Life without a TV

TV or No TV

Life without a TV : Our Story

It was autumn of 2004 and I had just married my high school sweetheart. Ryan and I were finishing our undergraduate work at CSU Long Beach and working insane jobs to keep the student loans at bay. We had very little time to actually spend together as newlyweds and the time we did have, we spent watching TV because we were exhausted from the long days. After a few months of this numbing routine, we sat down and had the big conversation about what we wanted for our lives and if it revolved around a TV. Well, we quickly decided to get rid of our TV—that was seven years ago.

It wasn’t a radical decision at the time. We just knew that something had to give. So out went the television and in came books (lots of books), cooking, lengthy discussions, hiking, marathon training, Yatzee tournaments, bowling dates, and much needed sleep. Ryan even learned to juggle five balls and ride a unicycle. Life as we knew it slowed down and we finally caught our breath.

TV or No TV

In 2007, our son was born and most of our time was spent infatuated with his bowel movements and babbles. When Jackson turned 18 months old and I was 8 months pregnant, I cracked and bought a Netflix subscription for our computer. Sesame Street moved into the house and one month later, my daughter was born. We now use Netflix daily and let the kids each pick out a show to watch. This gives them commercial-free shows like Caillou, Dora and Sesame Street. And it gives us a much needed break.

Sometimes Ryan and I catch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy before bed or watch a movie. It’s something we look forward to and do on rare occasions. It’s like a date night— yet we can do it in our home without paying for a sitter.

To stay up to date on world events, we use and . If there is a big disaster, our parents and friends call to let us know. If there is a big sports game that Ryan wants to watch, he heads to a friend’s house and they watch it together. Or sometimes we even head to the stadium to catch the real thing as a family.

We are definitely out of the loop with the latest TV episodes and new fancy products. Sometimes we are buzz kill on the conversations that go “Did you see… last night”, but that is perfectly okay with us. The unexpected joys from life without a TV trumps any setback by a long shot.

TV or No TV

Perks that have come from not having a TV in our home

1. No cable bill. We have saved over $5500 these past seven years by not having a cable bill (and that is a very conservative estimate). Not to mention what it would cost to buy a TV, speakers, dvd player, dvr, etc.

2. We don’t see commercials. This makes passing by the toy section in Target a walk in the park for our kids. And also hides a lot of the consumerism brainwashing from Ryan and me.

3. We don’t have to arrange our furniture with a TV in mind. It’s nice to choose what is the focus of the room— right now it is our hodge-podge wall of family pictures that dominate the living room. You can actually see our home right here.

4. We have become more creative. We listen to lots of music, do puzzles, board games, art projects, nature walks, cook together, ride bikes, read books and write books. We make elaborate snowmen when it snows, jump in puddles when it rains, and collect hundreds of leaves in the fall.

5. Oh, the places you go! With the money we have saved and our appetite for adventure, we have made traveling a part of our family mission statement. In the seven years, we have backpacked through Europe, took a month-long road trip from Los Angeles to Glacier National Park in Canada, three trips to Amsterdam for art shows and architecture admiration, spent a week driving to Denver, Taos and the Grand Canyon, and did many red-eye flights to NYC for art shows. We even drove across country from LA to Tampa, FL along Route 66 with the kids for 10 days. With that kind of traveling, people think we have tons of money. But we honestly don’t. We just don’t have a TV.

TV or No TV

Interested in going TV free? Here are tips Ryan & I came up with to help the transition:

1. Be intentional. Have specific things to replace your time like reading some classic books (we have enjoyed Robinson Crusoe, The World According to Garp, East of Eden.) Ryan made a list of things he wanted to accomplish and when he was bored he would pull out the list and do one of them.

2. Do it together. For us, it was a team decision and I think that is why it was such an easy change. We both felt the same way and wanted to give it a try and it has definitely helped us grow closer together. (We honestly had no idea that it would be a 7-year TV strike going into it.) Replacing electronic screens with loving relationships has been the greatest benefit of going TV free.

3. Set guidelines. If you are going to use Netflix like we do, it helps to have a plan. For us, each child picks out a show to watch in the afternoon (after naps and quiet time). If they are sick or it’s been a crazy day, we bend the rules for sanity’s sake. But we are very intentional about how much time is spent in front of the computer screen each day.

