getting rid of the TV and using the computer only - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-10-2009, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure there are tons of people here who have done this, so I'm curious to hear how it's worked out for you. We are thinking about getting rid of our TV (in an attempt to curb it's use) and use our computer for viewing DVDs and the few TV shows we actually care about.

Experiences, please!

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Old 03-11-2009, 12:14 AM
 
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Subbing because I'm interested in the replies you get. I've considered doing this.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:58 AM
 
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Um... that's what we do? It works great for us. We do technically still have our TV, but haven't plugged it in in over a year, and stopped using it about a year before that; for a bit over three years, we've been TV-free, and for most of that, we use just the computer. We have a laptop, so we can set it up in front of the couch or wherever we happen to want to watch something (and we can use headphones for when the child is napping, which is when we watch 99% of what little we do watch). The only "loss" is having the time-suck of channel surfing, and being innured to inanity (that is, we can no longer watch any commercials, or 98% of sitcoms, or 97% of the rest of TV without being pretty horrified at what dreck it is).

Works for us.
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Old 03-11-2009, 04:12 AM
 
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I am lucky I was never addicted to it and my son doesn't watch it either.
But I think just turning it oiff is a good idea. lol
I do have a TV at the moment but I watch it about 12 times a year, maybe, and only if someone is visiting and they are into watching tv, but my thoughs are always else where. lol

I really only have it because my friends and family like tv, so it's there for them.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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We got rid of our tv entirely over a year ago. For the three years before that it lived in the garage (and we don't have a comfy set-up out there). For a few years before that it was turned on once or twice a month for a movie.

I don't miss the tv. It's great to not have one.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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Old 03-11-2009, 09:40 PM
 
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Ours broke and we couldn't afford to get it fixed. We could afford dance lessons when dd wanted them and karate lessons when ds wanted them and a car when the bus got to be to much trouble, but TV repair was too expensive.

I don't remember whetrher we got rid of the actual nonfunctioning physical object that took up space im the universe but did not receive signals when we moved from a studio apartment in a city to a 3 bedroom house in a small town or if I'd already put it on the curb just to make room in the closet.

That was in 1996, so ds2 hadn't been born yet. I'm not sure what I'm going to tell him when he asks why we don't have TV, just that I don't like it and we're not getting one.
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Old 03-12-2009, 10:31 AM
 
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I was in negotiations with DH for years about TV free. We compromised and we are going to get rid of the DISH on May 15. We are going to go TV free for one month and then if he is having real problems with it, we will get basic cable. I am hoping that the month will wean us off it. The only reason he is agreeing to this is because he can watch Sports Center and Rescue Me on the internet!

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Old 03-12-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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This is what we do and it works very well for us. We got a digital projector and mounted it to the ceiling and use an old laptop hidden in a closet to drive it (the cables are tacked to the ceiling and go through a small hole in the closet wall that DH drilled). We also have wireless access to the laptop, so we can control it from our own computers. When we want to watch a movie, we pop a DVD into the laptop or otherwise open a file and voila.

We like this arrangement because it allowed us to arrange our living room furniture in a real circle so that people hanging out can actually see each other. The "screen" is a rectangle of wall space that we left unpainted when we moved in. DH bought some inexpensive moldings from Home Depot and stained them dark, then used them to frame the white patch. It actually looks pretty cool.

I know a lot of people who just buy a plasma monitor and use that as their "TV". We went with the projector because we're secret film nerds.

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Old 03-16-2009, 01:16 AM
 
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We got rid of our TV 4.5 years ago when DS was born. DH and I use the laptop to watch DVD's after DS goes to sleep every now adn again. We occasionally do a movie night with DS, maybe 1-2 times a month (less than that in summer/ fall when we spend most of our time outdoors).

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:48 AM
 
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We have a computer only & it works great for us. We've been that way for the past 2 1/2 years. Had a TV for about 6 months before that & no tv before that 6 months. We've moderated our watching really well by not having a tv & now I can't imagine watching tv with commercials, let alone paying for the commercials with cable! We enjoy watching dvds on the computer.
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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That is what we do. DH and I never had a TV, so there was no adjustment. Really, even if you weren't into cutting down on television watching, you could still watch hours of TV and movies online. It isn't that much of a sacrifice.
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:28 AM
 
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We have a computer only, no tv. In our computer room (which is pretty big), we have a couch & coffee table that face the side of the computer desk. Our computer monitor is a flat widescreen (dh is a gaming nerd), so we turn the monitor and the speakers to face the couch when we want to watch something. It works out perfectly. We use Netflix and Hulu to watch stuff & we sometimes rent from Redbox. We watch about 5 tv shows regularly.

