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post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 
How about those who have made it to the forum so far introduce yourself and tell us a little about you and why you're here.
post #2 of 94
Whoo-hooo!!!!!!!!! I am so happy we finally have a home!
Ok, I guess I'll start since I can not sleep...

I have a 3.5 year old DS who has been TV free since birth. Our whole family has been TV free since DS was born. It was a little hard for DH who is a news junkie, but we honestly don't miss it a bit.
For me the commercialism is a big deal. I not only don't allow TV for DS, but we are completely commercial character free. I don't care if it comes from a grandparent or the president, if it has Dora or Elmo on it, it disappears. We don't really have that problem because our friends and family know the deal. I hate that even the "educational" shows (isn't that a whole separate debate?) have huge product lines attached to them. It's such a racket. I didn't want my kid calling all fish Nemo. I want him to think for himself and develop his own ideas about what is fun and interesting without media influence so that when he is exposed to it he has a leg to stand on.

What we DO watch -- DH and I do netflix on the computer every now and again. DS has seen a handful of carefully selected movies this way too. That's about it.

Yes we are those people who go over to other people's homes and ask them politely to turn off the TV when DS is around. I have no qualms about that. It's like asking to take the meat off your kid's plate if you're a vegetarian. No big deal.

What do we do on "inside" days? DS is ALL about imaginative play. He is also a book junkie. He will sit and listen to a 100 page chapter book in one sitting and then beg for more. On normal days we spend A LOT of time outdoors and out and about. DS loves to swim, play in the dirt, and be with friends.

My personal irony -- I am a TV script writer for a living. I used to produce and direct before I had DS. I think much of my jaded attitude towards TV culture comes from being on the inside. It's a fun creative outlet for me, but I see people who are hooked on it as suckers.
Sorry
post #3 of 94
We've been television free for several years. If im doing the math right, around 9-10 years (since I moved out of my parents home and started my own family). However, we do have "screen" time with the computer. We play video games and watch movies.

DH and I have been downloading Lost off of i-tunes. This is currently the only television show we watch. It started after renting the first season on netflix

Im fine with our choices but do wish we could take the movie watching down a notch. During warmer months, we watch maybe 2 movies a week. Since winter tho, its been a few to several movies a week. Our excuse? We homeschool and don't like to leave the house when its below zero. We have many days of this here in Chicago. Cabin fever kicks in and the movies come on I am hopeful that Spring will be here soon.
post #4 of 94
Pleased to meet you all!
Boatbaby--you really blew my mind at the end of your post! I guess being a writer/director you know how to pack a punch at the end.
Arwyn--please come back on and introduce yourself as well.

During my engagement with dh we decided to be tv free. I was so thankful that he happily agreed!
I gave up my tv in 2001 based on two aspects: the human and the spiritual.
THE HUMAN
I grew up with tv. I don't remember there being limits other than homework and chores come first. I realized during my first summer off (used to be a teacher) that I was addicted to the tv, and it was sucking the life out of me. I felt stagnant and unproductive. My brain was becoming mush.
THE SPIRITUAL (not to be confused with religious!)
TV watching makes me feel spiritually dead. My beliefs: God (Lord Jesus) is a Person who loves to spend time with me, and I love to spend time with Him. I can exercise my spirit (the organ to contact Him with) to call on His name all day long and to be in constant fellowship with Him. TV watching interupts, even kills, my fellowship with my precious Lord Jesus. So, I didn't give up tv based on a religious concept to be a "good" person. On the contrary, I despise all organized religions including Christianity. The Lord Jesus was and is not about religion. He wants to live inside of man to ultimately be lived out of man.
Don't worry, I'm not going to beat you up with "my beliefs". However, I had to get into it a little to introduce myself properly.
So, I can't wait to read the posts! Already Boatbaby has me considering the commercialism of television.
post #5 of 94
Hi! Here's our deal: We cut the kids off from tv about 4 years ago, after learning about Waldorf and making the commitment to be a Waldorf family. It was hard for me, having been born & raised a tv-junkie (my parents to this day never - except during the night - turn their tv sets off - they have them in every room). I went cold turkey by cancelling cable but after about 2 weeks decided to get myself an antenna so I could watch tv at night in my room after the kids were asleep. That lasted until about 8 month ago when I moved and ditched the antenna altogether. Now dh & I watch dvds on occassion and I watch LOST online. We don't do video games or let the kids have computer time though. I consider us a pretty strict tv-free family overall. Exceptions: when the kids are couch bound due to illness we'll let them watch some movies we own on dvd and we (very occassionally) will take them to see something in the theater. I'm really protective of the content they watch though, especially as I'm trying to help keep them young (appropriately so), so sometimes risking an unknown movie is tough. I guess that's about it. Oh, and I'm totally convinced of the badness of tv-viewing after reading the television chapter in the book, 'To Kindle a Soul'. Everyone should check that out.
post #6 of 94
Hi!

