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Anti-TV follow-up

I just wanted to publicly thank everyone for their great comments about this -- as I said, this is an extremely important "cause" for me. In a much earlier post, I mentioned how when I want to freak myself out, I go out for a stroll through the neighborhood at night and count the number of houses that have that flickering blue glow coming from the windows. If one were prone to brainswashing conspiracies... ; )

But this guy said it better than I did in his post "Brutally Murder Your TV in Cold Blood Just to Watch It Die."

[Update: Dawn issues a No TV for One Week challenge on the Frugal for Life blog]

Robyn (and others) keep us posted on your attempts to change how television plays out in your household, or on your experiences trying to convince others to do the same.

Posted by Kathy on October 21, 2005 | Permalink


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Tracked on Nov 13, 2005 6:11:58 AM


To be fair, those flickering blue lights *could* be from DVD collections of TV shows...so let's not get too proud of ourselves...

Posted by: Bob | Oct 21, 2005 4:20:57 PM

"those flickering blue lights *could* be from DVD collections"

That's my big hope... but in most neighborhoods in the US, there's very little to make me optimistic that we're even 10% of the way there.

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Oct 21, 2005 5:06:25 PM

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this is such a big deal to people. I read the statistics on how many hours of TV people watch every day, and wonder how they have the time. I grew up overseas and never developed much of a TV habit -lucky me! In Italy, where I live now, most people don't watch that much, certainly not as much as Americans, and my family watches far less than even the Italian average (we used to watch more when our daughter was younger - first Disney, then Buffy). Nowadays we all we watch are shows and movies from DVD and other sources, nothing on the actual TV (Italian TV is so awful that this is no sacrifice!).

One trick to keep consumption down is to make viewing a family occasion. Find something the whole family loves (our current obsession is is "Lost," we haven't finished season 1 on DVD yet) and insist that watching it is a family activity - no matter how tempted, no one (or two) can watch it alone. This means that we don't watch on evenings when we're not all together, or when our daughter's boyfriend is over, which adds up to very few hours in the week. Then, when we do manage to snatch 42 minutes together to watch an episode, it's a bonding experience.

Posted by: Deirdre' Straughan | Oct 22, 2005 12:11:07 AM

Deirdre' -- what a great plan! (The current obsession for me right now is also "Lost".) Enforcing the "nobody watches alone" thing would make a huge difference for a lot of families, assuming they could pull it off. Thanks.

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Oct 22, 2005 12:43:46 AM

If you are looking for a great DVD that supports your theory ("Kill the Babysitter"), you'd better go rent (or buy) The Cable Guy:


One of my all time favorities!

Posted by: Rich | Oct 24, 2005 7:53:31 AM

The original post spurred me to do something radical. We aren't huge TV watchers...I make a point to watch 3 shows a week, my husband surfs sports in the evenings, but we don't have it on at all times. However, we have gotten in the habit of turning it on to occupy our 3 and 6 year old children, just flipping between kids channels (we have a satellite, there's a lot to choose from).

So I decided that there was no more TV during the week, and drastically reduced on weekends, when the major event would be our family movie night. Surprisingly, there was little pushback on it.

And an amazing thing happened, almost right away....Lego and LightBrite came off the shelves where they were gathering dust. And instead of the constant MommyMommyMommyMommy that I had originally turned on the TV to curtail, I got a lot of "Look Mommy! I build a car, and it can fly and ...[insert description of amazing vehicle here]", which is much more enjoyable.

Thanks, Kathy, for snapping me out of the haze of convenience I'd allowed myself to fall into. I can't wait to go home now and build Lego space ships instead of listening to the inane blather of Yu Gi Oh and Be Damon.

Posted by: Cynthia | Oct 24, 2005 10:48:57 AM

OK, sorry, but this one creeps me out:

Congress pays 3 Billion (yes, BILLION) to subsidize our transition to digital television. From an article on yesterday's slashdot, the idea is that they're laying off Nasa JPL scientists, but they can spend the 3 billion so we won't miss a moment of mass distraction.

Cynthia: how wonderful!!

Rich: thanks for the tip -- I'll put it on my Netflix queue

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Oct 24, 2005 3:02:20 PM

Wow!! I made the watch list for TV time .. maybe I should start a blog on our progress :)

I have to confess; I hesitated on the full cable kill due to of all things ... SPORTS! I have an enormous 13-year-old son (already 6'2") and he plays both football and basketball. He seldom watches games but I'm not sure I should eliminate the option. I'm wondering if following a few teams could be a good thing but at this point, he’s more likely to play ESPN 2005 than actively watch a game.

I did change my morning routine from coffee and news to green tea and rowing. I absolutely love it; my day starts better with far less stress. (I’m not really giving up coffee though; I still stop for a soy latte on my way to the office.) We have turned off network news entirely and my daughter is hoping you will write something about landscaping TV being bad for the brain next. Actually, I haven’t been turning that on lately either.

My boyfriend has always been a TV-as-wallpaper kind of guy, but he’s also a musically inclined unix geek, so this thread has inspired lots of tangentially related conversions (with the set off). The impact of advertising, changes in network news cast since we were kids, TV surfing vs. internet surfing, etc. etc. Even though the cable is still connected, it seems that everyone is much more aware of what they are watching.

The cable may still be going soon; at this point, it’s starting to seem like a waste of money :)

Posted by: Robyn S | Oct 26, 2005 3:04:19 PM

Rail against the major networks if you must, but there is a some good stuff being broadcast.

Get away from ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and look at the History Channel, The Travel Channel, HGTV, PBS, or even the "high numbers" (9000+) on Dish Network. You can find some fascinating stuff - good stuff - educational stuff - fun stuff.

It would be a real mistake to "Brutally murder your TV..."

But don't surf. Make it appointment TV, and when your appointment is over, turn it off until your next appointment.

BTW: shouldn't we do the same with the computer?

Posted by: Mark | Nov 2, 2005 2:52:10 PM

I've managed to save up roughly $72783 in my bank account, but I'm not sure if I should buy a house or not. Do you think the market is stable or do you think that home prices will decrease by a lot?

Posted by: Courtney Gidts | Nov 15, 2005 4:55:42 PM

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