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I did not expect this kind of hostility!

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
ds is only just one year and i don't even say outright that we are "tv-free", but i'm getting attacked by perfect strangers already! one woman was having a pleasant conversation with me and asked if my son liked cartoons and i said, oh, he doesn't really watch cartoons. and her demeanor totally switched and she started asking me very aggressively why not? and, did i think that cartoons were *bad* for him?!! she wanted me to know that *her* grandchildren can speak *four* languages, which they learned entirely from cartoons!

: yeah, sure they did.

honestly, i'm getting more hostility on this than i did about our homebirth! big shock. i figured it was a personal entertainment choice that no one else would really care about! i guess i need to work on my polite but firm explanations. i thought, "he seems a little young" or "i just haven't found it necessary" would do it, but they don't seem to always.
post #2 of 51
I hope the hostility fades for you.

I personally do not recall any overt reactions by anyone. I don't go around announcing it, of course. I don't think many people do.

The most common reaction I get is, "Oh," and they drop the subject. It seems a little awkward when I type it out, but it isn't awkward in person. I'll have to pay closer attention to my exact words next time it comes up. I know I have never used the phrase, "We are TV-free," because I just learned that phrase here in this forum! LOL I probably say something along the lines of, "I choose not to watch much TV." I think I usually leave DD out of it, even if the question originally pertained to her.

Another thing I have experienced is something I have read on this forum back a ways in the threads. Depending on the circumstances, when someone learns I/DD rarely watch TV, they suddenly decide they need to tell me all the reasons why THEY do watch TV (or why they allow their children to watch TV). I generally listen empathetically and let it go. It doesn't change my viewing habits and if they want to do that, that is their choice. If it is a close friend or family member I like, then sometimes we'll respectfully engage in a dialogue discussing the merits or this or that pertaining to TV. Again, it doesn't change my viewing habits and sometimes these folks have something interesting to say on the subject. Sometimes people seem to be wanting to make a change in their own viewing habits and don't know where to start. I like to think talking to me has helped them in some small way, but who knows?
post #3 of 51
There are a couple good TV-free books, some of which talk about the hostility factor. TV has so permeated our culture that turning it off seems like a rejection of the whole culture, and so people mark you off as "other, alien, anti-us" (or anti-US!), and, well, they're right. My rejection of TV is in part because I dislike the whole consumerist capitalist conformist culture that it is partly responsible for and that it largely promotes.

I have gotten basically no hostility, but I'm fortunate to mostly move in very fabulous MDC-based circles, so even those who aren't TV free are understanding of it. It also hasn't come up in casual conversations with strangers yet.
post #4 of 51
I seem to hear alot that if your kids don't watch TV they won't be "normal". How will they relate to other children, etc?

I know I'm not the only one that thinks those people must be out of thier bleedin minds!
post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnysandiegan View Post
Depending on the circumstances, when someone learns I/DD rarely watch TV, they suddenly decide they need to tell me all the reasons why THEY do watch TV (or why they allow their children to watch TV). I generally listen empathetically and let it go. It doesn't change my viewing habits and if they want to do that, that is their choice.


And with this and many other topics, people get hostile largely when they suspect you of being defensive, so the less defensive I come across as, the less hostile they seem.
post #6 of 51
I agree, Arwyn.

But I also never use the phrase "tv-free." There's something about it that just smacks of self-righteousness to me. It implies that people with TV are somehow enslaved to it - which some may be, but certainly not the folks I know. I simply say we don't have a television, if it ever comes up.
post #7 of 51
I don't use the phrase "tv-free" either.

What I say, if asked, is "we don't watch very much TV at our house," which is the absolute truth. Usually people say "good for you!" Sometimes people ask me how DS is ever going to "fit in." That's unusual, though, and I take it as an opportunity to share what it means to be tv-free in our culture. Generally I find these questions are asked out of curiosity, not malice. I rarely encounter hostility over our tv-free status.

