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TV-Free > Mamas of TV Free Children Rollcall
UrbanPlanter's Avatar UrbanPlanter 02:31 AM 10-04-2004
p.s. I wanted to share this one tidbit with you all, even tho we're not 100% tv free: when we visit my mom/stepdad, the tv is on all of the time. My ds knows where the "off" button is on the front of the tv, and he uses it quite often! :LOL

p.p.s. Re: visiting people who have the tv on: We are very frank about it; I will ask, as nicely as I can, if the tv can be turned off - I say something like "ds doesn't play when it's on bc it sucks him in" or "this is a program that he might not be ready to watch" etc.

I just don't see how tv-watching has anything to do with socializing. As little as the tv is on in my home, it is never on when a visitor arrives! And ds never asks to watch tv when people are over; playing with friends is much more fun!

UrbanPlanter's Avatar UrbanPlanter 04:48 PM 10-04-2004
Ok, here I am again

I wanted you all to know that I've started an "intervention" thread for myself at

Maybe we will be TV-Free soon enough so that I can join this thread!
mystic~mama's Avatar mystic~mama 05:46 PM 10-04-2004
Please dont get yourself depressed over this, the stress is as bad or worse for you than the actual tv watching itself! Lifes hard these days for all of us so do your best and try not to beat yourself up!

When I first read this thread I started I felt a little down on myself for watching tv and letting my daughter watch some but the fact is that I have done my best and what I thought was right for my child and no matter what some article says I am not going to let myself put much into someone saying I have permanently damaged my child! I still bf my 2.5 year old, feed her all home cooked/prepared organic food and I feel I do so many wonderful things for my daughter...and I'm sure you do too! ***edited to add*** Your signature shows what a dedicated and loving mama you are! ***

I agree that tv is junk and is probably the #1 addiction in this country but no matter who you are or where you live harmful things are going to effect you no matter what, it is a fact of life right now. I have been wanting to come back to this thread and post that we have been tv free for most of the past week and it feels great. It happened naturally...when you live life out of the mainstream, watching tv is very unappealing! I havent totally killed my tv, we still are going to watch movies and PBS too but I dont want my daughter to think PBS has to be a part of her everyday life and she has been fine with dd is an extremely bright and securely attached child and yes, I am bragging just a point is that we all need to do our best and not beat ourselves up over some quest for perfection in any area of life, just try to enjoy it!

MamaAllNatural's Avatar MamaAllNatural 08:03 PM 10-04-2004
Hi Adrianne! It's so wonderful to see you here! I recently did the whole decluttering thing too! It's so nice. PM if you need support or tips OK?

Oh right, back to the topic. :LOL I do think video games (as in in the home) are horrible. I'm as against those as I am TV - perhaps even more so because of the contant violence. I do think movies are different though. TV is all about commercialism and fast paced and in your face advertising and brainwashing...I could go on and on. I think movies are more art-like in most cases and dh and I rent DVDs occasionally. I still though think movies are not OK for kids because their brains and bodies are still growing. I especially don't like that it tells children "This is what girls do and what boys wear. This is what black people are like." etc. etc. My kids play with all toys equally. They see all types of people equally. I know it has a lot to do with the fact that they are TV free. Adults already have their cells and most of their ideas formed, kwim?

So, I hope that answered your questions.
hrheka's Avatar hrheka 10:45 PM 10-04-2004
Oh yay!!! Other tv free families, I was starting to think we were the only one! I haven't had a tv for six years. When my husband and I were dating and he asked me to move in with him, it was on the condition that we never own a tv. Our daughter is now 16 months and has only seen tv at other peoples houses. Most people know how I feel about tv however because I do not hesitate to talk about it so they rarely turn the thing on when we're around.

I've been amazed at how young many people I know start letting their babies watch tv and even think its "cute" when they're six month old watches w/ them.

I must say I saw an earlier post from a mom who has doesn't watch tv but is a tv producer, my husband works for MTV! I think it makes I hate tv all the more!
Ponoma's Avatar Ponoma 05:28 PM 10-05-2004
Hi Mommas,

Dh and I were too poor when we married 7 years ago to own
a tv and we haven't gone back since! Granted we did have one
year living with his grandpanrents and had accesss to cable.
Luckily baby was still an infant and I had to wean mysle off of the food tv network before we left. Yet, We don't miss the tv - truly. how is the g's green earth do people find TIME to watch it - esp during the week?

