I admire your tenacity in keeping the television service out of your home. Do you ever miss "the news"? I am wondering how you felt on 9/11? That was one of those moments that I wanted to share with the world and I'm asking myself if I wouldn't have been crazy without my TV for news/information? What did you do that day? Just curious.
Well thanks, but don't admire my tenacity too much. The truth is that while I say it is a point of pride for me that I have kept television out our home, it is more out of laziness than anything else. Even the most liberal of parents knows that television requires monitoring-- A job I don't need or want.
If I pay someone to pipe programming into my house, I will then be required to become familiar with it all in order to judge which programs I want my children to watch and which I don't. I should say, too, that I am inviting the very real possibility that my choices will differ from my children's and I will have to say "no" to some things they will want to watch.
Once I've found programs that are educational or harmlessly entertaining that my children want to watch, then I have to concern myself with the commercials. If it isn't a familiarity with adult medical "issues" I want to shield my children from (when I was a kid, ED was short for education) it is the marketing of toys they don't need that they will beg me for and I will have to refuse them.
Lastly, even if I find ways to watch our favorite programs without commercials, I will have to monitor the amount of time my kids spend in front of the tube. Access to many channels and many programs offers round the clock zoning possibilities and I am not one to pull quiet children away from programs in order to find healthier ways occupy them--ways that require my energy, my thought and my time. No, if my kids are quietly zoning in another room, I tend to look for a good book and put the kettle to boil.
For the reasons mentioned above, we subscribe to Netflix and keep four DVDs in the house at a time. Four to eight hours of preselected, commercial free viewing in the house at all times plus twenty four hours of limited instant watching a month at the Netflix site has proven sufficient for our young family. I don't think my children feel deprived or left out of anything just yet. They may one day, but not now. It helps that Netflix has such a wide selection.
Preselection also guarantees that my children exhaust their stores eventually and come up from the family room for air. They will draw, read books, or whine at my feet as I try to make dinner. The important thing is that they come up on their own; I don't have to pull them away from the set. If we had television, I certainly wouldn't pull the two year old away from the set. Why, so he can whine at my feet as I try to make dinner?
On 9/11 I was one of the first among all my friends to know what was going on because I listen to the news on the radio every morning. NPR reported as the planes were hitting and continued throughout the day. I hung on every word. Later that day, I watched some news coverage on the internet. I don't think it will be long before we all have more programming selection choices as the internet and television medias influence one another and/or converge.
Until then, I will continue to rely on the internet, preselected viewing sources, the radio, and on occasion the cheap-o rabbit ears I picked up for tonight's game...
Go Red Sox!