TV is banned

I have friends, a married couple, who chose not to own a television set. The couple figured out that television would generally not be good for their children and so they banished it from their home life.

At the time I thought the couple was committing child abuse by denying their children the wonderful world of television. How could they be so extreme? Surely not all television programming is bad. The couple kept their ‘no television policy’ until their children hit the teen years.

I must admit though that visiting this family was always a joy for me. After meals they would sit in the lounge and just talk about everything and everyone. With no television to demand their attention family members focused on each other. I sensed a closeness which I did not find in some TV-owning households. Because of the absence of constant noise from the television there was a quiet peaceful environment in the home.

Free from the distractions of television the children were also avid readers, keeping up to date by reading the newspaper and listening to the radio. In short, the absence of television resulted in this family having a greater life.

Recently, through my research, I was surprised to find out that my friends are not alone in banishing television from their life.     

Most parents who have removed television seem to agree that as a result:
  • Children are less exposed to commercials and are therefore less demanding and less whiney
  • Kids will tend to read more
  • Children are less susceptible to junk food they see advertised on television
  • Exposure to sex and violence is reduced
  • With less TV children are likely to me more mobile and exercise more   
  • Some researchers claim that violent television can turn your child into a bully     
From observing and reading about parents who have eliminated television from their lives I’ve come to realise that the benefits of doing so outweigh the downside. However like many people I’d personally have a tough time completely eliminating television from my life.

My family and I have agreed to put on the television only when necessary and we are already reaping the benefits of reduced television watching.

Television has become so much a part of our lives that most of us can’t imagine living without the box blaring in our lives. But as a small band of parents have discovered’, yanking the television out of our lives can bring so much family joy. Are you brave enough to part with your TV?

Read more by Sipho Yanano

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