The challenge is now that dd is two and her friends mothers
let them watch a lot of seasame street, videos, and of course
Dora. Would like to hear your thoughts on tv at playmates
houses. Part of me fears that tv wathcing is like candy .
When she is older if I don't teach her to self regulate she
will gorge on it all when she is older...........
Misti's Avatar Misti 05:59 PM 10-05-2004
Originally Posted by Ponoma
Would like to hear your thoughts on tv at playmates houses. Part of me fears that tv wathcing is like candy . When she is older if I don't teach her to self regulate she will gorge on it all when she is older...........
I am facing this one, too, Ponoma. I protect Jack entirely from television, and when i'm around, my friends never have it on in the room where Jack and I are. But he's approaching two, and he has been invited to come and spend a cuple of hours with his little friends while his Dad and I have some couple time. So far we haven't accepted -- in part because it's going to be hard on him! Jack has always had either his Dad or me right there. But couple time is sure sounding good.

But these friends do let their kids watch television, and while they respect my feelings about TV while I am visiting, I'm not sure they'd hink it fair for me to ask that their older kids not watch while Jack is visiting -- and where the older kids are, the toddlers are likely to follow.

I'm not too worried about gorging later. The worst of the damage is done when children are young. My older kids were TV free as children, and watch now as adults, but they have developed their personailities and their views on life without the input of constant media brainwashing. They watch more than I would if I were them, but it's not my concern anymore. I did for them what I could while I could -- and it's the same with Jack.
sohj's Avatar sohj 06:23 PM 10-05-2004
Oooooohhh! I thought I was soooooo cooool!

I didn't have a TV at home. I didn't need one. My mother and I went to great movies that my classmates' parents wouldn't dream of taking them to (like Cousin, Cousine, the french one with all the foreplay, not the boring american remake) And one of my stepfathers was a jazz musician and I occasionally could be found doing my homework at the bar of a jazz club with a complementary Shirley Temple next to me. And my mother had season tickets to the San Francisco Opera for the opening nights. Once had Count Basie dedicate "Miss Brown" to me on my birthday. Got Placido Domingo's autograph and a kiss (!) when I was 8 (got to leave school for that, too!)

And when I was with my father, I went to strikes and got to see the news happening at the same time as the local news stations' cameras. And we went to tapings of Prairie Home Companion. And I did a lot of real-life backwoods camping and canoeing. I actually learned wood-craft, didn't just watch it on Daniel Boone or some other show.

And I rubbed my classmates noses in it. When I was over at people's homes that had a TV on, I constantly was pointing out stuff.... come all the cops are white?

...why is the heroine always blonde (and white)?

...why is the only strong woman dressed like a man? And has short hair?

...hey, look! That commercial is making the 3 Musketeers Bar look about four times the size that it is in real life!!! do you think they got that ice cream to keep from melting under the camera lights? That totally looks like mashed potatoes! (I actually found out years later when I met a "food stylist" that that is exactly what gets used to look like ice cream in the ads!! )

I am NOT proud of this. But, I just want to point out that just because one is watching something at a friend's place, they aren't necessarily being "polluted" with the commercialism and brainwashing.

(And I am also giving a different perspective to those who think that you HAVE to watch TV in order to be able to spot its manipulations. I really think it lessens the ability to spot the brainwashing.)

Oh yeah, BTW, I'm one of those people who heckles stand-up comics. I'm still an a$$h**e.
sadie_sabot's Avatar sadie_sabot 07:20 PM 10-05-2004


If I do my job well, maybe dd will end up a bit like you!!!

sohj's Avatar sohj 07:28 PM 10-05-2004
Originally Posted by sadie_sabot

If I do my job well, maybe dd will end up a bit like you!!!

OMG! You don't really want that! I'm surprised anyone could stand me.

But, thank you.
farmer mama's Avatar farmer mama 04:50 AM 10-06-2004
sohj- great come back for the argument that kids need to watch TV in order to able to understand how commercialism manipulates. Also you really touched on the one other thing people bring up when we say we don't do TV; that we are "sheltering" our kids and they need to learn about the "real world". What sort of life experience or understanding of the world can they possibly get from watching TV as opposed to actually living life? In my kids young lives they have been at several home births, a death at home, grow and raise their own food, spent lots of time in the wilderness, lots of time in the city at cultural events, met all sorts of wild people who have introduced them to different skills, lifestyles and ideas. What does watching TV, having tons plastic toys or shopping at Walmart have to offer them that is positive? Whew- that was a little bit of a rant.
bente's Avatar bente 05:12 AM 10-06-2004
Our goal it to be totally TV free. We have no TV or cable hook up. Only one little TV with a VCR to play some videos for the kids, and the occasional video for me and dh when the kids are asleep (this might happend a couple of times a year).
Our goal is to be TV free, and I wonder how all the other media like internet etc. will play out in the years to come.
MamaAllNatural's Avatar MamaAllNatural 05:20 AM 10-06-2004
Originally Posted by sohj
I am also giving a different perspective to those who think that you HAVE to watch TV in order to be able to spot its manipulations. I really think it lessens the ability to spot the brainwashing.)
I couldn't agree more! When I first became TV free I hadn't seen TV in two months. I went over to my Aunt's house and was just "I can't *believe* they just said that/did that!" It was such an obvious sexual connotation to try to get you to buy the product. It was absolutely shocking how in your face and extreme the commercials were. It was just so easy for me to see what "they" were doing. My Aunt had no idea what I was talking about. She couldn't see it. She didn't believe me. The more you are away from it the more you are able to see it for what it really is. The more you watch it the more brainwashed you are into TV land and the less you see.

