How does living TV-free affect your family?

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the ol' picture tube.My spouse grew up in a home without a TV due to his parents’ religious beliefs. He reports that he often felt left out and isolated at school because he never knew other kids were referring to when they talked about shows, characters, or advertisements from mainstream media.

I know times have changed in the last 30 years, what with the internets and all, and it’s probably more common for people nowadays to not have a TV. I also recognize that because of the internet, it’s easier to find ways to stay connected with various communities.

Currently, my spouse and I choose to live TV-free. As an adult, I have a sense for how that could affect me personally and socially, but I am also the one consenting to not having a TV. I can choose to download TV shows if I want to. I can look up references to things if I’m not familiar with them. But kids don’t necessarily have the choice. My spouse certainly didn’t have that choice when he was a kid. His social isolation was a direct result of his parents’ choices, and that has had a lifelong impact on him.

What I’m wondering about is how living TV-free affects your household and your social life. I’m especially curious about this for households with children, and whether (or how) you suspect it affects your kids’ social life (both positively and negatively). -Sosi

We’ve talked about getting rid of cable to watch TV online, and how not having a TV and it’s impact on a newlywed couple. But we haven’t talked about the lack of TV and its influence on families with kids. So let’s do that!

How does not having a TV influence your family and your social lives?

Comments on How does living TV-free affect your family?

  1. With all the different ways people can watch stuff these days I would have thought it would have little to no affect on kids. I know some kids who watch online programs that I have never heard of. Just as when I was a kid some kids watched programs on channels I didn’t have that I had never heard of. It didn’t do me any harm. I suppose its up to parents to say what their kids are allowed to watch. I know some folk don’t like their kids watching Sponge Bob because of the rude words and mannerisms they pick up.
    I live without a TV now and I’m still as big of a telly addict as ever but I only watch stuff I choose to watch not what happens to be on. (no more vegging out in front of the millionth property program because I can’t be arsed to get up and change it to something else.) You begin to realise what programs have no value in your life.
    I’m guessing adblockers are pretty darn handy for kids who let there parents watch stuff online. So weird when I see an advert now. Thats probably one of the biggest changes for me.

  2. I grew up in the UK without a TV in the house and I look back now and think it was great for me. I’m going to have a think about it in more depth and write something longer (and hopefully more useful) offline to post here tomorrow.

    Thanks for such an interesting question!

  3. I’ve got two kids, a boy 15 1/2 and a girl 9. We have a TV but the only channels we get are three PBS stations. We get Netflix sometimes or hit the Redbox but we have never really kept up with what’s popular on TV. (I haven’t even managed to watch the last season of Fringe yet!) We don’t watch during the week, saving viewing for twoish hours a day on the weekends.
    Are my kids shunned at school because they don’t watch a particular show? No. I think my son gets more flack from his friends because he isn’t allowed to play military shooter style games.
    I think the balance comes from watching with your kids instead of banning TV entirely.
    And, as for being socially excluded, if there are children who won’t play with my kid because they don’t watch the “right” show or play with the “right” toys… Great, ’cause I certainly don’t want my kiddos hanging out with those kids anyway.

  4. I grew up with very limited TV because it was my parents’ rule. No TV during the week, only TGIF, Snick and an hour of morning cartoons on the weekend. But I was still always pretty aware of television because I’d watch it at friends’ houses and we’d sneak it when my parents were away. There were times when I didn’t know about a show or something, but I never really felt weird or isolated because of their decision. And looking back, I’m really grateful they raised me that way and plan to do the same with my own kids.

    My husband and I don’t have a TV. We still watch a few shows on our computer, but I could count them on one hand. There will be times that we don’t know what our friends and coworkers are talking about (we JUST watched that Geico hump day ad on YouTube), but I’m pretty aware of TV because I read a lot about pop culture, and we certainly don’t regret how I live.

    So basically, I’m a fan of moderation in television. I’ve always been aware enough of it that I can survive in casual conversations, but it’s pretty much always been limited. I also feel pretty strongly that instead of trying to fit in, kids need to learn to accept and advocate for themselves. Yeah, it seemed weird to my friends that I couldn’t watch TV a lot (or eat Cap’n Crunch or have lots of Barbies or play video games or watch R-rated movies), but I just shrugged it off and talked about the stuff I COULD do.