4. Have a time frame in mind. Getting rid of TV forever is a hard pill to swallow (I am not there yet!). Why not set a goal of 3 months without it? Cancel your cable service, store the TV in the garage, rearrange your furniture so nothing feels missing and see how it goes. Take the money you save on your cable bill and buy some books, board games and juggling balls to fill the time.


In present-day America, such self-denial is apt to require heroism. In practice it may mean giving up many or most of the luxuries which I have come to regard as necessities, at least until I have acquired sufficient self-control to use these things without being enslaved by them.   —  Thomas Merton


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Life without TV: Speak your mind!

How do you feel about going TV free? Have you done it before? Share some tips or thoughts with other Family Sponge readers in the comments below.


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151 Responses to Life without a TV

  1. Popo Joy December 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Love this post Jen. Not likely that we will ever get rid of the tube, but several times a year we head up to the cabin in the woods, where there is no TV, no cell service and no internet service. It’s a nice break from from the modern medias.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Heading to the woods to unplug sounds like a great idea.

  2. Amy @ Maker Mama January 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Hey! I found your post through Simple Mom. We actually just kicked our t.v. out of the house and it’s been great! We still have Netflix on our computers, too, but it’s different without the constant glare of a big black box in our family room. We love how it freed up space to rearrange the furniture, and our kids haven’t had a complaint about it.

    We’ve gone through no-t.v. periods from time to time before, but this is the first time we physically took it out. We go back and forth between wanting to keep it out forever and wanting to buy ourselves a big fancy one to watch family movies together. But I love not being bombarded by commercials and saving the money, too! Glad to hear it’s worked out so well for you and your family!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 6:04 am #

      It’s nice to find other moms like me out there! Kicking the TV out of the house sure does give the place room to breathe. It’s amazing how much influence the TV actually has on a home. I also sometimes think how nice movies would be on a nice TV, but for the cost of it all I would rather just take the family to the movies as a treat. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Catherine January 7, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Love this! I would LOVE to get rid of the TV. When I was 12 yrs old my family moved to a rural location and, for the first year we lived there, we didn’t have a TV (there was a large hill blocking the signal). That was a wonderful year. I remember getting to spend so much more time with my parents.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 6:06 am #

      My parents got rid of the TV when I was 7 and I was sooooo mad at them. It only lasted a year, but it’s funny how back then my perspective was quite different than it is now. Good luck trying to give up TV— I am sure you can do it and will enjoy it again as well.

      • D: February 9, 2017 at 5:43 am #


    • 0dshfo March 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

      no tv is goooooooood i would never get rid of iy

    • 0dshfo March 17, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

      no tv is goooooooood i would never get rid of tv

  4. Elisa | blissfulE January 8, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    Love seeing posts like this – so refreshing! We’ve been TV-free for 9 1/2 years now, and it is the best for all the reasons you mentioned. We don’t even have Netflix – our catalyst for ditching TV was moving overseas – and we are more and more delighted each year with our TV-free decision. My first child was born 4 years into this experiment, and my children don’t watch any shows at all. Believe it or not it makes life easier in the long run – they do not even know what boredom is, and my 5yo enjoys playing the violin and reading at a second-grade level. Research cited in the book ‘Affluenza’ shows that starting kids on the mental equivalent of junk food is a decision parents are sanguine with at first but begin to regret when their kids are around 7 years old. The book was focused on consumerism, but other concerns such as unhealthy gender roles, disrespect for authority and over-reliance on peers have all been documented (easy to find, but here are a couple if you are interested:,

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 6:09 am #

      You are amazing! I think eventually we will get rid of Netflix as well. Thanks for sharing those articles, I always love reading what LZ Granderson writes on CNN, Thanks for being an inspiration to me to take this one step further!

    • M Rahman August 30, 2015 at 6:42 am #

      I read this book called ‘the four reasons to eliminate tv). Amazing book with so much facts.

      In fact, if you have access to your university’s databases you may do some research to find the effects tv has on human being. Very interesting to find that people who watch tv more that 10hrs per week has a tendencies to be overweight, addicted to some kind of recreational drugs and be financially dependent and there are correlation between these life choices and how much tv you watch.