Originally Posted by Sohj
I'm still an a$$h**e
You'll never get me to believe that.

Farmer Mama, rant on! ITA with you. Life is life! How could life experience be anything other than real life experience? I love what you had to say.
thistle's Avatar thistle 10:36 AM 10-06-2004
I have one of those dc's that gets sucked in at the sight of the screen. If I go to any store that has an electronics section her eyes are glued. TV was causing big problems in our house. DD would throw a FIT if it was turned off, regardless of whether it was Sesame Street or Wall Street Week. The TV had to go. It took about 3 days for me to notice BIG differences in her.

I did take her to the movie a couple of times this summer and she enjoyed it. I preferred that to watching dvds at home b/c it is in a special place. I absolutely LOVE going to the movie and really do miss it. Now dd will play "going to the movie" and we will sit and look at the fireplace and pretend to watch a movie about rabbits dancing.

I think part of why dd likes tv so much is that she gets to see other kids. In our neighborhood we never see other kids around during the day. I take her to the neighborhood park on nice days, but she is the only one there. I know she gets lonely and tired of mom all the time.
Butter's Avatar Butter 11:14 AM 10-06-2004
Add us to the TV Free masses.

We have one little TV and a DVD player and a VCR. We don't have cable or satellite and no rabbit ears either so we get nothing but static on our TV. We are seriously considering getting rid of the TV completely. The biggest thing stopping us is the kids love to watch the Come Read With Me and Melody Lane (reading and music courses from Calvert School) videos. My husband says he could hook the VCR to the computer so they could still watch those (and they do have to occasionally as they are part of their schoolwork).

We've been off and on TV free for years. This time we have been TV free since July. Several people have said how will we have conversations with people if we don't watch TV. Others have said how could we miss out on cartoons for the kids and soaps for me. Uh, yeah, how could we be so stupid to misplace our priorities. Cartoons and soaps. That's where it's at.

We do let the kids play computer games. I refuse to get any "branded" ones (i.e. Dora, Wiggles, Pooh, etc.). Right now we just have a few Jump Start ones (numbers, ABCs, Phonics, and Spelling) and Color Phonics. Oh, we do have Land Before Time Toddler because my mom gave it to my daughter when she was little. They rarely play that anymore since they are both above it now. My daughter's spelling and math skills have really improved since she started playing those games so I'm not to annoyed at her playing them yet. I'm not so sure about mind-numbing non-educational games, but mostly we won't have to worry about them until the kids are older.

The internet I find to be a time sucker sometimes and I get addicted to it easily myself. I find it hard to strike a balance. I hesitated even to register to post here and lurked for a while before I did, but this thread prompted me to go ahead and register. We definitely cannot get rid of the internet all together since my in-laws live in Ireland and we communicate via e-mail (in addition to weekly phone calls) and my siblings live in other states and e-mail is the easiest and cheapest communication with them, too.

One big plus for us having no TV for the kids is we find Miss A goes to sleep quicker and easier and is much calmer and better behaved if she has not been watching movies. Her behavior tends to be atrocious if she has watched much TV (when we had TV).
dharmamama's Avatar dharmamama 11:03 PM 10-07-2004
Just a question for those who don't let their kids watch tv but watch tv or videos themselves: At what age do you think it will be ok for your kids to watch some tv?

I guess we're not technically tv-free because on Sundays during football season my daughter watches Steelers games with her daddy. Although it's mostly just her waving her Terrible Towel and shouting "Yay Steelers!" when Daddy says to. She really doesn't have the interest or attention span to "watch" a football game. Other than that, no tv for her.

MamiBeth's Avatar MamiBeth 03:58 PM 10-08-2004
Originally Posted by dharmamama
Just a question for those who don't let their kids watch tv but watch tv or videos themselves: At what age do you think it will be ok for your kids to watch some tv?

