I know that's going to be hard in households whose one-eyed monster takes up three-quarters of the wall in the family room. But, a good start is just to unplug it. Better yet, if it isn't too large, unplug it and stash it in a closet, in the basement, in a room with no outlets. I know how tempting it is to just plug it in for a second to catch the news.
The truth is we have spent a good portion of our married life endeavoring to avoid this form of media, but we have ultimately gone back to getting a television when a major event happened in the world. We just had to see the video to go with what we were hearing on the radio. Our alternative now, of course, is our high-speed internet. I tell you, it is much, much easier to avoid the bad stuff, especially addictive television programs (they don't call it programming for nothing), by using the computer for our news and entertainment.
If there is one thing I would tell you to do to promote a healthy, happy, holy, peaceful home, it would be to simply get rid of the television. In fact, that will be the first thing that comes to your attention when you shut it off. It's so peaceful.
You see, the television is not only contributing to the noise level in your home, the noise level will inevitably rise according to that of the television. Here's what happens:
- Someone turns the tv on and adjusts the sound
- A few other people come into the room and begin talking
- The sound has to be turned up above the level of the conversation
- Those speaking have to speak louder in order to hear one another above the din of the tv
- The volume is turned up higher
- Persons having conversation then turn on television watcher with raised voices, Could you turn it down?! We're trying to have a conversation here!
- Television watcher: I was watching this first! I can't hear the tv with you guys talking!
- Wrestling match for the remote ensues
- Mom wonders why she always has a headache
Now, fast forward to the middle of their senior years of home schooling. Both wanted to take classes at the local junior college. Mom was a little apprehensive about the English, as may be expected. Math wasn't their thing either. Neither one finished algebra, let alone the two or three years most schools required. Yet, both of them scored at or above college-entry level in both math and English. Both took the college-level writing course and passed with flying colors. The only comments the teacher had were questions relating to the conservative political views they couldn't help writing about.
You see, when there's no television, they don't have many other choices than to read something exciting for their entertainment. Peaceful, quiet entertainment. It's hard to be loud when you're reading, unless, of course, you are reading out loud, which is very, very nice when the family is all cozied up together on the super-sized davenport with something by Beatrix Potter. Even the teens will be transfixed as you read The Phantom Tollbooth or just about anything by Charles Dickens (This guy can really be a hoot! Try The Pickwick Papers, one of Jonathan's favorites.)
By now, I hope I've convinced you that going without television is a worthy endeavor. Just shut the tube off for seven days and see if I'm not right about this. Don't be surprised if the kids don't beg to leave it off.
I know! How about letting them take it apart? Cool.
For some great pointers on turning off the one-eyed monster, go to http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/. Their list of 101 Screen-Free Activities looks really inviting, too.