      After all, we all can’t deny the fact that watching tv is a kinda of living a sedentary lifestyle… so it’s not really surprising people who lives a very sedentary life are more prone to lifestyle related diseases such as obesity, diabetics and etc.

      Good luck to all who are trying to stop watching it. I stopped recently and I am already ripping the benefit in such a short time! Amazing!

      My emotions and behaviors are no long inhibited by the tv or youtube any longer!!!!

    • Jeffrey October 19, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

      Just asking, have they ever watched movies, or videos online like Youtube, if not, then do you think you will let them when their older.

  5. Leah January 8, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    We do have a TV, but like you, there’s no cable hooked up. We use Netflix on our Blu-Ray player when we want to watch something, and I love that we never just flip through the channels and wake up hours later realizing that there was nothing on anyway. My daughter is almost 2, and I have heard constantly how she would love this show or that, but we decided to go with the “no TV under 2” guideline. When we do happen to be at a place that has a screen on, she’s not even interested. She’d much rather play with her toys. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 6:10 am #

      Isn’t it funny how they aren’t even interested in the TV if they don’t have one? Our kids are 2 and 4 now and if they are at a friend’s house, they will watch a show for about 30 min. Then all they want to do is play. And the power of play is so much better than the power of TV! Thanks for sharing your story.

      • Nicole January 8, 2012 at 8:17 am #

        I am a teacher, and my colleagues at work tease me about not watching t.v. We’ve been married 12 years and have had cable 2 different times for a year or so each time. We simply don’t need it. Our 5 yo and 8 yo use the computer and Wii for screen time, they don’t miss tv screen time, they just enjoy it when they are at Nana and Papa’s, where they watch PBS or Discovery/Animal Planet, etc.

        Dear Hubby and I find so much to do without tv – read, knit (me), play games, home renovations, cooking from scratch, hiking, having friends over, etc. Glad to hear there are others out there like us!

    • Emily K February 3, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      We have a similar situation. We have a TV with Netflix, but no cable, satellite or antenna. It has been wonderful. The money saved helps us keep on a budget and get a handle on our debt. The time saved means we actually get to do our hobbies instead of wasting time. The big change for us happened when our daughter was born. With both of us working full time, there just wasn’t that much time left to watch TV. Other full time working parents often ask us how we have time to cook every night, garden, sew, craft, etc. When we say, oh we don’t watch TV, most of them are completely astonished. I think when people are trying to find that extra hour in the day, most of them don’t even consider cutting out TV as an option. Great post, it’s so refreshing to read why others have made similar decisions.

  6. Rebecca Kirk January 8, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    Our Pastor preaches against the TV because of so much negative that comes from it. If I had my choice, I would throw it out, but my husband is an addict. But much of what you had to say, I thouroughly enjoyed. Recently, I stopped using Facebook and I too have had much time on my hands because I was a Facebook addict. I would jump on the computer and stay engulfed with Facebook and it’s games all day long. But since I have stopped this addiction, it has made place for other things, like reading books, and blogs, and finding new webpages. And I have done much organizing… Time has slowed down and I am loving it. Thanks for this article… God bless.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

      Facebook is the same thing! It’s great to hear that you made the choice and turned it into something productive. Organizing is one of the most self soothing things to me— it makes all the difference in a home. Any tips to help organize my front door shoe bins? They are getting out of control lately and I am not sure what to do.

  7. Rachel January 8, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    I love this! When we finally sell our house and move I plan to get rid of our tv. We’ll probably keep one in our bedroom because my husband and I like to watch movies when the kids go to bed. I dint know why I don’t try to get rid of it now I guess I think it’ll be an easier transition when we move… And we really don’t watch much now.

