Tuesday, May 09, 2006

TV Turnoff Week

Zoe recently participated in TV Turnoff Week. She was required to watch 4 hours or less of tv, which earned her a certificate of achievement, a free deli roll at Subway, and the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal. This was pretty easy considering we don't have tv in our home. It was a decision that Matt and I made almost 7 years ago when we moved into our "new" home. We had a tv/vcr combo that we watched movies on occasionally, but when that broke, we didn't have a tv at all for a long time. Then a few years ago, I decided I wanted to start exercising again, which meant that I wanted a tv/dvd combo so I could workout doing aerobics at home. When we got the tv, we already had cable tv with our cable internet service, so we hooked it up for Thanksgiving day to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade...that was always something I missed doing on Thanksgiving without a tv. But I was disappointed when I watched the parade and saw half naked women and listened to some songs that thankfully my children couldn't understand the words to. I did however discover the PBS channel and my children enjoyed the programs and I enjoyed having a station that was kid-friendly with no commercials. I started watching some programs during the day, but it was always ruined when a commercial for a night-time drama would come on and my children's eyes would be glued to the tv watching someone get threatened by a gun or there would be a dead body shown. I didn't think my children needed to be exposed to that so I would end up turning the tv off. Plus, whenever the kids watched Nick Jr. they would come away wanting every toy that was advertized. Matt wasn't interested in the tv, so we got the cable tv part of our service disconnected. We didn't miss the tv...okay Matt and I did miss it in the fall when football was on, we like to watch the college games, but we liked the peaceful atmosphere without the tv better...at least I thought...this past fall Matt was tired of missing football, so we had our cable tv hooked up again for the football season. We got more channels this time because of course we needed ESPN to watch football so the children enjoyed watching animal planet, PBS, and Nick jr, and Matt and I got hooked on Dirty Jobs and some other shows. It was fun to watch tv, but it was those times that we would be watching football during the day on Saturday and commercials would come on that my children didn't need to see that I decided the tv needed to go again. We really didn't need the cost of the cable anyway. I like not having tv in our home. Matt wants to get our cable hooked up again in the fall, and maybe we'll look into tivo so we won't have to watch the commercials, but I really enjoy the atmosphere in our home when the tv stays off. So the reason I brought all of this up is because yesterday when I was listening to Dr. Laura she suggested a book to read ~ "Raising a G rated family in an X rated world: A survival guide from a family of nine." by Brent and Phelecia Hatch. As Dr. Laura was talking about the book, I realized that it is a lot easier to raise a G rated family when the tv is off. So I ask all of the moms out there, "What are your children watching?"...and a question for all my readers, "Could YOU go one week with 4 hours or less of tv?" Give it a try!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous post. When my husband and I first got married we didn't have a television (by choice). We lived that way for almost 6 years. It was great. We did miss watching movies though, so we eventually got a t.v. that didn't have an antennae and wouldn't get any channels so we could watch movies on it. Well that t.v. died and we got a new one and one thing led to another and here we are watching television. We don't watch much for the same reason you don't...commercials and advertisements that startle the children. I find myself watching less and less. I am just too busy for it these days.

Nettie said...

About the only shows I watch are gardening related on HGTV and Dr.Who as a hang out with the spouse thing. My kids don't watch as much as other kids do. They have a limit of 1 hour a day, but they don't always use that. My toddler gets to watch teletubbies as a signal that naptime will be starting soon. We have Directv and DVR which is great. I love having it to watch church related events. We never have to watch commercials and a 1 hr show becomes 40 min. I have also blocked lots of channels, including ones supposedly targeted at kids.

Kristen said...

We have TV and cable, the whole nine yards, and sometimes I think it probably would be easier to raise G rated kids without it. My kids, in general, don't watch a whole lot of TV. If they do, it's usually videos or DVDs that are favorites of theirs. Rarely anymore do they watch regular TV. They have too much other stuff they want to do. But you are right, for sure. And I agree on the kids asking for every toy in sight after watching Nick Jr., or any other channel for that matter.

Cindy said...

Well, I have to say, I do enjoy watching TV, but I could go the 4 hours/week when Chad's home. When he's gone, it's like my saving grace. I don't watch it at all during the day, but at night when the kids are all in bed, and it's really quiet, and I find myself all alone, that's when I watch it.

As for the kids, they don't watch a whole lot of TV. We don't have cable at our house, so it's mostly movies that the younger two watch. Myshel and Vance do watch some TV after their homework and chores are done. I'm very picking about what they watch and I tell them why I don't want them to watch it.

Commercials are frustrating, too. I can monitor what shows they watch, but not the commercials. I change the channel or have them change it when inapproriate things come on and we "discuss" why it's inappropriate. As my kids get older, I know that what they hear and sometimes see at school is just as bad or worse than what they see on TV. That's why it's important to me to talk with them about what's a bad influence and to turn it off. I've seen my kids turn off the TV when it's something they shouldn't watch and I'm proud of them for that. We've tried to teach them what we want in our home and in our lives and when they turn that "evil" aside I know they are understanding the lesson and incorporating into their lives. It's a hard lesson to teach, being in the world, but not of the world.

Lei said...

Yes, I could... but I might end up spending that time on my computer instead, lol.

It's all about moderation!

Shhhhhhhh! said...

My children just did the turn off tv week as well. I surprised me that they were able to go five days without tv at all. We just bought a new tv and I discovered the beauty of the vchip. I can control what the kids watch more closely now. But they usually just end up watching Disney movies any way.

momofalltrades said...

We bounce back and forth. When the kids were in the 2-4 year old bracket, I let them watch the "Little Kid" shows like Barney, Bear in the BIg Blue House and Blues Clues. When we started home school, we couldn't watch anything in the am, and they could watch a little in the afternoon. Now, I have school age and a little girl who loves Barney. So, the school agers get distracted by the am rendition of Barney and Backyardagains and WonderPets. Ug. I will say, I LOVE DVR. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! Total viewing control and like Nettie said, no wasted time with commercials. I never watch during the day, I DVR what I want and watch it after the kids are in bed. We also have lots of kids' movie's DVR'ed and lots of times, I'll let the kids watch those instead of cartoons. I just feel like movies are better than cartoons. There isn't much difference, but, I don't know, I just think the movies at least offer the challenge of holding a story line for more than 15 min.

Doug said...

We like TV. Dirty Jobs is great, as is Future Weapons and MythBusters. But, surprisingly, one thing that has made TV somewhat more family friendly is Tivo. Now, when I do have time to watch TV, I can always watch something I choose, rather than whatever is on. Also, I haven't seen a commercial since we got it.

TV, in general though, is pretty sad. Aside from PBS and Discovery/TLC/A&E, there isn't a lot on that is praiseworthy or of good report. You could probably just buy Seinfeld and MythBuster DVDs and be content.