Ds was TV free for about his first three years, then when I had dd, I started letting him watch TV to get some quiet while she was napping. Now with four kids, I'm often popping in a video so that the baby can nap or I can get a break.

I don't see us going totally TV free, but I really want to get back to having TV or a movie be an occasional, rare thing, so I'm here for ideas.
post #7 of 94
We have been TV-free for about 6 years. DS is 4, and just this year have I begun to let him watch select movies on the computer occasionally. We don't restrict his access to the movies, it is up to him to watch as little or as much as he wants, and since implementing this method, it is interesting to see how it goes in phases. There will be weeks at a time where he won't want to watch any movies, and then a few days where that is all he will want to do. This is sort of in-line with our unschooling approach to parenting. But, I feel very good about our decision to keep our home TV-free, if for nothing more than keeping out the commercials. :

DH and I also watch movies occasionally on the computer when DS is in bed.
post #8 of 94
I grew up without tv in a house full of books. A situation I wanted to re-create with my own kids.

I had a tv in my wild post-college youth and watched L.A. Law and Thirtysomething with the rest of my housemates. (I'm dating myself here...). But by the time I got back from the Peace Corps (where, ironically, I watched an awful lot of tv) I was happy not to have one.

Dh didn't have a tv when we met, so there was never any conflict about lifestyle. The kids are 5 and 8 now and deal with not having a tv about as well as I did back in the day: mostly content, with occasional bouts of grumbling. As I expected.
post #9 of 94
I am so glad there is finally a TV-Free Forum!!! I was the original poster in "questions and suggestions" requesting a TV-Free forum and I am thrilled that there was so much interest! There is virtually no support for our decision anywhere on the web or in our society, and it can be an uphill battle. Yeah MDC for providing us with this space!!!

I've had several long periods of being TV-Free over the past twenty years, but it has taken on new meaning now that I have kids. DH and I decided to go TV-Free when our daughter was born, about 3.5 years ago. We do not miss it one bit. In fact, when we catch glimpses of it at other people's houses it seems so absurd. What a waste of time!!! I can't imagine that I will ever go back to TV-watching.

We are, however, on the slippery slope of watching a few select DVD's and You-Tube clips with our daughter. She loves to watch movies, and I really can't blame her. It certainly is entertaining, I'm not going to pretend that it is not. Like Boat Baby (who happens to be a dear friend of mine), we are very against commercializing childhood, and with slight exception we essentially have no syndicated characters on our clothes or in our home. I need help, however, explaining to dd why we don't watch TV and why we limit movies. (Actually, she has no understanding of what TV programming is). To some degree I regret having ever shown her a movie --Pandora's box has been opened. I also wonder how I will keep my 2 week old son video-free until he is at least two, since his sister now gets to watch them at times. These are things I would like to post about once this forum picks up steam!

As it says in my signature... our bird feeder is our TV. I figure, if a kid can name every character on Sesame Street, they can certainly learn the names of the "characters" that visit our feeder! That's our "educational programming."

I am very glad to be a part of this forum and look forward to an exciting discussion.
post #10 of 94
Hi, I'm Pam and I am a stay at home mom to three little girls; an almost four, 2 1/2 years, and almost 1 year old.

We began with very limited screen time but as we've dealt with bedrest during pregnancies and other things a lot more television time has crept in. At this point I can honestly say the kids are watching too much TV/Movies etc.

We have been contemplating cutting TV and movies out completely for a while. We are moving this weekend to an apartment with lots of outdoor play space, library within walking distance etc. I think the move would be a perfect time to make changes to our TV viewing. I'm excited to see this forum created as there is no one in real life (other than DH) to talk through issues that come along with going tv free.
post #11 of 94
Hi! We have been television free for several years as well. However, we do watch movies on the computer sometimes. That's how my DH and I like it, my baby is 6 1/2 months old, so I cannot ask for her opinion right now but I would really like to raise her in a TV-free house.