    I would like to add that as far as saving money goes- we moved here for my husband to go to grad school so we couldn’t afford cable anyway. All we get is local channels and when they went digital we ended up with a lot more. My kids love the nature shows on PBS! Our old tv was one I won and we got a newer one for free when some friends upgraded. So no big trips across the country with our money saved, there wasn’t money there in the first place!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      I love how you acquired your television equipment! That is right up my alley as well— I am all about taking someone’s old goods and making them mine. I’ll have to check out the nature shows on PBS— I bet my local library has them, and if not I hope I can get them online. I love nature-based learning and think it would be very entertaining and educational for my kids as well. Do you have any specific shows on PBS that you recommend personally? Would love to hear from someone who has been there, done that. Thanks!

      • Rachel January 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

        Nova and Nature are te two PBS programs we usually watch. My 6 year old loves these! A few nights ago they had an hour on Nova about Earthquakes followed by an hour on Volcanoes ( my son’s obsession so he got to stay up until 10watching these!) 🙂
        I believe they do put them on their website.

      • Carrie M January 11, 2012 at 7:01 am #

        The show Wild Kratts is a family favorite from PBS. Part real life/part cartoon it has the Kratt brothers talking about animals and habitats with a new adventure every episode. Season 1 is on DVD.

        • familysponge January 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

          That sounds perfect for my four-year old. I’ll definitely check it out— thanks for the recommendation!

  8. Deanna Dean January 8, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    I would give up TV in a heartbeat! But my husband will say no…any suggestions? (I like the try it for a few months idea)

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      Hi Deanna. I think it just depends his reasons for not wanting to give it up. If it’s sports, what if instead of watching it at home— you let him by tickets to a game or maybe go to a sports bar together and watch a few games a month? Sometimes there has to be something in it for them personally in order to give it up. Time to get strategic on him! Let me know if you find anything that does work for you— I would love to hear about it. Best of luck on this!

  9. Monica January 8, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    I grew up with only one tv channel, NBC, and my husband was willing to get rid of cable when the price went up so we’ve been tv free 9 years. We tried Netflix but didn’t like it so we rent movies or watch what we own. We plan to catch some football games with friends or at a place like a restaurant. We talked about getting cable this year as we both love the history channel but can’t justify spending x to have too much temptation. My boys who are 9 and 7 love the rare moments of being in a hotel room because they watch cartoon network and I remember so clearly why we don’t have cable- it is hard to tear themselves away and the commercials lends itself to more I wants.
    We do have video games and a very large DVD collection so we have our focus point in our family room the fireplace and the tv above it.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Thanks for sharing Monica! Have you thought about checking out your local library to see if they might have some history channel DVDs that you could check out?

  10. Alice January 8, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    We have not had a TV for the past 4 years. I never watched TV, but my husband felt that it was to alluring for him at the end of a long day to crash in front of the TV and he wants to be fully present to us when he gets home. We don’t miss it one bit. Now that we have kids, we are even more committed to never letting this mind-numbing form of entertainment into our home!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      I love that your husband was on board and aware of wanting to “crash in front of the TV.” Being fully present with the people we love is what we really want in our lives.

  11. Diana January 8, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    We got rid of our cable bill years ago…at least 11 years ago and although the kids say they would like it back every once in a while, I think the verdict is: We’re not missing anything! We do movies and netflix but we’re not wasting so much time in front of the TV and I’ve heard and seen some of the things on cable now that i’m glad my kids aren’t exposed to on a regular basis.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      11 years that’s awesome! I agree on the verdict that “we’re not missing anything.” We are actually adding more time to our lives to do the things we really want to do in our lives.

  12. Rita@thissortaoldlife January 8, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    I, too found this post through Simple Mom. Love your take on this topic (and looking forward to exploring your blog). We’ve got two teens and one pre-, and this fall we decided we needed a major overhaul on screen time, which resulted in our Screen Time Manifesto (you can see it here: Ours addresses all screens–because, yes, we do still have a TV. Netflix has become a major part of our strategy, for all the reasons you list here.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Love the Screen Time Manifesto. I agree it’s not just the physical TV. We now have mini TV’s aka our computers and iPhones. Setting goals as a family is a great suggestion. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Heart and Haven January 8, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Jen, found your article on Simple Mom. Our family recently went on a “summer strike” from cable back in June and decided to give it a 3 month trial…our family of 5 hasn’t really missed it! Now 7 months later, we’re still enjoying the freedom from tv and the substantial cost savings. (We do have Netflix and movies for our kids to watch, and there are 1-2 shows each that my hubby and I like to watch via Hulu.)

