Life without television: what does that look like?

A few years ago, I wrote a story about turning off the television and doing other things with our lives. I admitted such things in the story as that I could count on one hand the number of movies I’d watched in the past two years, and that my kids don’t watch any television, and very few movies.
It was fascinating to see how people responded to that. “Whoa…Anne, you’re kind of hard-core, huh?” Even in my world of Waldorf parents, where limited media is meant to be a value, I was a pretty extreme example. My thirteen-year-old recently shocked her new friends when she mentioned that had never been to a movie in a theater before. She has since seen “The Lorax.”
Yeah, well. There are a lot of reasons for keeping them out of theaters. Yes, one reason is that I think most media produced isn’t worth my brain space. This extends to my kids. I marvel at the cliché and stereotypical plots and characters that I have seen. Anyway, big, loud, and dark rooms don’t seem to appeal to my children.
Also, I have so many things that I want to do in life that I don’t do already. How do people manage to watch a bunch of television, movies, and do the rest of their lives? I don’t get it.
I don’t feel particularly pious about this. I don’t feel hard-core. We’re just living our busy lives. And we have lots of books to read and lots of games to play.
Most of the time, after sitting for two full hours with someone, watching a movie, I want my two hours back. Or I want to wipe some of those images out of my brain. Or I want to actually talk to the person I was sitting with.
I completely get the idea of cuddling up with popcorn and someone you like to watch something fun. I can do that. But if you want to sit for two hours and look in my eyes and talk to me, I’m much more likely to enjoy the night. And I’ll make the popcorn.
It may be that I exhaust people. But I do make excellent popcorn.
My house isn’t media free. We have computers, we do watch some things. My children know how to look up their songs on YouTube and my oldest still at home has an email account now. She also has her own cell phone. I am on the computer plenty, although I try to shut it down when I’m not actually working so it doesn’t call to me.
The Washington Post recently weighed in on the technology question with kids. Waldorf Today reran the piece, which you can read here. It talks about two Ninas, one who goes to a Waldorf school with no technology and one who goes to a school with a technology focus. Both are high-end Washington, D.C. schools.
So, what about you? Do you watch television? Is it on just for your favorite shows? Do you keep in on all the time, like company? How do you find the time to do everything else and still watch television? What would you do without television?

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