I read that the first three years are the most crucial for brain development.
cuqui's Avatar cuqui 04:06 PM 10-08-2004
My oldest is 6 and no tv yet. I don't think I can answer the when question, I do know it won't be any time soon. Maybe HS, dvd's of approved (by me or dh) movies. I love foreign and or independent films, you know the ones with depth. We recently watched "Wave Rider" out of New Zealand, what a great film, I would let her see that movie but like age 8 or 9. Broadcast TV, I hope she never wants to watch that rubbish.
Periwinkle's Avatar Periwinkle 06:11 PM 10-08-2004
Wow am I late as usual. Count me in. Dd and ds do not watch ANY TV or videos at all, ever. Hmm... well, actually, they "watched" bits and pieces of the SuperBowl but that's because dh kept HAVING to sneak peek at the live game while Tivo was recording. They pretty much ignored it though.

It is getting increasinly hard to stick with the no TV rule. My sister brings her small TV with built in VCR whenever she comes over to our parents house or on family vacations because her 18 mo. old dd can't be without "her shows". And when we go over to people's houses... people we've called ahead of time to ask if it's ok if we bring dd and ds (e.g., if we're invited somewhere for dinner) and they're like "Oh of course, it's a cookout and a very family friendly event!" what I realize they often mean is that there's a large screen TV in the basement rec room that will be on the entire time entertaining all the kids there. Then they look at me like I'm nuts when I want to keep dd and ds outside with us, you know, at this "family friendly" BBQ. Grrrr...

In terms of future planning, I do think we'll allow dd and ds to watch some (very controlled) TV occasionally as they get older. I can see them really loving certain nature shows for example, or even Mr Rogers reruns. Dh and I haven't decided when that will be... I'm guessing maybe closer to preschool/elementary school age? Like maybe 4 or 5. Not sure.

Farmermama I like what you posted about not looking to TV to teach about real life.
NatureMama3's Avatar NatureMama3 06:15 PM 10-08-2004
How did I miss THIS? :LOL

We killed our TVs more than 2.5 years ago (late january 02) and have NEVER looked back. We sold the TVs and vcrs and videos (family ones aside), took the cable box back and even took the cables out of the walls in our house we bought just over 2 years ago.

It has been NOTHING but beneficial for all of us. It took the twins over a year to be completely de-TVd though, that was the hardest on us!
Scarlett Mother's Avatar Scarlett Mother 06:31 PM 10-08-2004
I'm a semi tv person too... My daughter is now 26 months and though when she was little we'd watch some Sesame Street, we found that she was becoming addicted in a way. She'd want to watch tv when she was tired and would cry if you didn't let her. We've always known that a lot of tv was not good, so this bothered us and then I read coverage about several studies saying that tv is really not good for kids under 2 (or 3) so we pretty much cut tv out dds life cold turkey. Now on rare occasion she will watch part of Finding Nemo or Monsters, Inc.
UrbanPlanter's Avatar UrbanPlanter 06:39 PM 10-08-2004
Somebody please define "tv free children" to me!

In my mind, this is the definition (but it doesn't seem to fit all of the posters here):

No tv. Don't own a tv. Don't own a vcr. Don't own a dvd... or any other contraption that plays movies or tapes or shows or whatever on a tv screen. And, no dvd on the computer. Isn't this the same as TV?

My mind also tells me this: no tv at all for anyone in the family. No "do as I say, not as I do" tv.


Some of you may know that I have been struggling with this myself lately (started my own intervention thread, even ).

I just find it odd that some posters say "yeah, we're no tv, but.... [fill in the occasional tv/computer dvd viewing]"
cuqui's Avatar cuqui 08:09 PM 10-08-2004
TV -free children was my understanding of this thread. DH & I watch dvds AFTER and only after the children are sleeping, NEVER during the day or while the children are present. NO TV, no videos, no computer games or viewing for my kids, heck I don't even turn on the radio when they are in the car, or tapes or cds for that matter, no prerecorded music, (except the occasional salsa cd I can't resist while cooking dinner .
ShannonCC's Avatar ShannonCC 11:51 PM 10-08-2004
I don't know what the real definition is, I just know what *I* do. For me, no tv means we don't watch the tv :LOL Watching DVDs on the tv is still tv. It's not broadcast tv, but it's still tv. And I would think that watching DVDs on the computer is still tv. We do own a tv though. We only went tv free three months ago and twice in that time, dh and I have watched a video when the kids were at Grandma's. And next week dh intends to tape a mini-series and again, we'll watch it when the kids are at Grandmas (we even have to get someone to tape it for us since we aren't hooked up to cable anymore!)

