I have no television but…

If television is the drug of the nation
Satellite is immaculate reception
Beaming in they can look and they can listen
So you see don’t believe in the system!

-Michael Franti

About five years ago we decided to end our relationship with a traditional cable connection.  We gave it up for many reasons, the largest being that with the possibility of starting a family we didn’t want our children (or ourselves!) to be exposed to unnecessary commercials dictating our wants and needs, making us feel less than, or confusing us of what happiness truly means.  When making phone calls to change our bundle it surprised me to see how difficult it was to convince the person on the other end that we only wanted the internet.  It seemed as if the concept of not connecting a big screen in at least one of the rooms in our house was down right strange to some.  With this said, I will admit, the confusion and reluctance seemed to end with this most recent move.  Here in Vermont, it feels like this isn’t as much of a drastic choice as it was in The South or in Middle America. (This is not to say lots of people living in these areas don’t feel the same way about cable, this observation is based purely on the phone calls to the companies themselves to set up our internet)  Perhaps cable is becoming a thing of the past.  More and more people are finding ease in getting their television through the internet.  And now new start-ups are coming up with ideas that will allow people to have television for only the Superbowl or only the miss america pageant or only the season finale of american idol, essentially giving viewers the chance to choose.  Here is one company unbundeling, and here is another giving it a different spin (with antennas).  And with channels like hulu and netflix that cost a fraction of the price and have no commercials blaring at you, magnifying every dramatic moment, why not make the switch?

At first, I will admit, the switch was a little difficult.  I had no idea how much I was attached to the drone of the television while folding laundry, or watching the evening news, or even blaring music videos frolicking around my living room, until we made the break.  But the sounds of the view turned into sounds of the who, and my news was read in the paper or listened to on npr, and instead of comparing my less than par moves to those sexy ladies on mtv, i just danced.  After this “tv cleanse”, lasting several months, I found I didn’t really miss it at all.  And now, when I walk into a pizza place and see the six o clock news, all I can see is propaganda anyways.  Scare tactics and glorification of evil things.  But, that’s an entirely different topic.

In raising a family, I worried that I didn’t have the backbone, so to speak, to not turn to the electronic babysitter when the going got tough.  And I was right.  I don’t.  But, now it takes a lot of alternatives before I get there, where as if it were so easy as a push of a button, no thoughts involved, we may end up on the couch a lot more often.  There is a time and place where our modern way of storytelling is absolutely wonderful.  I have found more than a few outlets I feel absolutely comfortable with.  As we explore our library for books on CD, and specific shows on specific concepts based on my children’s interest, I am becoming more and more comfortable with screen time.  Of course, I still side with the mindset that television before the age of two is completely unneccessary and even possibly detrimental when watched for longer periods of time, I am seeing that as my children grow, the computer is an invaluable tool for their learning.

Our most recent times spent parked in front of the computer include (but are not limited to)

-Kids yoga

The red balloon

The white mane

-pieces of the wizard of oz on youtube after reading the chapter book

-mr. wizard

we listen to

sparkle stories


-and of course lots and lots of music videos on youtube


miles doing some yoga

Any special viewing going on in your home?

3 thoughts on “I have no television but…

  1. I completely agree! We gave up our television a few years ago as well and it was one of the best moves we ever made. Like you, now when I walk into a place that has a TV on, I am actually a bit taken aback by all the sights and sounds! And my kids are completely bewildered at the meaning and purpose of advertisements! Love it.

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