  5. Children’s programming is so multi-platform that I think it’s so much less of an issue today than it’s been in the past. Kids at your kids’ school are really into Backyardigans? There are books, educational games and toys to keep your kid in with the zeitgeist.
    When I was in elementary school, I don’t remember any conversation or playtime hinging on having seen the latest episode of a show. If you were aware of the characters, you were part of the conversation. I was rarely a fan of popular TV shows, aside from Power Rangers (ha!) but I never felt excluded for not being up-to-date on those shows. Just knowing of them seemed to be enough to socialize about them.

  6. When I was growing up, we had TV, but only the channels that came in through the rabbit ears. And yes, as a 26 year old, I get some weird looks when I say I grew up with rabbit ears. But we watched PBS and movies. My dad was so anti-TV that if we talked about TV, he pretty much decided we watched too much of it. If he saw us watching TV, he threatened to get rid of it. So I have some issues with TVs now.

    As a kid, I also felt left out sometimes. I didn’t understand what kids were talking about when they discussed music videos. Where did they see these elusive creatures? And why was I the only one who didn’t know about them? But I embraced my oddities early on. Not knowing about music videos was the least of them.

    As an adult, I have never had cable. My parents have it now, so I’ve seen it at their house. In grad school, I had a TV with a DVD player. I watched Charmed on DVD obsessively. Now, I don’t even bother with that much. I have a computer for when I want to watch DVDs. Other than that, nothing. No TV. No cable. No Netflix. No Hulu. I see TV and video games as a waste of time. That makes me pretty judge-y of other people, so I have to be careful.

    I enjoy movies and TV as a family experience though. Husband and I drive to my parents’ house once a month or so to watch NCIS with them as a low-key way to spend time with them. I started doing that when he and I started dating because I wanted them to get to know each other as more than special-occasion family and it worked beautifully. Husband and I go out to movies all the time.

    Unlike a lot of people, I’m not desensitized to the moving pictures. As a kid, when I had the chance to watch TV all day, I did. My grandparents had trouble pulling me away from Nick at Nite. As an adult, if a TV is on, I don’t want to watch it, but I have to. It’s moving and making noises. That’s tough in bars and at people’s houses. One place I worked had a TV on right across from me. I finally had to get permission to turn it off when I worked because I was too easily distracted.

    • ditto about not being desensitised to tv! I grew up watching a lot of telly but haven’t owned one as an adult. I get drawn in now when I’m at a friends house, I can’t listen to conversation with the tv on but am fine tuning out music or radio

    • We were the same way. We could choose one half-hour program after school to watch from PBS, and an hour on weekends. After dinner, we could watch whatever my parents were watching.

      My husband and I currently do not have a TV because we’ve been bouncing around so much the last couple of years that it wasn’t worth the bother. Our last apartment came with a TV hooked up to cable, but we only watched the election results, the occasional evening news, and the latest episode of The Office until it ended. Now, we have nothing, but do watch an episode of something (usually more Office on DVD) together in the evenings. Separately, I do have several shows (Doctor Who!) that I watch online while knitting.
      My in-laws are slightly horrified that we have no TV, my father-in-law in particular. He’s like, “How are you going to watch the Patriots or the Red Sox??” and we just remind him that neither of us watch football or baseball.

  7. I think it depends a lot on what you mean by “no TV.” Do you mean no physical television? No watching television programs at all? No watching similar content on the web (webisodes, web series on Youtube, etc)?

    We do not have any access to television channels because we choose not to have an aerial or cable. We do, however, have Netflix and download shows extensively (because Canada doesn’t have services like Hulu and the few options we have are FAR too expensive). We watch movies and tv shows that we own, on our tv (which is mostly for Netflix and gaming) or on our laptops.

    Dootsie is totally right that there are tons of tie-ins for television shows that don’t require a tv.

    Growing up I had tv, but only 3 channels. So a lot of the stuff my friends watched, I didn’t. I played with some of the toys, did my own thing. There was a girl who didn’t have a tv and that was harder, for the simple confusion of kids at the idea of not having a television. Today? Meh. Kids are as likely to consume on an iPad or laptop or other device as a television.

    So, like I said, it depends on what your definition is and the boundary you draw. I don’t watch Walking Dead. I survive just fine. I haven’t watched Breaking Bad or Adventure Time. I’m occasionally confused, but it isn’t a huge deal. There were shows I wasn’t allowed to watch as a kid that other kids watched and, while I felt a little left out sometimes, that was not a huge deal either.

    • I also grew up with 3 channels, so no Sesame Street or Nickelodeon for me.

      Now we only have the networks, and the only show my husband and I make a point to watch on TV is “This Old House.” Also we occasionally have Dateline date nights. He watches football and golf sometimes, but everything else we watch is through Netflix. I prefer beginning and ending a show on my schedule without commercials!