I did once get a "mommy war" type response from a SAHM on the playground. She said, sourly, "Well, if you were home more with your son instead of working, you'd have to let him watch more TV." I was proud of myself for not getting defensive and just said calmly, "No, we never let him watch TV when I stayed home with him either. Now if you'll excuse me..." I felt sorry for her.
post #8 of 51
Wow, we've never had a problem w/ it. Well, once MIL asked, "How do you get the news?" But other than that, no one has ever said anything. I think about half of our friends are also w/out TV, so maybe that's why.

BTW, I can't believe she expected you to believe her grandchildren learned to speak foreign languages by watching cartoons. That's just so ridiculous.
post #9 of 51
Yeah, I usually don't tell people that we don't own a tv until I know them well enough to guess if they are going to get wound up about it or not. Sometimes I get hostility, more often the drop-jaw amazement followed by the justification about how they *only* watch blah-blah-blah or the "Well, we/my kids watch tv because I believe in moderation blah-blah-blah..." In my experience, people seem to feel as if I am judging them by declaring that we choose not to watch tv - I don't get that, but whatever. So most of the time when someone says "Did you see ____?" or "Do your dc watch _____?" I just say no without elaborating and they go on blathering about whatever they had in mind in the first place.
post #10 of 51
Quote:
In my experience, people seem to feel as if I am judging them by declaring that we choose not to watch tv - I don't get that, but whatever.
I think it can be because they have some underlying insecurities about their own decision.
post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
I think it can be because they have some underlying insecurities about their own decision.
I also wonder how many people realize they are indeed choosing to watch or not watch TV. Sticking with the status-quo, regardless of what that may be (but in this case, it is watching TV, at least in the U.S.), is still a choice. It is an "easy" choice and requires very little thought, but is still a choice, IMO. When I present my choice (no matter how I dress it up or word it...LOL..and not just about TV), I find many people suddenly become aware of the choices they really make. I typically engage in these discussions with people I know and I see the progression over a period of time.
post #12 of 51

We are TV free (well, except soccer games)

We are a relatively TV free house (and most likely, video too except for special occasions).

I basically just say I get the news from the 'net and "we don't watch tv that much in our house", or "I hardly watch tv".

I never get a judgmental response to those two phrases. At least, I haven't in the past year or so. When the kids get older and their peers are watching cartoons and they are kind of clueless about the "characters" maybe I will get judgement but I'd rather give them ME time than TV time~ and I will tell people who stand in judgement that, as well.
post #13 of 51
Weird. Maybe it's because people just expect children to watch TV. I've never gotten the same treatment when I mention that I, personally, do not watch much TV. The conversation just kinda goes awkward for a minute...usually because the other person is talking about something they saw on American Idol or some other hugely popular show and I have no idea what they are talking about.

Maybe people just assume that adults that don't watch TV do so because they don't have time for it, and that all children must watch at least some TV because they have nothing but time and "need" the educational programs, at least.
post #14 of 51
Its strange, I haven't even had my lo yet, and I've already been criticized by some of my family. I haven't watched tv in years, and do not wish for my baby to either.
The first advice I get from my cousin is to stick baby in front of the tv so I can go about my business. Hmmmm.
Of course, I had to reply by saying that I didn't want lo staring at a tv, and that they will have a fine enough imagination to stay occupied. That opened up a HUGE can of worms...now I know to be a little more subtle in my approach in explaining my tv opinions to others.
Its amazes and upsets me how much my cousin felt that I was attacking her specifically because I choose to parent differently.
I love her and her son, but disagree with her advice.
post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by threadbey View Post
ds is only just one year and i don't even say outright that we are "tv-free", but i'm getting attacked by perfect strangers already! one woman was having a pleasant conversation with me and asked if my son liked cartoons and i said, oh, he doesn't really watch cartoons. and her demeanor totally switched and she started asking me very aggressively why not? and, did i think that cartoons were *bad* for him?!! she wanted me to know that *her* grandchildren can speak *four* languages, which they learned entirely from cartoons!

