minimalism · musings · screen time

WHY I CHOOSE TO BE TV-FREE

A couple of years back when I was at uni, I was sitting in a sociology lecture and the lecturer did one of those put-up-your-hand-if-you things. Unsurprisingly, I was the only person in the whole room who didn’t have a hand in the air when he asked everyone who had a TV. The lecturer then went on to say that 98% of Australian households own a TV. I can’t say I was surprised at the statistic, given the amount of hands up in the air that day. In fact, this article says that TVs could outnumber people in Australian homes (and perhaps they already have, since that was published six years ago). My question is, who exactly will watch all the peopleless TVs? 🤔

So, when I tell people we don’t own a TV, I get a variety of reactions in response:

Whaaat?

Oh really?          

So what do you do before work/after work/on the weekend?

Does that mean you don’t use a computer either?

Or as Joey Tribbiani would say: What’s all your furniture pointed at?  😆

So why do I think life is so good sans television? These are the four main reasons why we are TV-free and loving it!

Less advertising. I am already bombarded by advertising everywhere I go, so I am not willing to invite even more of it into my living room. Bus shelters, billboards, taxis, buses, buildings…I feel like wherever I go, the ads go too. Every time we choose to not view an advertisement, we are opting out of the marketing ploy which creates false needs in consumers and encourages us to spend our money on useless, wasteful items that will end up in landfill.

Screen time that is more intentional (and less of it). Obviously there are devices with screens in our house, but a TV not being one of them makes me more conscious of how I am spending my screen time. When I open a browser instead of hitting the ‘on’ button, I have to intentionally choose what will I watch, read or listen to. When you need to actually seek out content rather than just watching ‘whatever’s on’, you have a far better chance of consuming quality media that is interesting and engaging rather than just lots of it.

More interaction. The less time we spend staring at screens, the more time we have to spend investing in relationships and building meaningful connections with our communities.

More reality. Celebrity gossip, scripted ‘reality’ shows, popularity contests…the message is always along the same lines: being rich, popular and thin will get you far. Well, maybe onto The Bachelor anyway 😉 (Just what I always wanted to be: a concubine!)

So here’s another kind of response that I get (…sometimes) when I say I don’t have a TV:

Hey, that’s interesting!    

I’d love to get rid of mine.

Good idea! My partner/housemate/gerbil watches way too much TV!

While the TVs in the Western world continue to outnumber their square-eyed owners, there’s a subtle shift happening below the surface. There are plenty of people out there who have become overwhelmed by our hyper-connected, hyper-stimulated society and feel the need to reach out to more tangible things, things that are grounded in reality and time, like relationships, experiences and communities. And just knowing that I’m not alone on this one makes me happy.

What’s your relationship to TV and digital media like? How do you deal with the screen time issue?

Thank you for reading!

Lisa x

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6 thoughts on “WHY I CHOOSE TO BE TV-FREE

  1. It’s so awesome that you don’t own a TV! We have a TV, but we don’t have cable – and that alone gets us some weird looks. I work from home in marketing, and run several websites- so my screen time is definitely above even most ‘normal’ Westerners with TVs. Its basically my job to be in front of a computer. I really like your point about being intentional with your screen time – its not something I’d considered before. Recently, I have started whittling down the number of social media accounts I follow cross all the channels I am active on and its made a big difference in the overwhelm I sometimes feel. Now I know exactly who and what I am looking for on social media and then once I’ve seen it, I can put the device down! Thanks for your awesome insights!

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    1. And thank YOU for your comment, Brittany 😀 Interesting that you are in front of the computer all day – my job up until a couple of weeks ago was full-time in an office so I know what it’s like to not really have the choice. Oh the eye strain! I like your approach to reducing overwhelm when it comes to social media…there’s so much pressure to be on so many platforms, and across each of them at all times, that we inevitably fall into the FOMO trap if we don’t consciously take a step back and assess what is a manageable amount of online presence for one person!

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  2. GREAT post! We have one TV in the living room (I’ve always been against a TV in the bedroom). We don’t watch regular network TV, only On-Demand, Netflix, or YouTube. We would have disconnected our cable entirely, but in our area sadly it costs more money to have only internet than it does to have TV and internet. This fact in and of itself says volumes about the desire to encourage people to mindlessly absorb ads and media. Right now I am limiting my TV to 1 hour or 1 film per day. Since I implemented that limit, I spend more time reading, writing, and talking with my husband.

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    1. Thank you for your comment! Interesting that it is cheaper for you to have internet and cable as a bundle rather than just internet. That most definitely speaks volumes about how companies are telling us about how our relationship with digital media should be! I agree with the idea of implementing a limit to screen time. It’s surprising how quickly the time can fly when we’re watching something, so before we know it we have watched three movies rather than just one…I think having clear limits and expectations of ourselves can stop the bingeing and help us get back to the things we really value in life 🙂 Thank you for stopping by again!

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  3. Hi, loved reading your thoughts on a TV-free life and I have similar views about TV too. It takes too much of our time and mind space. I recently wrote about it too. I feel that we are more calm and mindful without TV, especially with children around. Limiting other screens is also a challenge. I need to work on that aspect this year.

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    1. Hi Reema! Thanks for reading 🙂 Great to hear that we are both on board with the TV-free life. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog and reading your thoughts on living without TV!

      Liked by 1 person

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