    • This really frustrates me. I have cable, because I work from home and as an academic and sometimes the “just read a book” answer to what to do in the evenings sounds like torture. Also, I enjoy it. Which is really all that matters. And when I tell people sometimes they say “Oh, you watch television?” as if I am a monster or a fool. Then when I ask, it usually turns out they spend as much screen time as I do, but either watch and pay for netflix, stream off of TV station sites, or download or stream illegally. So I have no answers to be “being-TV-Free” but am just ranting on how being TV-free totally is not the same as choosing to consume your TV through the computer instead of a black box. End rant.

  8. It’s a totally different situation from when we were kids – as others had commented before, there’s no way to be kept out of the loop on anything with the internet providing either Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, or anything else that can provide spoilers or clips to catch up if you really want to.

    I grew up with too much TV (and had a very commercialized childhood), so I find it refreshing to not be on the television-teat as an adult. Life feels more Real to me now, and I’m leaning towards keeping it Real for my children with moderation in TV viewing.

    I guess the trick would be to not rely on TV as a babysitter like our parents did.

  9. obviously, my childhood experience is a bit outdated, but i’m really appreciative of my no/limited tv growing up. for me, not being up on the latest thing has never been an issue – and as far as being “left out”, it’s really easy to pick up on the basics of pop culture by experiencing it second-hand (in high school i could quote an embarrassing amount of simpsons for someone who didn’t watch it – and at 4 getting the gist of how to play he-man and she-ra didn’t actually require having seen the show).

    ( it was harder for my bro, who was older than me when we had no tv at all, and more social – he actually made up a tv show when he was like 5 so that for once all his friends would be the ones feeling left out. )

    as for the long run, i think it’s accustomed me to other things – i don’t much like tv, and i’m at least particular about what and how much i watch. basically, for me less tv = more time for stuff that’s more important/more fun, and i’m glad i got in that habit early, because that sort of thing is *really* hard to break (whereas deciding to watch *more* tv as an adult would be a pretty easy switch to make).

    the other thing that was important to me growing up is that when we did get a tv, we never really watched tv alone – it was another type of family time, and a nice way to hang out with family as we got older. (well, there was that one summer i watched a few hours of steve irwin every day in the middle of the night…but everyone experiments with drugs sometime – i got over it.)

  10. Such a great question! I’ve often thought the same thing and feel exactly the same way – I like not having a tv now, but I also like knowing at least some of the cultural references that accompanied my youth.

    I grew up with TV but no cable and we weren’t allowed to watch some popular shows if they didn’t reflect good values. I think that was a pretty good balance, though I must admit that I’m still fascinated by music videos because I never really saw them as a youth. 😉

    I often think that it might be nice for our hypothetical kids to be able to at least have some more connection to mainstream culture than we currently cultivate. That might actually even go beyond TV too (maybe clothes, music, etc.). I think as someone wrote: watching together is very good, and of course basically sifting out the crap, ha ha.

    On the other hand, my husband grew up with very little TV and while I’m sometimes annoyed that he knows practically no references, brands, etc., he is fascinating because he did so many interesting things, also as a kid, and he certainly doesn’t see his practically tv-less lifestyle as a loss.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think it will “hurt” your kid to “miss out” on pop culture because it will be replaced with other awesome activities, but I can also see the side that it could be worthwhile for children to learn about and take part in pop culture as it remains an important part of our world. Sometimes I think it would also do my husband and I some good to be more engaged in pop culture too, ha ha.

    Hmm – one more thing that just occurred to me: maybe the internet-TV and other “targeted” choices to enjoy pop culture actually forms a good balance because the other thing I’ve really noticed about not having a TV is that I don’t feel like I need to buy stuff all of the time – I don’t WANT THINGS incessantly. Maybe you can enjoy popular shows (& pop culture) without the materialism that ads bring by sticking to a no-TV format after all.

    Sorry for the long and rambling comment… it’s been a long day. (Time to go home and relax in front of the tube, ha ha – in the form of my computer of course.)

    • Ditto to music videos! I never saw them growing up, so now I find them strangely fascinating. I must have watched Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” one about twenty times.

  11. So we have a TV. A huge one that dominates a wall in our living room in fact. But it’s used as a giant monitor. We don’t have cable, we don’t even have an antennae hooked up to it. It’s used for watching “TV” the same way a computer is – video games, Netflix, DVDs, streaming, etc.