    We have been tempted to get cable again with the new season of American Idol about to start (which our family all enjoys watching together)….we’re still deciding how to do this (ie. get cable again, watch at someone else’s house, find something else to do instead)

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      Hulu is a good one too. It would be cool for you to find another family who enjoys watching American Idol. Maybe you can set-up a weekly potluck dinner with a family and watch the season together. I’d love to hear what you decide to do.

  14. Lindsey@ Piecefully Home January 8, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    I found this through simple mom, too. we’ve been without cable for a good year now, but we do the netflix thing i admit for the kids to watch an occasional show. we did it mostly for the financial savings, but secondly we were looking forward to not having commercials for the kids and the fact they could watch tv when it was convenient for us, not the tv network.

    christmas time is totally different when the kids aren’t bombarded with commercials, that’s for sure! i was able to completely move the furniture around in the house since we weren’t tethered to a cable wire which was a nice plus! i love that i have a life outside of tv shows, i’m not wrapped up into the latest fictional plot line, i’m not planning my nights around the tv. it’s just freeing mentally and financially! since we went cable free we’ve talked with many many other people who have done the same thing.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

      It’s nice to know that there are other families living TV free. It’s crazy to see the commercials they have these days. I am definitely happy we don’t have to be bombarded with those messages.

  15. Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify January 8, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Thank you for this. We started out our marriage 10 years ago with no TV for the first year or so. Then we had TV with no cable, then local basic cable, then basic cable with a dvr. We do have only 1 TV and we keep it in the basement so that it has to be really intentional to go down and watch it, but it gets watched plenty in my book and I am ready to get rid of it again! I’ve been thinking about it a lot but haven’t taken the plunge. Thank you for your encouragement in this!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      I’m so happy that I could provide some encouragement. It’s much like eating healthy. If you have chocolate and chips in your pantry, it’s a whole lot easier to eat them because they are there. Now that we keep our kitchen stocked with only healthy snacks, I don’t stray as easily from a healthy eating plan. Maybe you could loan the tv to a friend for a little while and see how that goes. But starting with the basement was a good plan. P.S., I checked out your site and that spinach salad looks delicious! 🙂

  16. Holly January 8, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    This was a great post! When we lived in Taiwan for four years, we chose to go “TV free” and caught occasional shows or movies on our computer. Now that we’re back in the U.S. and we have an 8-month-old, we’re still enjoying a TV-free household. Not having a TV also makes it so that any sort of video game consoles are also not tempting since we know that getting one would mean getting a TV, too. Thanks for sharing this perspective!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      Taiwan sounds like an awesome adventure. Happy to hear that you have kept a TV free home after having a baby. It’s very tempting to plug right back in once the baby is born.

  17. Heather January 8, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    We hadn’t had TV for a couple year, just our netflix subscription. But, my husband works from home, and when we realized we needed a better internet/phone service, adding on the tv was practically free. So now we have had tv for about a month, and I don’t know what to do with it! We have too many channels. I can’t easily surf during commercials and find my way back to a show. We started using the DVR more, but I still feel overwhelmed. I am kind of looking forward to when the 1 year contract is over and we can drop the cable once again…

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      I’ve been in that same place of getting something just because it’s so cheap. The luxuries of a frugal life. They get you on those package deals. It can be overwhelming with the DVR because then you kind of add another incomplete to do list to your life. It is nice not too have to schedule your life around the tv, but sometimes with the recordings, you can find yourself planning your life to watch tv. If that makes any sense. 🙂

  18. Musings of A Minister's Wife January 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    This is a very timely article for me to share with someone who recently contacted me about this very thing. Although I gave her advice that lines up with what you have to say here, I know that she will enjoy reading it from a different perspective.


    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Thank you for sharing with your friend. I love when things just show up right when you need them.

  19. Tamara {Delish Mag} January 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Very nice to read this post and find a kindred spirit! I grew up on a farm and we didn’t have a television until I was maybe 13…and when my husband and I met, we both discovered that neither of us liked to watch much TV, so we got rid of the cable. When he had to move to from Canada to the US for work and I stayed behind (we did the long distance thing for almost three years), I got cable so I could pass away the hours, and it was a real time sucker. When we moved back in together, we decided again that we’d say no to cable.