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Old 03-27-2009, 02:54 PM
 
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I will say without reservation that both DH and I (former tv addicts) agree that this is the most important thing we have done for our family.

It was hard at first. The silence can be scary, as you are now left alone with your thoughts and the mind buzzes with all that has been pushed back by the "zoned out off" that TV does. There is a lot of thinking about tv, missing it.

But you know... Something new comes in. My husband and I both lost over 10 pounds by just being more active. There is a calm that is hard to describe that a lot of TV watchers don't believe ("well, we appreciate the sunsets too!") but it is in a different way. Things just are over-all calmer, more time to let life unravel. We started eating better, had more meals together. I found I had more time in the evenings and went back to school. We get more sleep. We are less stressed about the news. Our kids are not bombarded with the commercialism and images that come through (and yes- even on PBS). We planted a garden. We go out more. DH and I talk more. We both started hobbies and are involved in other interests.

I know it sounds rediculus and lots of people say "But we do other things too!" but if you really look at it, there is a whole lifestyle change by tossing the tv. Those 2 hours at night are important. Those saturday mornings, those late-nights, those snippets... They add up and the time watching tv is time not doing something else.

OK- keeping the computer for DVDs and a few tv shows... We occasionally do this too (we just came back from a big plane ride and let ds watch some videos on the computer on the plane for instance) and sometimes DH and I will have a "date" with some internet tv and a pizza after kiddos have gone to bed. But it does not rule our lives anymore. And now, its take it or leave it.

Our culture is SO dominated by TV that it is hard to see how much it influences us.

So, as for if it worked out for us, I'd have to say absolutely yes! I really don't know anyone who has been tv free that has said "You know, I really think TV-free is lame and TV was just great and I'm going to go back and get a huge tv and watch a whole lot more!"
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:50 PM
 
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I just found out this forum exists after posting a thread about video games in parenting. We are tv free which I love. Well, we have tvs, we just dont use them. I am willing to watch occasional dvds on them, but thats it. we just have computers. My current problem is not the TV eating away at my family time, its the video games on the computer.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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alexsam I agree so much with what you said!

My husband and I used to watch a lot of TV. We lived in a boring old apartment with very little to do. Then, I moved to the country with my parents where I had a job working from home. 1-I lived with other people who controlled the remote. 2-I worked a lot when I normally would have been watching tv. 3-I was busy doing stuff outside. So I didn't watch tv hardly at all.

On weekends I would visit DH (a couple towns over where he rented a room) and he didn't have tv, just internet.

That is when I shifted away from watching tv whenever I was bored to choosing what and when I watch. I follow Heroes, Lost and Big Love and watch them online. It makes such a huge difference! I wasn't hearing about the economy at every turn, I wasn't constantly being told I wasn't good enough the way I was and that I needed to buy XYZ. It's a subtle change that takes awhile to really notice. And it's wonderful!

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Old 04-04-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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when i met my husband he thought it was crazy that we didn't have cable. I just never could afford it! We did have tvs, but not much to watch besides rented movies.

when we got our own apartment, he insisted on $40/month cable, but after a few months, he agreed that we never had time to watch it, let alone that there was anything worth watching!

we have 1 very very nice tv, in the living room, with surround sound. it's hooked up to the game consoles and the ipod, with a connector cable for turning it into the laptop screen so we can play youtube videos or cable shows on it. We also have a multiplayer for dvds in German (dh's native lauguage) and a vhs to hook up when the kids want to watch old Shirley Temple flicks or Thomas the Tank Engine.

it means we basically have one very diverse screen to watch things on, and it requires a good deal of cooperation between us, not to mention it cuts back significantly on any one of us getting TONS of "screen time". i think it works great.

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Old 04-07-2009, 06:25 PM
 
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we do use our computer- not for the kids but for us a few times a week. We watch movies or shows. I still want to keep cutting that back too. I definitely need some source of viewing things becuase I am a choreographer and I often need to watch things for reference. We did get on a The Office binge for a while there- that show is brilliant!!
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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I agree with some of the PPs. We only have the computer, and haven't had a "real tv" in years. If your goal is less "screen time" the computer can be on just as much as the tv. This was never the case for us until a few months ago. We got a 2nd computer and set it up on a desk. (Previously we only had a laptop I kept in a drawer.) The girls discovered how to watch any show they want on youtube, and similar places. They also found a hoard of Pokemon dvds at the library. I was amused at first, and happy they were being quiet so the baby could nap. But its been over 2 months now, and it is what they want to do most every day! Watch pokemon on the computer! I've not had this problem in the past, and I AM happy DS can get a nap, but am considering going "screen - free", at least on weekdays. Watching them stop wanting to play has been heartbreaking!