    So do we watch “TV”? Totally. Scads of it in fact. But no more than we would watch if we didn’t have an actual television.

  12. My husband grew up with very limited television and even fewer movies that were “permitted”. I grew up with 5 tv’s in the house, satellite connection in every room, and a movie collection that was more extensive then our local movie stores. The end result some 25 years later is a husband that doesn’t get references to the simpsons, who hasn’t watched all the movies I did when I was a kid. This comes up in a teasing fashion with our friends sometimes regarding his lack of pop culture references BUT- we now both watch about the same number of shows on netflix (maybe 1-2 hours a week, tops), we don’t own a TV and try not to let our 15 month old daughter have too much screen time. Which is good, since once she has 15-20 minutes of netflix she is bored with it, but will go back and demand it in an hour. Two weeks ago she did that and we haven’t had her near the computer screen since.

    As to other effects- I haven’t become a zombie from my extensive access to TV, my husband isn’t a social recluse for close to no TV. With our friends, we mostly talk about current events, books we have read or issues we are interested in. Conversations rarely focus on “That show we watched”. I don’t see it affecting our little one all that much. And I don’t see that TV will be such a focus in her life as she gets older and technology evolves. Or rather, I see new evolutions of what “TV” means.

  13. I (born 1980) grew up without a TV as well. At first, my parents’ rule was “no TV until all of the kids can read”, and then when my little brother (finally) was reading, TV wasn’t all that important anymore and our family still didn’t get one. My parents bought one when I was about 15, but by that time I already had different interests and really only watched maybe 5 hrs / week max.

    Of course it sucked sometimes. Of course as a kid I wished I could’ve watched the same cartoons as my friends (or later Beverley Hills 90210 and these things 🙂 ), but “lifelong social isolation”? No, not even close. I was always socially well integrated in my group of peers. My brother had a more difficult time socially, but I don’t think that had anything to do with not having a TV. A lot of it was the result of the social strucures in his class at school.

    Now, I actually think that my parents made a very good decision back then. My husband always watched lots of TV as a kid, and he still relies very heavily on it for entertainment now. Most of his down-time, he spends in front of a screen (video games, TV, watching movies, or surfing the internet). Me, I’m mostly annoyed by it, which just frees up so much time for other, more interesting (to me) stuff.

    • Wow, I really like the idea of no TV until all the kids can read. I don’t have children yet, but husband and I have talked about how we don’t like little ones exposure to TV, so that’s fantastic!

  14. We didn’t have cable, so I grew up with eight basic channels plus strict parents who limited what we were allowed to watch (and I’m glad they shielded me from certain content allowing me the chance to be a kid). It was awkward sometimes in younger years being in a classroom of twenty kids and not being able to participate in some conversations about media, but never in a severely detrimental way. It was even less of a concern upon reaching high school where there were so many people that you could find someone to talk to about other things you did know about.

    I would predict that because there are SO MANY entertainment and leisure options (hundreds more TV channels, loads of gaming options, and all of the internet) and not near enough time to access them all that it’ll become even more normal to have friends with varying interests. I have people recommend TV shows to me all the time, and I’m sure they’re awesome but I have to say no just because I don’t have enough time to watch ALL of the cool stuff out there plus do all the other things I enjoy. 🙂

  15. I only had limited TV as a child. We couldn’t afford cable and of what we could get through the rabbit ears, I was only allowed to watch educational shows. It wasn’t a problem as a child (I mean, I whined about it, but I imagine every kid would). I had a pretty active imagination and had no problem finding or making up other things to do.

    The wierd thing is what a pain my lack of tv was now. Most of my social group (90% 20-somethings like myself) looooove to make references to pop culture from when we were kids, which ends up with me being confused and left out. It’s not a huge deal as I can look up references pretty easily (thank you Urban Dictionary and Know That Meme), but sometimes I do wish I was “in the know” without having to resort to google.

    All in all though, I’m thankful for the way that having to entertain myself taught me to think creatively and fostered my love for reading, which, for me, is worth a little bit of feeling left out. I do have to admit that I am a total tv-aholic now though, so not being allowed to watch much tv as a child did not keeping me from getting addicted as an adult.

    • I too could have written every word of this. While I’m also an avid reader, I still ended up loving TV shows as much as someone who grew up on Nickelodeon and MTV. Maybe the difference is that I watch less “fluff” and reality shows, preferring plot driven shows like The Walking Dad, Doctor Who, The Office, Sherlock, etc.