    When the Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver, we signed up for a month so we could watch what was happening in our back yard. Our son was just born a few months before so I felt okay about that decision and also knowing it had an expiration date.

    And now with our son being 26 months old, I’m still happy with the decision. He’s never watched television here, and when it’s on at someone else’s house, he’s not interested in it. I did let him watch some YouTube videos like the Spider Monkey cartoon song, etc. and he enjoys those, and then I let him watch Simon’s Cat videos. I thought they were harmless, but that darn little cat makes a lot of messes and lo and behold, now our son is making the same noise the cat makes, and throwing things onto the ground and then laughing. It’s maddening, it’s out of character, and it’s because of that CAT! It just goes to show how prone to suggestion they are, and it’s made me vow to pre-watch anything I am thinking of letting him see. I’m also hoping I can find some Sesame Street or something with a lesson about not making messes to “de-program” him, but I am really hesitant to start that, lest he be wanting a program every day. So far it’s working for us not to do so.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      So happy to see you are on the same media fast. 🙂 I think what you suggested is a great idea about watching programs first before letting your kids get attached to a program. Kids are so absorbent and they pick up everything they see. Let me know if you find a lesson about staying tidy, I’d love to see it if you find it.

      • Tamara {Delish Mag} January 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

        Thank you!

        And, I will certainly do that!! We were so shocked at this behavior – I mean our son is no angel — he certainly can be, but he is also a normal 26-month-old -but it came out of nowhere and for a few days we were scratching our heads. Then it dawned on me when I heard the sounds he was making…just like that cat. Kitty made it look fun! It’s been a week now since he’s seen one, and he’s still doing it. We start up our parent/child Montessori classes again this coming Friday, and one of the big lessons there is to put your work away before you go to the next activity so we’ll be working on this one!

  20. Claire January 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Love it! We do have a TV which my husband and I watch sparingly, but my four-year old doesn’t watch any TV. When people hear that, they act like we’re Amish. We have so much fun spending time with him, I can’t imagine sacrificing some of that time to the TV.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      Love to hear that! Sacrificing time with your family for the TV is a great way of putting it. Does your four-year old ask to watch the TV or do you have it placed out of view?

  21. Erin @ Small and Simple Things January 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Great post! We are also tv free and love it:)

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      I didn’t realize how many of us are tv-free. I feel like we have a club now!

  22. Lynelle January 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    My hubby and I both grew up without a TV but when it came time for us to get married and move in together we wondered what to do. We realised that the biggest killer in a marriage was lack of communication and the biggest killer of communication was a TV so we decided to go without. 13 years later we still have no TV and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When people ask us why we don’t have one my hubby says “Why would you spend all week cleaning your house and then have a line straight from the local sewer into your living room because that is all thats on the box”. We have 3 kids aged 8, 5 and 3. We allow 1 DVD a week, usually on Friday night or Saturday. My eldest has received the Academic Achievement Award every year of his schooling life and my 5 year old is about to start. She is already reading and counting to 200 and she hasn’t been to school yet. We have two kids with ADHD and if they watch TV they are uncontrollable. There is lots of back answering and their brains switch off. We have found that the current cartoons are the worst for this. We are happy with our decision and we have happy, healthy kids with wonderful imaginations and they have never mentioned the “bored” word … because they don’t know what bored is. Ours is a life time decision and we couldn’t be happier.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      Lynelle— that is so inspiring to hear your story. I totally agree with the Tv making some kids uncontrollable— it’s amazing how much impact the tv can have on our lives. Thanks for being an inspiration to me and fellow families who are thinking about going tv-free.

  23. Mandy January 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Hubs and I married 5 years ago and we’ve been TV free ever since! We have a 2 year old and 6 month old. We actually follow the same schedule – one show from Netflix for the 2 year old after nap. We started netflixing just 3 months ago – it’s commercial free and a much safer place than YouTube for kid’s programming. We too once a week have a “date” night in which we stay in and watch a movie streamed from netflix – other than that, we dont touch it.