When we have visiting guests, they sometimes find it weird or uncomfortable in the beginning, but get used to it after 2-3 days.

I won't be buying a TV anytime soon!
post #12 of 94

Hello

Hi there,

I'm Jen- I have 2 kiddos ,7 and 2, and we have been TV free for 2 years! We threw out the TV and went cold turkey. It wasn't that bad (if you want to watch something its probably online) and completely necessary. I homeschool and just needed that TV out of the house. We watch a little Jon Stewart and Colbert on the computer for comic relief. My son LOVES David Attenborough he watches about 1 a week. We all really love not having a TV.. My son is no longer a zombie whining for toys and actually does stuff.
post #13 of 94
I'm currently pregnant with our first, and DH and I have a love-hate relationship with TV. Advertising drives us crazy, and so much of what's on is such a waste of our lives! But DH likes the background noise (which I dislike) and I have a few shows I like to watch while riding the exercise bike etc. Thankfully, we don't miss it when it's not on--when we manage to get to that point.

Worst of all, DH won a 32 inch flatscreen TV at his office Christmas party a couple months ago. Before that, we had a small TV that was on its way to electronic heaven. We gave the old one away and installed the new one. What were we thinking?

I hope when the wee babe arrives, we'll be able to keep ourselves away from it. I'm looking forward to reading all your ideas and suggestions.
post #14 of 94
Hi! I'm Victoria, very excited to see this forum. My DH and I have been tv-free or almost-free pretty much our entire adult lives. For me, my parents house the tv is on pretty much 24-7 because someone is awake or falls asleep in front of it much of the time.

When I moved out to go to college, I was poor and didn't have the money to buy one anyways. And seesh, I was busy out and about. I moved into a sorority house that had the rule of no tv except the one in the common room. Well, it didn't really get used that much anyways and I certainly didn't mind. There was lots of other things to do and most of the greek houses had the same rule.

Then, after college, and somewhat used to not having a tv, it was just a non-issue. I married my DH and we moved to Germany. We lived off base and it was really expensive to get a converter to get American channels and then it was through the US government program or we could get a German one and get all channels in German and not be able to use it back in America. So we just didn't get one. I don't remember why, it just wasn't a big deal.

But once, we wanted to watch a video (before DVD's were all that) so we did purchase a tv/vcr combo on a whim. We rented a few movies but didn't really watch it much, then it broke. We were completly annoyed that it broke so soon that we refused to buy another. And DVD's were starting to gain in popularity anyways and we could watch those on the computer if we really wanted to.

Then we moved to Luxembourg and into a furnished flat, it had a tv and cable. But, the channels in English were really limited. Pretty much BBC world and a few shows on the Dutch channel that were subtittled instead of dubed. Our friends and us did go out to movies quite a bit because those were in English (or the other original language) with subtitles. So we really didn't watch tv much at all. But I did turn it on for 'background noise' more then I would like to admit. And this is part of the reason why I don't want to get one now. I know myself.

Then, we moved back to Germany and went back to the no-tv situation.

Then, I moved into my parents house for a year, this was when DD was born till she was 9 months old. The tv started to give me a headache. And, I notced that if I didn't get up and turn the tv off (it was always on) first thing, I would sit down and get sucked into it and before I knew it, it was evening and I had just watched tv all day long. I also realized that I really didn't want to raise DD in that environment.

Then for 3 months we moved back to Germany and lived in some friends house while they were back in the states. They had a tv with cable hook-ups. And DH and I just didn't watch it. Except for a few movies (that we had always been watching on our laptops anyways) if was off and I really didn't miss it at all.

We finally moved out and into our own place in the US. And now, there is pretty much no way you could talk me into buying a tv. DH almost has me convinced that we should get a projector to hook up to the laptop and project it onto the wall with a speaker system as well. But, our budget won't allow that for quite a while anyways. I think I might be OK with that because I think we could control it, and not have it control us. But, like I said, it is years off, if ever.
post #15 of 94
Wow, I'm so happy to see this forum! All our friends think we're crazy to be TV-free, so it's nice to hear from other families who make the same choice.

We actually were inspired to go TV-free several years ago after I was asked to teach a college course on media! In my research for the course, I just got so disgusted with media corporations, marketing, violence, etc. that I just didn't want it in my life anymore.