I guess it depends on your opinions on tv. I think tv is bad for little, developing minds. I don't see it as a big deal if dh and I watch some (twice in three months mind you!). I am happy we don't have it as an everyday option anymore though. I don't want to get back into the schedule we were in where there was something we *had* to watch *every* night of the week. I think life is better now.

But even my kids are not totally tv free according to this thread. In the past three months they have seen some at a friend's house when we went for a playdate and at Grandma's when they were babysat. For me, it's important that we don't have tv available *in the house*. It's not something that we can do every day. It's something that I don't think is a big deal if it's once a month at Grandma's house. And some people *do* think that's a big deal. I respect that opinion, I just don't agree with it.

So I don't think you are going to everyone to agree. But maybe the person who started the tribe gets to decide
MamaAllNatural's Avatar MamaAllNatural 12:06 AM 10-09-2004
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
maybe the person who started the tribe gets to decide

motherofthree's Avatar motherofthree 12:28 AM 10-09-2004
We've been semi-TV free for over a year. We do still own a TV, but it is now in a very inconvenient spot (unfinished basement). On a very rare occasion I will allow my 3 1/2 yo to watch a special DVD (but Disney, etc is OUT) We tend to watch (together mind you, she isn't just plopped in front of the 'boob tube') a language or sign language video or Veggie Tales. DH and I will watch a movie on a rare occasion about once a month. I would eventually love to get rid of the TV entirely. It's been a slow process, but we're working on it.
PikkuMyy's Avatar PikkuMyy 01:30 AM 10-09-2004
In terms of the definitions, I grew up television-set- and computer-free.

However, DH and I do own a television-set. But we don't get TV. That's how I think about it anyway - there isn't cable or even an antenna. We are big fans of film noir movies, and early cartoons (1900-1930) and we have lots of DVDs in those categories among others, but most are made before 1970. Which IMO is much different than modern movies. There is no "attitude" in any of our cartoons, they're all pretty peaceful, etc.

When we have kids, we will let them watch these cartoons and movies like the Wizard of Oz and that sort of thing. But no Disney and that sort of (IMO) crap. So maybe we won't be completely TV-free but I think that watching 1 hour of a DVD per week is so close that I'll call us that.

ETA: No video games. Period.
dharmamama's Avatar dharmamama 02:08 AM 10-09-2004
To me, a tv-free kid is a kid who doesn't watch tv. It doesn't really matter whether there's a tv in the house. A family can have a tv, the parents can watch tv, and the kid can still be tv-free. Although, with the prevalence of tvs in every public venue these days, I think you'd be excruciatingly hard-pressed to find a kid who has NEVER EVER seen a nanosecond of tv.

I do wish that my husband didn't turn the football game on when my daughter was around, but that's because I don't want her exposed to the commercials. I don't believe that watching a few minutes on and off of a football game is going to hurt my daughter in any way. I know others disagree with that, and that's ok! I do plan to allow my daughter and son to watch pre-screened, live-action educational videos (like Wild Kingdom and Lonely Planet stuff) when they are old enough to benefit from the material presented. Maybe 7 or 8? I'll have to see when they get to those ages.

dharmamama's Avatar dharmamama 02:12 AM 10-09-2004
Originally Posted by AdrianneWe
My mind also tells me this: no tv at all for anyone in the family. No "do as I say, not as I do" tv.
Not trying to be snide at all, but I don't let my daughter cross the street alone, drive a car, use a sharp knife, or bathe alone, but I don't think I'm setting a "do as I say, not as I do" example. I'm just not allowing her to do things that could harm her given her stage of physical and emotional development. I see the tv issue the same way.

spsmom's Avatar spsmom 02:34 AM 10-09-2004
i am a hypocrite. i have always believed in tv free kids. ds does not watch programming or videos. and really, he could care less. he is more interested in the remote because it makes things happen on the screen!

so here is my problem. i have found myself in a depressed rut whre i have convinced myself that there is nothing else to do. so as ds and i are home during the day, the tv is on. i am watching crap. remember, no cable, so it's not even educational stuff, it's crap like people's court and oprah. i am so ashamed to even admit this to anyone!

we live in a place where there are no families that i would even consider striking up a relationship with. (we are in so cal where hosue prices are so high we had no choice but to buy here). so, no friends close by, no money to fix up our huge yard so there is no palce for ds to play (he is 18mo, btw) and not a lot money to get memberships to museums and zoos, etc.

i have met with some semi-local moms and they meet for play dates, but the timing has been off because of naps for ds.

noticing a trend, i am making excuses for everything.

help! i need some motivation to get creative. any advice would be greatly appreciated. i am really stuck and i can't get myself to shut the damn thing off!
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