    We fill our time mostly with people – having people come over for dinner or if hubs is gone at night i CRAFT with all my kid-free time. Or pinterest. Because it’s addictive – but even my pinterest has a board devoted to stuff I have actually -done- and I make sure that it’s not all living in fantasy world and it has roots in reality.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      I think we need to be friends, Mandy! Sounds like we are very similar! No tv, two little kids, Pinterest, and date night. Love it!!! And I also love how you fill your time with people— it’s such a simple statement, yet it speaks volumes to me. Thanks for sharing your story.

  24. Katherine January 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    We got rid of our tv about 3 years ago. We were moving, having a garage sale, and decided to sell it, because we realized that we spent too much free time sitting there channel surfing and not enough time doing other things. We still watch our favorite shows on free sources (hulu,, and on the show specific websites). But it’s intentional, this time. The kids watch the occasional movie or short youtube cartoon clip, but otherwise they’re tv free. We’re not trying to make any sort of statement, and we have talked about getting a tv back at some point, but we’re not in a rush. Right now our lives are full of other things.

    We do technically still have a tv in our house. It’s a big old boxy one that my mother-in-law was storing for my husband. He uses it as a nightstand. 🙂

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

      Way to use reclaimed goods! Love that the tv functions as a nightstand. It should serve a purpose if it is taking up space in the house. 🙂

  25. Lisa from Mom, Net Mom January 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Just say no to TV. It robs precious time away from your real life, and sucks the marrow out of doing something fun or worthwhile. Plus, I’ve found, there really isn’t much on that merits watching.

    Here’s a challenge for you: Try going TVless for a period of time.

    Although you may initially experience withdrawals, I think after a while you will realize you don’t really even miss it. I believe you will find other things to fill your days and/or nights that will bring you more joy and more pleasure—like chatting with your spouse more, or hanging out with your kids, or cooking a tasty meal, or going for a walk, or hanging out with friends, or reading a book, or who knows—even writing a blog. 🙂

    Let me know if (and how) it works. I’m curious.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

      We have obviously already taken on the TVless challenge, and we love it. I think it would be great for more people to challenge themselves to see what life would be like with out a TV. Thanks for sharing Lisa.

  26. megan January 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    We’ve been cable free for four years, since we got married. We do owe and watch TV, but since we got an off brand DVR (with no monthly subscription) we get to skip commercials too. We also watch more intentionally since we pretty much only watch things we record. And for some reason, we get 4 PBS stations, so we great choices from Nova to Masterpiece. Thanks for sharing your story. I could see us going TV free at some point.

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      It is such a great thing to not have to watch commercials! And honestly, I didn’t even know PBS had four stations! That is awesome.

  27. Katie January 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    My family has been on and off TV for many, many years and we have never had cable. Right now, our TV set is stored on top of a high bookshelf underneath a piece of decorative fabric. Occasionally we take it down and plug it in to watch a movie. We do watch some TV on the internet (my husband more than I). It is funny how hard it seems when we are on a TV-watching cycle to imagine stopping, even though we have been without TV more than with it in our adult lives. It really does pull you in so fiercely. We let my three-year-old watch a show on Netflix here and there (or play a game on the IPad – for us screen time is treated as one thing as far as regulating our kids is concerned) and I see the same with him. After he has screen time, he asks to do it everyday for quite some time afterwards. But when he hasn’t done it for a while, he NEVER brings it up. I cannot even remember the last time he asked to watch a show!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks Katie for sharing your story. I couldn’t agree more strongly about how fiercely TV pulls you in. For awhile, I remember feeling like I was out of tune with reality because most of what people talk about and relate to is actually tied to what they see on tv. Yet once you withdraw enough from it, you can breathe again and realize reality is right now. It is your life, your family, your causes, your adventures, your meals, your interactions with others. It’s scary how tv can actually distort reality to that extent, if you let it.

  28. Sharon January 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    We live in a very rural area, so only get 2 channels. We’ve never wanted to pay for cable, so we watch very little of anything. I love the creativity that comes of that. Also, we always have tv free summer because there is so much more to do in life than watch a screen. Yes, we do feel a little out of it sometimes when we are in the dark about what others are talking about, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives!
    Great post!