The wonderful thing is that by getting away from the mind-numbing TV, I feel like we've opened our minds to all kinds of new ideas, critical thinking and TIME to spend reading, researching, etc. instead of entertaining ourselves into consumer oblivion.

We haven't missed it at all and are thrilled to raise our son in a TV-free, Waldorf-inspired way. DH and I have watched documentaries all of three times in the last year after DS was asleep. Honestly, even movies don't really hold my interest too much anymore. There is so much else to do that is much more satisfying to me!
post #16 of 94
Hello,

First, I'm so thrilled that we have this forum!

My DS has been tv-free from birth. He's now 20 months old and has never seen tv in our house or at the babysitters. My DH and I made that decision long before we had kids. When he's awake, the tv is not off. We do get netflix and DH and I watch about 1-2 hours of tv a week.

Like PPs, we made this choice because of marketing and commercialism. We don't have licensed character toys, books or clothes. It just makes the kid a walking commercial, y/k?


I think of all of our parenting decisions so far, we are proudest of this one and it's the hardest to justify to others. Finally, we have a place for support!
post #17 of 94
Yay yay yay yay YAY!!!

I have a 4-year-old who is TV-free. She is also the most incredibly creative little soul I have ever met. I do think the two are connected! It amazes me how she can play with a pillbug for 40 minutes. (She named it, made it a house, sang songs about it...)

She has basically been TV_free her whole life, but we did a little tiny bit of TV (one show once a day) for a few months when she was two. I noticed the characters infiltrating her play and was annoyed by her asking to watch a lot, and pulled the plug. She does not ever ask for it now. The TV is never on when she's awake, although DH and I do watch it occasionally. We mostly do Netflix movies, as we only have basic cable (about 15 channels).

One thing that has been tough/weird for us is that DD is not really able to enter into the movie-based princess play that is very prevalent at her preschool. I actually started reading her all the "princess" fairy tales so she would at least know what was being talked about. Bizarrely, her teacher brought up her unfamiliarity with Disney as a reason she was having social troubles at school! Oy.

I don't know ANYONE in real life whose kids are TV-free. We had an issue this last winter break; DD was in alternate care during the day since her school was closed. She was with a small group of other kids at a sitter's house, and they were showing videos every day. DD had never seen a movie before, and I was really upset when she came home talking about the scary sharks in Nemo. It was really hard asking the sitter to stop doing movies while DD was awake, and in the end we actually gave up, as it wa sonly for a week and the other kids were upset not to be able to watch (hello, addiction). She learned so much about commercial crap that week--ugh.

I now have a beautiful new baby and am so far resisting the temptation to use TV for DD while I care for him. It's been easy thus far as it just isn't part of our rhythm, but I do worry about what will happen when he has a more regular nap schedule and doesn't just konk out in the sling whenever.
post #18 of 94
Thread Starter 
Since it was requested my intro:

I am a lifelong tv addict. I don't remember not watching tv, and by the time I was a latch-key kid in third grade, I remember having huge fights with my parents over it -- that is, over my watching waaaaaaaaaaay too much.

My parents weren't actually TV junkies, and they did a lot of things right when it came to TV. There was only one, in the livingroom (until my brother's 16th birthday when they gave him one, which my mother said was one of her worst parenting mistakes). We watched as a family, and we watched specific shows or movies, or it was off. As a result I can't have a TV on without watching it -- which was really interesting when I went to houses that just had it on in the background. (It's also a sensory thing, and I have mild sensory issues inherited from my father. I just can't ignore it.)

So it was easy to zone out to when I was home alone, and helped me not FEEL alone, and I became completely, totally addicted. From ages 8-12 or so I could tell you what every single channel on basic cable was, and the afternoon schedule for most of them. How sad and frightening is that?

Except for during periods of depression, that was the most TV watching intense period of my life. When I was just a kid, growing into my full size body, learning who and how to be. And I watched TV like it was my full time job.

Fast forward several years...

I had been thinking of turning off TV for a while. My partner (who was raised in a TV saturated house also, where he did have one in his room) and I were moving halfway across the country for me to go to college, and we talked about not setting up cable in the new house. And then my mom bought us a DVR for our birthday, and it cost all of $10 more to get expanded cable on top of our broadband, so there went that idea. Those next few years convinced both of us that for our health and sanity, we couldn't "do TV" any more.