  16. I grew up with the dreaded three channels, via a giant antenna that was on the roof of our trailer that had a tuner box inside. You had to turn the knob on the box to make the antenna turn to tune in the three channels (and if it was raining hard or windy, you were pretty much screwed). We didn’t even have access to cable till I was a freshman in High School, but since it was a rural area and nobody really did I don’t remember there being any social consequences for me at school because I’m guessing we all had pretty much the same TV access.

    We don’t have a TV in our house now, and I’ve found that when I tell people we don’t have a TV sometimes they act like I’ve just told them I don’t have indoor plumbing. People keep trying to give them to us, like oh those poor poor people who can’t afford a TV, here have our old one and I have to constantly explain that we don’t have one because we don’t WANT one. Cable here is prohibitively expensive and I have a problem with the one company that sells it. We’re hardly ever home to watch TV anyway, and if I just have to see something there is Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and lots of other ways for me to access the few shows I care about. A good friend of mine has TV but no cable and her kid watches cartoons via Netflix on a Roku box or on her iPhone, and that seems to work just fine for them.

    I’ve found that doing without TV is pretty pleasant. I don’t honestly understand how I had time to watch all the TV I used to watch. Yeah, people sometimes give me shit for not being up on the latest pop culture whatever, but I don’t really care.

  17. I grew up without TV and it didn’t effect me much as a kid, but it’s really hard now (and was as a teen) because I have a huge hole in my pop-culture understanding. People reference The Goonies or Back to the Future or Full House and I’m like “derrrrr” and it’s kinda frustrating…like if I had a huge hole in my experience from a literature or historical perspective, too.

    • Oh thank god I’m not the ONLY person on the planet who has seen NEITHER Goonies nor Back the the Future.

      (I did watch me some Full House though as a kid… looking back, it was pretty terrible. You didn’t miss much, haha.)

  18. For those who grew up before the internet was an entertainment source, TV was the major cultural touchstone in this country. Today, the major cultural points are both serially produced shows that are produced primarily on TV and but also available through a million internet based sources (hulu, netflix, etc), and also comics, internets, blogs, memes, etc on the internet.

    So, I think that a kid growing up without a TV in the 1980’s is equivalent to a kid growing up without access to a TV _OR_ the internet today, in terms of cultural references.

    I grew up in the 1980’s without a TV, and I took pride in my outsider status as child and teen who didn’t understand most pop culture references. I don’t think that it really damaged my ability to learn normal social skills. As an adult, I have a TV in my house that is basically only turned on once a year to watch the superbowl. (I married a not very dedicated football fan). I still don’t watch many “TV shows” whatever the medium they come in, but I do spend a lot of time on the internet (I’m betting that most of us commenting on this site do as well) so I’m definitely concious of the effect that screens as mindless entertainment can have on my life. I’m hoping that I can find a way to head that off with my own kids, especially when they are really little. For me, I think that this means living by example and not using any form of digital entertainment as a mental vacation from the world. I will always spend 40 hours a week at a computer for professional reasons, but I’m trying to figure out how to get rid of the other 15 hours/week I spend “doing nothing on the internet”, which, emotionally, intellectually, and physically, isn’t that different than watching TV. Figuring out how to separate the two roles the same gadget plays in my life hasn’t been as easy as just keeping the TV out of the house seems like it would be.

  19. We didn’t have television at all when I was a child, as my parents believed that “television is a direct route for Satan to enter the home.” Yikes. Any knowledge I have of TV shows from my generation comes from seeing shows at my cousin’s house, who I spent time with on a weekly basis. So I have a few shows that I remember fondly, but nothing on the same level as my significant other or other people my age. I get a lot of “How do you not remember this show?!” comments if the subject ever comes up. I don’t remember feeling “left out” as a kid, but I was also strictly homeschooled and only spent time with homeschooled kids who had similar restrictions at home. Religious oppression, yay! The pros of not having TV (or free access to internet) were that I was very productive and I was also a voracious reader. The only real con is that as an adult I fail big time at any kind of TV or music trivia from anything prior to the 2000s… I was not allowed to listen to secular music as a child, either. Is it a huge loss? No, not really. I have bigger gripes with the fact that I still struggle with social anxiety and sometimes have a difficult time integrating myself into different social situations as a result of my childhood oppression. The TV thing is a negligible part of a much bigger picture.

    Anyway… as an adult, I have never purchased a cable subscription. However I DO have a TV and I definitely have Netflix and Hulu accounts that are used often!

