07 November 2011

Giving Up TV

Thanks for visiting Green Means Go(od) this week! As promised, I'm focusing on Giving Up something this month as a lead up to the biggest shopping day of the year - the Friday after Thanksgiving. Giving Up will address different types of sacrifices that can help make our lives healthier and less consumer-centric: from giving up TV, giving up meat, giving up shopping.

I have never owned a television set. Sure, I have lived with televisions nearly my entire life. My parents had a TV while I was growing up and nearly all of my roommates in college and post-college had TVs as well. I went totally TV-free in grad school when I lived by myself in a small studio apartment in 2001. It wouldn't have mattered much if I'd had a TV. I was never home anyway and if I was home, I was reading reading reading or writing writing writing.

When Nate and I moved to Austin, we decided not to get a TV for ourselves. We did purchase a nice flat screen computer monitor and enjoyed plenty of movies via Netflix. We never specifically discussed not having a TV after moving into our first apartment. People would offer to give us their old TVs. We always politely thanked them and said no. It wasn't about not being able to afford a TV, it was about the time we found ourselves saving. When we had Benny we agreed that he could still watch programs via the computer. However, when we moved into our house, we moved the computer to the basement. That means it takes a little extra effort to get down here and turn on the computer. Luckily we can access lots of great PBS children's programming by subscribing to Netflix.

Watching TV has become a privilege for helping out or doing something nice or just generally being good. Benny can't turn it on whenever he wants and we can largely choose what he watches. Plus, he isn't exposed to lots of advertisements and is generally unaware of ads targeting kids. 

I still watch plenty of programs via Hulu and Netflix. Sometimes too many. However, I find myself grabbing a book or doing housework instead of heading downstairs for some time in front of the computer. After over seven years of not having a TV, Nate and I both resolved that we'll probably never buy one. And we certainly won't get cable. Just think of all of the money we have saved by not subscribing to cable - the number is probably staggering.

So, during the month of giving thanks, I'm happy that we have given up TV. In the end, I think it's made us more active and engaged in a life beyond the tube.

I don't have many pictures illustrating us watching TV.
This is clearly an old one - Benny potty training in front of a movie.
And me pretty pregnant with Lila!


Amanda said...

We gave up TV, kinda, when we moved to SC. We still have a rather large flat screen, but nothing but movies to put on it. We have had an on and off relationship with cable over the past few years (we are HUGE sports fans), but finally decided to cut the cord when we moved. Couldn't be happier, I have been reading a TON...a lot of recommendations from your book reviews! Just started A Lonely Polygamist!

Sara Struckman said...

The sports thing is the only thing we miss occasionally - and we aren't even sports fans! It does give us a good excuse to go to a sports bar or watch a game at friends' houses, if we really need to...

So glad to hear things are going well for you. We miss you immensely!

miss sarah said...

I absolutely agree with the lack of aimless TV watching. When I go to my brother's house... it's always on. In the middle of a family dinner... there is always an irritating Elmo in the background. They're used to it, so I don't even think they realize how loud it is!

We have things set up here so we have a massive iMac in the living room, which is a music station, TV, and work station all rolled into one (very handy for showing travel pictures and those sorts of things).

I love the lack of ads! And I choose when I have time to watch something. It's not just aimlessly on the whole time. At our place, we refer to it as directed watching.

Sara Struckman said...

Miss Sarah! Thanks for stopping by. Love your comments. Directed watching is exactly what we do. And my kids are nonethewiser (yet). I checked out your blog. I love Edmonton! My sister-in-law grew up there and I've visited. Such a lovely city.