When I was a child, I used to think that the TV was magical. When I was very little, I even believed that people on the screen could see me as plainly as I could see them – so much so that if I was getting changed then I’d go behind the sofa! I was fascinated by the way we could see into different worlds and places, and see people conversing in different languages.

Nowadays, although there are some truly wonderful and entertaining programmes out there, there’s also the notion that television can become addictive (some studies even compare it to dependencies such as alcoholism).  Sometimes, I’ll find myself watching a box set or drama that I’ve simply lost interest in…continuing to stare mindlessly at the screen out of habit rather than out of any real interest. It’s led me to wonder if I watch too much TV; if it’s just another form of procrastination – or time-wasting – when I could be doing something more interesting/productive/creative instead. 

With this in mind, I decided to set myself a challenge of going one week TV free…. and this is my first day. I can’t decide whether I’m going to miss my daily dose of drama, of informative broadcasting, of pure catharsis when I’m too tired to do anything else. Or whether it will be a spring-board into learning and doing new things. 

A quick search on Google shows that I’m not alone in thinking about ditching the TV. Apparently, 1-2% of Americans do abstain from TV watching (source), usually for one of three reasons (1) the excessive sex, violence and consumerism that they believe is promoted on some channels/programming. (2) the belief that TV intrudes on family life, and on the art of conversation (3) the belief that the TV industry is becoming too dominant and they don’t want this influence brought into the family home. 

The benefits? Well, people who abstain from TV/or reduce their viewing time seem to do more of everything else…as Luschka, from Diary of a First Child, commented, it worked for her:  “I simply unplugged the cable and cancelled the tv licence. Nothing like being thrown in the deep end! The kids missed it at first but I just said it wasn’t working. We still have Netflix and Amazon but I only watch on the tablet now so I don’t watch as much or as often. Instead I write birthday cards, I’ve started playing piano again and I read 2-3 books a week. I still get to watch what I want but I don’t get caught in hours of mindless rubbish. An added bonus is that the children’s list of plastic toy requests has all but disappeared too. I don’t think I’ll ever go back.” 

I wonder what your thoughts are about going TV-free? Could you live without television or would you miss it? Maybe your situation is more like Nikki’s over at Riding Boots for Boo – “I long to watch more TV! I hardly ever watch it as all I seem to do is work these days. It is real decadence when I get to sit down and watch it! I see it as theatre in my living room”. Theatre…surely that’s an apt description of some of the best TV out there? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below if you can. And check back next week for an update … 

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29 comments on “Television – Could You Live Without It?”

  1. I know what you mean!

    I think tv has become a habit for many. I quite often turn ours off and do other things simply because I get sick of hearing it! Other times I put a film on in the background and crochet which is bliss.

    I normally turn it off if we have guests so that we can catch up and actually listen to each other unless there are kiddies than it’s tv because I have no toys around the place anymore.

    I don’t think we need it always but I do enjoy it so good luck with your challenge, look forward to hearing of what you got up to instead.

    • Thanks, Sarah! I love looking at your crochet pics on social media….I have a set of crochet hooks but always find I’m all fingers and thumbs. Maybe I should try and practise a little this week 🙂

  2. I gave up TV for Lent one time, a few years back. I was surprised to find I had a TV habit. Every evening at 7 o’clock, I automatically headed over to the TV to turn it on, not even knowing what shows were about to start. For the first few days I’d catch myself and quickly turn it off. I’d then wander around and try to think of something to do. After those first few awkward days, I was fine and read more and prayed more (after all, it was Lent) and kept a more tidy house. I’m looking forward to hearing about your experience!

  3. Hi Rachel! We do like spending time having movie days with the kids and me and my hubby enjoy sitting back and watching a good film or a box set. But I like to think we aren’t dependent on TV. We spend lots of time outdoors so we have quite a good balance. Good luck with your challenge 🙂

    Thanks ever so much for sharing with #MMBC. Hope to see you Monday x

    • Thanks, Jayne. I love movie days with the kids, too, especially if it’s too wet to go outdoors. There’s something about snuggling up together with popcorn and hearing the rain bang down on the windows 🙂

  4. Hi! I haven’t owned a TV for the last 10 years. My main reason was that I didn’t want to sit there channel hopping all night and watching things just for the sake of it. I find that I am happier tinkering away on my laptop in the evening.

  5. When I was a teen, we lived abroad for a few years and didn’t have a TV. I did not miss it at all. Sometimes now I miss cultural references when people are talking. They’ll talk about a TV character/program that I’ve never heard of before, but I don’t think it has left me damaged. Even now, I’d happily throw the TV out. We’ve kept it small and it doesn’t dominate the room. I think my early experience means I’m more likely to switch it off than have it playing in the background. I hope your experiment goes well.

    • Hi, Cheryl. It’s so interesting to hear of your experiences and it reminds me of how we don’t miss TV when we’re abroad, either. For shorter periods, obviously, but the principle is similar. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  6. I’m definitely guilty of mindless watching, just as a comfort I think to have it in the background while I procrastinate, too tired and unfocussed to do anything creative or useful. I’m trying to decide early on when I start watching something whether it’s really worth watching and whether it’s gripping me (usually easy to tell because instead I’ll be on my laptop and paying hardly any attention to the film/show!), then stop and find something better. I’d prefer to start using my screen-watching time for things I really enjoy, though I don’t think I’d necessarily want/be able to cut it out altogether. I definitely see the benefit of trying to go TV-free, and I sometimes thing I’d like to go technology free altogether for a week! Good luck – will be interested to hear how you get on!! 🙂
    Caz x

  7. To be honest , I always see having time to watch TV as a luxury. I dont watch a lot, but at the moment wouldn’t want to miss Call the Midwife on a Sunday. Apart from that, could probably do without it. However, I hope noone ever asks me to give up the internet.

  8. I never watch TV unless my husband is home on the weekends and then it’s turned on and I hear the background noise. I don’t watch any shows. I guess I’m just weird like that. Ha! I much prefer to be online, but that’s probably an area I need to dial back so much more. Good luck with your no-TV challenge!

  9. I admit I have a technology addiction – have to be online daily, watch TV in the evening. Read books on my pad. I try to cut things off occasionally and just read, but most days too much tech.

  10. I don’t have it on at all in the day but do like to catch up on it in the evenings as we wind down. The thing is I don’t even fully watch it when it’s on so I really should remove it but I think the rest of the family would mutiny! #mmbc

  11. This is an interesting question. I definitely spend too many hours in front of the TV during the week. My partner works away Monday morning to Friday evening, so I’m here on my own, and it feels like company to have the TV on each evening. Set against that, we can easily go for a whole weekend without switching the TV on at all, because we are busy doing other things. So I think there’s a large element of habit in my weekday viewing, and I could probably do something about it if I put my mind to it. I’m really intrigued to hear how your challenge goes!

  12. Hi, I think that I could give TV up for a week as I don’t think that I watch it that much. I am quite happy to listen to the radio or podcasts instead. I think I may now have to challenge myself to give it a try #MMBC

  13. Hi Rachel, I love the idea of this. The telly can dominate our lives if we let it. It is a massive time waster, that rarely leaves us feeling satisfied and raring to go. I only tend to watch an episode or two of a show on Netflix in the evening, but I do sometimes go through phases of watching more and it makes me feel lousy (and a little guilty). Will pop over and see how you did!

    xx

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