  20. I grew up with a TV, but it wasn’t a huge part of my life. It was just kind of there and I watched cartoons once in a while. Now I have 2 kids of my own and we have no TV or cable, just internet. I feel like it’s a HUGE advantage for them. They are happy. They are easily entertained and always find something to play with, create things, live in their imaginary worlds. I feel like they have an advantage over other children that base all their decisions on what they see on TV and pop-culture. My kids are free from these pressures of society and I’m a bit envious of their oblivion. 🙂 To be honest, I don’t quite understand the obsession many people have with television, pop stars, actors/actresses, etc. There is so much more to life!

  21. We had a TV at home but were only allowed to watch certain shows (in retrospect probably the ones my parents liked), until my parents got divorced when I was 11. I never felt left out of conversations among friends, but I guess I may have done had the strict watching schedule continued into my teens. However, who’s to know whether the rules would have changed as we got older?
    My parents reasoning was that kid’s TV in particular was full of adverts etc. and that although it could be educational, many shows would just leave you sitting there zoned out. My younger brother (9 year age gap, he basically grew up with ‘normal’ TV access) watched a lot more cartoons etc. than we ever did, and he has always had a very active imagination.
    My partner and I got rid of our satellite subscription about the same time our son was 6 months old. We realised it was too easy to turn on the box and sit around waiting for the next show we half wanted to watch to start. Liam is now 2.5 and although he knows what TV is (not sure how as he never watches it – although we do rarely show him Sesame Street etc. songs on YouTube) I don’t get the impression that he wants to watch it. Don’t get me wrong, he is fascinated by it, but once when I was sick and home alone for a few days I tried to use the one-eyed babysitter. He watched Finding Nemo for 10 minutes before getting bored and running off.
    Although this means we can’t plop him in front of the TV and know he’ll be kept (relatively) quietly occupied for however long, the bonus is that he doesn’t know or care about all the characters on kids shows which are ubiquitous on children’s clothing, toys, furniture, shoes, etc., and he has a wealth of other things he loves to do that occupy him. As he gets older I am sure this will change and I don’t think I will have a problem with him having access to some TV shows as he gets older. But I think they will be viewed online, without adverts created with the help of child psychologists to turn kids into brand-loyal consumers.

  22. Having a TV or not having a TV is going to effect every child in a different way.

    I didn’t have access to any of the shows that my peers watched growing up, but it didn’t bother me. I developed an identity kind of based on that.

    The first time I ever heard of Seinfeld was in a group project at school and I couldn’t understand what word my classmate was saying. It took me forever to figure out that it was a name and a TV show and the look of shock on his face that I had never heard of Seinfeld was priceless.

    I feel pretty caught up now with the pop culture that I missed. It didn’t leave a lasting scar on me.

  23. Growing up we had cable back when most people didn’t. That didn’t help me make friends at all. I’m all for throwing away the TV, but I admit I really like watching Regular Show and Adventure Time with my nephew. I also advocate for videogames.

    All in all, I think the discipline and culture of let’s-not-watch-TV-ALL-freaking-day is what’s more important for kids to learn.

  24. I was raised as PBS-only (and videos, about 98% of them Disney stuff). My mom didn’t want a TV in the house, but my uncle gifted her with one when I was born, so it happened anyway. I had much less TV exposure than my friends and as such, missed out on a lot of pop culture references. That being said, I read a TON and participated in a lot of the pop culture book fads (Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, American Girl, etc). Even though the only TV characters I knew were Big Bird and Arthur and Barney, I had heard of the other ones– but now, when my friends go “oh man I used to love Power Rangers” or whatever I’m sitting there going “yeah, I think I watched that once at a friend’s house”. Still, it’s not bothersome to me that I missed out on all that, especially when I see some of the ads they put on TV aimed at kids nowadays.

    I will mention that my husband had a TV in his room growing up, and he’s addicted to the TV screen now, whereas I am not.

  25. I grew up without television from 3rd grade to 9th grade (although for about half that time we did have a vcr and tv to watch movies on) and I think my imagination is better because of it. I appreciate reading more (both then and now as an adult) and I was far better at entertaining myself than any of my other friends were. I currently have an antenna (which only gets used for football and the news if something is happening) and netflix, and while it took quite a bit of convincing my husband, he eventually came around and admits other than ESPN he really doesn’t miss it. But the most impressive part has been my step kids. They grew up with tv their whole life and getting used to not having it was a bit of a learning curve, but now they hardly even realize. Not to mention it makes it much easier for us to monitor what they are watching. And my favorite perk is since they don’t see commercials, they don’t ask for stuff! They want to have experiences now instead of toys and junk.

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