: yeah, sure they did.
Jebus. Our family's nowhere near TV-free, and I still think that's crazy.
post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by gratefulmomma87 View Post
Its amazes and upsets me how much my cousin felt that I was attacking her specifically because I choose to parent differently.
I love her and her son, but disagree with her advice.
^ That. I've gotten similar reactions from people who use the TV to occupy their kids when I explain why my son won't be watching TV. It's mainly due to commercials which I think are hideous for anyone. HEY YOUR LIFE SUCKS AND YOU ARE UGLY. BUY OUR PRODUCT AND YOU WILL BE BETTER!

I will let him watch DVDs though, if the need arises.

But anyway back to my point, a few times when I have explained my viewpoint, people have been so butt hurt that they start with the whole, "Well! I'll have you know that my son knows how to count to this many numbers and he is only this age. AND he knows his ABCs AND this and that," and I'm like uh ok. I didn't tell you how to parent. I said why my kid won't be watching TV. I don't care about you or your kid so you do your thing...

I'm not even trying to make some big statement out of it either! I just loathe ads and I watch the few shows that I like [ANTM, American Idol, Lost, South Park] on the web the next day or download a torrent. Much easier.

Plus if that HDTV thing really is switching sometime this year I'm not willing to buy a brand new set. My boyfriend has one of the last TVs made without a vchip.

I'm not sure what my point is other than OMG I SO RELATE TO YOU! I feel like when I mention this to people they think that I am trying to make a statement or be hardcore about something and I'm really not... I just don't like ads and commercials.
post #17 of 51
This topic always makes me think of the quote "Thou doth protest too much."

Usually when people become hostile or try to "argue you out of" something like TV it is because deep down they know it is maybe not such a good thing and that there is more to it than what it at the surface. I also totally agree that people see it as a rejection of culture. It also (if you say it or not) makes people question their parenting... and their upbringing. They KNOW they turn it on to tune out the kids and by merely saying that you don't they start feeling judged. The other thing that I think plays into it is that adults have "fuzzy memories" of the TV. Look at the slew of nostalgia TV toys! My Little Pony, Care Bears, Transformers, etc. By saying "no" to all that, you are almost threatening their memories- what was "happy" for them. Most likely the good parts of the memories are what surrounded the TV stuff (snuggling with siblings on a saturday morning to watch or playing with the My Little Pony toys with a friend) but the memories are tied tight to the TV. And connecting gifts and things to adored programs is a sure fire way to put a smile on a child's face. I mean, this is what Disneyland is all about! So people become defensive of that as well. Does this mean my gifts, my child's joy in these things, is somehow wrong? Ouch.


So, I am not surprised at the hostility. I have come accross it frequently. By threatening the "goodness" of TV my merely saying you don't watch, that alone puts so much about people that is very sensitive on the defensive, even if that is not the intention at all...
post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
The other thing that I think plays into it is that adults have "fuzzy memories" of the TV. Look at the slew of nostalgia TV toys! My Little Pony, Care Bears, Transformers, etc. By saying "no" to all that, you are almost threatening their memories- what was "happy" for them. Most likely the good parts of the memories are what surrounded the TV stuff (snuggling with siblings on a saturday morning to watch or playing with the My Little Pony toys with a friend) but the memories are tied tight to the TV.
Interesting theory, alexsam! Could possibly explain (in reverse) my non-interest in TV. I have very few warm, fuzzy memories of watching TV in childhood. I recall watching The Shining with my step-mother because she was too afraid to watch it alone. I was terrified and had nightmares! I have some unpleasant memories of The Wizard of Oz, too, but I don't recall any details. I have a few vague happy memories of watching TV in the summer at my grandparents home, but I cannot name the shows. I do recall thinking this was the first time these shows were on and only learning years and years later that they were reruns. LOL
post #19 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
I did once get a "mommy war" type response from a SAHM on the playground. She said, sourly, "Well, if you were home more with your son instead of working, you'd have to let him watch more TV." I was proud of myself for not getting defensive and just said calmly, "No, we never let him watch TV when I stayed home with him either. Now if you'll excuse me..." I felt sorry for her.
That is appallingly rude. Honestly - wow.
post #20 of 51
I have family members that don't want to come over because there's no TV in the livingroom. They loudly complain when they do come that there's nothing to look at, nothing to do.

Uh.. try talking with some of the family and friends around you!
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