loathe. And I have discovered about myself that it is far too easy to turn on the tv when I need the kids out of my hair for a while. I don't know how my mother did it, but I am in awe that she did!

I could easily give it up! I do limit the children's tv watching - one 20 min show each, but I think this summer I will see if I can't wean them off even that.


Date Posted: 5/29/2008 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 316
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We don't have cable and drastically limit what our children watch- mostly PBS on TV (or DVD's).  My husband and I hardly ever watch TV and I woudn't notice much if it were gone.  Both my children are big readers (though at ages 7 and 9, they'd  watch more TV if we'd let them.)

Subject: tv free...
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2007
Posts: 7
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We cancelled cable last year, and we are doing great without it.  We find that we have a lot more time for family activities like playing cards or board games together, or riding our bikes.

I took my daughter to the dentist the other day and they had the Disney Channel on while she had her teeth cleaned.  She called Grandma that evening and I expected her to tell her how she didn't have any cavities, but she was more excited to tell her that she got to watch Phineas & Fern!

When she does get to watch "junk" tv, at Grandma's or visiting other people, it's a real treat.  It used to just be a time waster...  I'm very happy I got rid of those channels.  I do miss a couple shows, 30 Days was a favorite, and the Discovery Channel...

Date Posted: 6/6/2008 3:33 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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We used to watch a lot of tv - but not what I'd call junk - science channel, mythbusters and other discovery channel things, nat geo - but that was then - and now - there's like NOTHING on we have not already seen.  A Stonehenge show here...a cooking show there....

I am thinking about cutting down on our cable bill.

Date Posted: 6/6/2008 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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We watch TV and LOVE it! It hasn't had any detrimental impact on our lives. We watch good quality shows that mesh well with our lives and the way we choose to live. We don't do commercials, either. We have a nifty DVR to take care of that.