Many times when people find out that we have no TV they look at me as if I am from another planet. I suppose to them, it is as if I am saying that we have no indoor plumbing, or running water. TV has become as much a part of our lives nowadays as central heat and a flush toilet. Most people take TV for granted and view it as one of life’s necessities.
However, just because I have no TV does not mean that I am a luddite. Obviously I love my computer and my high-speed internet access (perhaps too much). Technology can be a wonderful thing, but like many wonderful things, I believe that it is best used in moderation.
Deciding to adopt an unplugged lifestyle is a matter of degree. The one extreme would be no TV, videos, computer…nothing with a screen…EVER. The other end of the unplugged spectrum is to allow the use of all those things, but in moderation.
For those of us who do wish to live some form of screen-free life, the degree to which we do so is very much a matter of personal choice. What works for one individual or family, might not work for another.
My family is somewhere in the middle. Although we are without a TV signal here in this remote part of Arizona (having chosen not to install cable or satellite), we do own “the box” which I inherited from my mother. I allow occasional videos or DVDs. I also allow some limited computer time for the two oldest who like to play educational games. We have no TV-based video games and I even try to avoid loud talking, flashing toys. I prefer quiet ones that offer more open-ended, imaginative play.
When we are away from home and someplace with a TV, I allow the kids to watch some. They find this totally fascinating and consider it a big treat. What’s more, they’ll watch ANYTHING and are just as happy watching the Food Network as they are PBS Kids.
So for anyone who has been lurking here because you are considering reducing or eliminating screens from your family’s life, I hope you feel encouraged by this post. It never occurs to many people that it is all simply a matter of degree!
You don’t have to cut it all off. You don’t have to do it cold turkey. You don’t have to rip out your plumbing and build an outhouse.
My advice: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Adjust your screen time until you find just the right balance for you and your children.