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Old 04-14-2009, 01:37 AM
 
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DH and I have been married for almost 6 years and have never had a television. We have found that a computer with internet gives us access to all we need in the way of movies and media.

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Old 05-18-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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We have been tv-free for a few weeks now. Before that we haven't had cable for years so it was used for DVD's or video games. But I have questioned the effects of tv watching on children for a while now. I'm in the process of reading "The Plug in Drug" and felt it was long over due. So I put the tv in the basement (kids don't know where it is) and are trying to move soon and when we do, it will be one of the many things left behind. I have a laptop and plan to watch the occassional movie with the kids with it, but that will be a little while from now. I think they need a break from the screen and besides summer will be here soon...so more outside time
Since i took the tv away the big basketball hoop (that hasn't been touched in probably a year) is being used every day. And my son has re-discovered our board games. And even the little ones are playing with the toys and making forts out of pillows It is soooo much better without the tv. And having the computer is good, but I think one laptop that you can put away is best otherwise when we had a desktop set up on the desk...it was used excessively as well

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Old 05-21-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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I was resistant at first when DH wanted to get rid of the TV. Now I'm happy I obliged him. We have laptops and Netflix and I wouldn't change a thing. No TV for DS.

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Old 05-21-2009, 11:53 PM
 
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I've been tv free for most of my life. I finally, finally convinced my partner to get rid of his TV completely.

Personally, I don't miss it ... but, then, I was never into TV in the first place. I could never find anything good to watch.

We sometimes rent DVD's, like 3 times a year, lol, and watch those on the computer.

But, otherwise, you will be amazed by the amount of FREE time you have. You will be so productive, and you will have so many more hours in a day to do what you want. Versus wasting time (sorry, I'm not a tv fan) in front of a box.

My partner and I actually still play board games on week nights, as opposed to TV. We give them an "adult" twist, but we play scrabble, Clue, monopoly, poker, etc. And we have a blast together. Just talking, hanging out, playing, etc. I noticed my relationship with my partner has gotten so much more intimate - in all areas - since we got rid of that TV.

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Old 05-26-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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We did this back in 2001or2002. It's great. And it's even better now that there's www.hulu.com which lets you subscribe to shows and queues them. It also goes back to where you were if you decide to stop watching a show and want to come back the next night.

It is sooooo much nicer to schedule shows around your life, be able to stop the show, go back when the baby was babbling loudly through dialog, set up our queue for the amount of time we want to watch "let's see, The Daily Show is 22 minutes, Lie to Me is 45, okay we'll save the Simpsons for tomorrow"

And the advertisements are only like 4 per show and often for charities. And you can say if you don't like an advertisement and never see that one again.

All in all, it helps with every problem of TV watching, unless you want to eliminate screen time altogether.

ETA:
We still have a TV, in fact, we've got a new fancy flat screen, plugged into a laptop.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
We did this back in 2001or2002. It's great. And it's even better now that there's www.hulu.com which lets you subscribe to shows and queues them. It also goes back to where you were if you decide to stop watching a show and want to come back the next night.

It is sooooo much nicer to schedule shows around your life, be able to stop the show, go back when the baby was babbling loudly through dialog, set up our queue for the amount of time we want to watch "let's see, The Daily Show is 22 minutes, Lie to Me is 45, okay we'll save the Simpsons for tomorrow"

And the advertisements are only like 4 per show and often for charities. And you can say if you don't like an advertisement and never see that one again.

All in all, it helps with every problem of TV watching, unless you want to eliminate screen time altogether.

ETA:
We still have a TV, in fact, we've got a new fancy flat screen, plugged into a laptop.
We've recently discovered hulu also & I like it also.

DH wants to plug in a big screen to our computer one of these days when we can afford it. I'm glad to hear it works well for you.

We eliminated screen time all together for a while but I have found that we like some screen time and it works well for us in moderation. I could never go back to watching "tv" or getting cable. I can't stand commercials anymore. With the computer we mainly watch DVDs and sometimes watch things like youtube or hulu. I'd say a major positive is having little (with hulu) to no commercials. We'll see if hulu keeps the commercials to a minimum. I'm sure it will be tempting for them to add more as hulu becomes more popular.
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