So when we moved back to Portland in Jan 2006, we set up the TV in one of the bedrooms, hooked up to the PS2 so we could play games (which we enjoy playing together) or DVDs. When Naked Baby was born in March 2007, we went back there a couple times, but who had desire or time to game, when we could be staring at the most beautiful creature on the planet? We still watched the occasional DVD on the laptop, but we did that in the livingroom, and only when Naked Baby was asleep. So the TV gathered dust.

When we moved again last Nov, we put the TV in the closet in the study, and we have plans to set it up in there to be used for the occasional video game, because we can't quite give up our fantasy that that part of our life isn't completely over -- but here we are, at the end of March, and it still hasn't been plugged in. We're on the $5 a month plan from Netflix, but most months we don't get our money's worth. I can't imagine ever again planning the livingroom layout based on where the TV will go, although I so clearly remember doing so, not all that long ago.

I feel very much like an alcoholic, surrounded by those who drink within reason, and those who drink through compulsion but are in denial. I remember TV fondly, and I do not doubt that it can be neutral to good for some people (even as it destroys others' lives), but I dare not partake, because I am and always will be an addict, and the farther away from it I get, the more I see it as a mostly pointless, poisonous, addictive substance that I really don't miss.

That said, I've always been in to semi-cult shows, things a little out of the mainstream, the good 2%. Star Trek, Buffy, Firefly, The Daily Show. I made friends based on knowing these shows -- and I don't regret it. They've been a positive influence on my life, in a lot of ways. I do wonder whether my child(ren) will miss that, but then I remember that there's so much more. There are always things we don't give our children because we gave them others instead. And that's OK. My child may not taste TV in his home because of my addiction, but he will grow up hearing books read aloud. He will know quiet, and still time. He will know play, and he will know how to play. He will never forget that his body loves to move. What happens when he gets older is beyond my sight, but TV is simply not a part of my parenting toolbox, and I like it that way.
post #19 of 94
NAK, so bear with me...we have been TV-free for a couple years, and it is the best parenting decision I have ever made. We don't do videos, either, except sometimes something with animals or space shuttles downloaded from youtube, and grandma reading books over Skype, both of which I'm totally ok with, since they are not an every day thing.

DH and I download Lost, and have rented a couple movies in the past year, but that's really it. We're too busy to watch TV!

The only hard thing about it is "coming out" as TV-free, since people are really defensive about it, or think we're wackos. I'm actually afraid of telling people, in case I scare them off : That's not really like me, so I'm hoping to get over it soon...but junior kindergarten is coming up, and I'm a little afraid of the whole peer pressure thing...
post #20 of 94
I was also a TV-Addict, especially in my teen years.

When I was 12, I asked for a shortwave radio (because I thought it would be neat to hear things from around the world) and my parents bought me a TV. I remember opening it and feeling crestfallen that my parents didn't understand me and knowing that I had to jump around all excited for the gift because ya-know a TV is the gift that all kids want. So, socially awkward teen gets TV, gets addicted to shows, stays in room away from people, feels depressed, watches more TV etc. etc.

Addiction stuck with me for a long time. Had dreams of what I wanted to do (art, writing etc.) with my free time but always got sucked back into TV.

I knew though that I did not want my children to watch TV. For the commercialism, for what it does to brain wiring, because I didn't want them to be limited like I was.

After three months of bedrest watching tons of TV (and reading and crosswords) I had enough for life!!!

Dd's have not watched any TV in their lives save for a few minutes passing through. Once at the library the TV (yeah at the library!!) had some dancers on the TV, we stopped and watched for a few minutes because they wanted to and moved on when they wanted. I don't think they know what a TV is.

Dh is not on board with getting rid of the TV - i.e. he doesn't want to give it up. Sometimes I watch a movie on DVD with him, but if he is not here I never turn it on (save once to check the news when the tornado siren was going off). The TV is in an armoir in a small room that dd's don't have much interest in going in because it is just a couch and armoir.

For me, being TV-Free is one of the best life and parenting decisions I have ever made. Dd's are super creative, have a long attention span and I never have to put any thought to TV limits, because we just don't. Even with super high-needs kids, and sleepless nights I have been such a different person without TV. I write and draw and do crafty things on an almost daily basis and am becoming the person I always pictured myself being.
I love the serenity in my home without the noise of the TV and that the noises we have are made by US!!

I can't even imagine how my highly-sensitive dd would be if she had TV in her life. I seriously shudder to think.
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