Monday, December 27, 2010

On our tv free home

I live in a beautiful home. It's a fact. I am an incredibly lucky woman. I walk around, running my fingers along mahogany, antique fixtures. But, if you were to walk around my home, you may notice there is something missing. There is no tv, and we like it that way.

We didn't always go without tv. When I was pregnant, we had full cable, a flat screen monstrosity, right in the middle of our living room. We bowed to our glowing god, morning, evening and night. However, i started to notice that it made us stop talking to each other. In fact, we weren't even looking at each other much anymore. I felt like it had become a default to just plop down in front of the tv. Finally, when mike was tired of staring at it, and i was tired of watching him stare at it, we got rid of our tv.

It makes me really happy to think that we will raise our little boy in a tv free home. Studies have shown time and time again that television exposure reduces attention spans, and increases umpulsive behavior in children. In my Natural Life magazine (which I love) it said that the average girl will see eighty thousand ads on tv before she reaches kindergarden. So, not only do i have concerns about the negative effects tv has on Ender's growing brain, the content is bizarre to me as well. I find it disturbing that children as young as two are trained in brand recognition and conspicuous consumption (mommy those shoes look cheap!). The idea of spending your way to happiness is one that i have been grappling with most of my adult life and i am going to try my best not to pass on to my children. Television makes that goal difficult, if not impossible.

I remember telling my dentist, who had two young children, that we had gotten rid of tv in our home. "it's going to be hard," he said "television is the best babysitter we ever had." Maybe so. I know that sometimes I would really appreciate a little screen time, a little quiet time. But with even the american pediatric association recommending no tv for children under two, i feel onfident in my choice. We still watch the tv shows we like, but we do it online, and it lacks the constant oppressive flow of television, one show after the next. We watch what we want, and stop. Our consumption has gone down from approximately 25 hours a week to 5.

I am glad that we are a tv free home, and i hope we stay that way.

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