    • familysponge January 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      Thanks for sharing Sharon. I thrive off of creative inspiration and the TV can definitely be a block for that. A TV free summer sounds perfect.

  29. Sam January 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    HIya 🙂 I moved out of home just over a year ago and chose not to have a TV, though not for financial reasons – the number of times confused family members have offered me a television! I feel so much happier and free to do the things I enjoy. My younger brother stays with me sometimes, and though he comes from a multi-tv home, never seems to mind its absence. I don’t believe I’ll ever go back 🙂

  30. Tamara {Delish Mag} January 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Wow, your post really resonated with a lot of people! It’s very heartening to know there are so many other moms (families) out there who feel the same way. YAY US!!


    And more time to spend with the kids, in nature, cooking, baking, sewing, doing crafts? DOUBLE YAY US!!

  31. Jessica January 9, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    Very nice post! We have lived 18 years of our 19 years as a married couple without a TV. We had decided to NOT get a TV even before we were married and wouldn’t you know it? We got one as a wedding present and couldn’t exchange/return it. So it sat in the box for months, a HUGE monster in our tiny studio apt. Then the in-laws came to visit and they were going to ask about it, so we had to at least pull it out of the box and make sure it was working! At the beginning, we only watched cooking shows. Then I started to watch some Sci-fi shows, and then we were just so tired (both in college) that we would watch whatever! We were so frustrated that we hardly had any time to do anything, but at the same time, we wasted SO MUCH time just zoned out in front of the TV. Finally, during a move, as we were downsizing, we just gave it away. And we have never turned back! We worried that when the children came along it would be odd to NOT have a TV? But we now have 5 children, the oldest being 14, and they have grown with no TV. They are super smart, read (I should say DEVOUR) books like there is no tomorrow, love to play board games, have vivid imaginations, are super creative, etc. etc. At first, they were embarrased to say they had no TV, in school. But soon they heard from teachers: ‘Wow, that is so cool!’ and when they had such good grades in literary subjects, the teachers invariably said: ‘You see, having no TV gave you an extra edge’ and stuff like that. Now they are actually very proud of not having a TV! We rent DVDs during the holidays and watch movies they’d like to see, but that’s as far as we are happy to go.
    So, yes. It can be done! By the way, we live in a city, not a rural area, and people around us are SUPER into TV, but still, it hasn’t crippled our social life ; P

    • familysponge January 9, 2012 at 6:33 am #

      I have been curious about what it would be like for our kids once they hit school age— when they are surrounded by their peers who watch tv. Your comment really spoke to me and helped confirm a bright future for our family. Thanks for sharing— I think you are the veteran of the group here! Congrats on 18 years without a TV!

  32. Kate S. January 9, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    We have a television (just one) for movie-watching, but haven’t had cable service of any kind in five years. We’re big movie fans, but budget and time don’t allow us to see them all in the theaters, so I don’t see us giving up our television entirely. Still, movie-viewing isn’t likely to replace our reading, my knitting, board games, or DIY projects around the house any time soon. I hate the idea of being a “mindless” viewer, so we’re always striving to intentionally watch only those things we really want to see.

    It really is amazing the difference it makes in your life, though. I can still remember leaving my television running all day, even if I wasn’t paying any attention to it, just for “background noise.” Now, I’ve definitely learned to appreciate the quiet.

    • familysponge January 9, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      I know exactly what you mean about appreciating the quiet. The house is much more peaceful and calm because there is no background noise. I do use Pandora a lot and run music through our house that way. I love that they don’t have commercials if you buy the subscription. It’s nice to see how you have created a healthy balance of movies and creative time.

  33. Sharon January 9, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    My husband and I got rid of our TV shortly after we got married (3 yrs ago). We didn’t have time to watch it and paying for service was a waste of money. I do watch a couple of shows online and we watch movies from time to time. We were in a hotel last year and watched two shows on TV. I was horrified at the commercials. I don’t recall what one of them was for, but the woman in it was scantily clad and I did not want my husband watching trashy commercials. It made me so grateful that we don’t have to battle that in our home. Our toddlers TV exposure has been limited to watching one 2-3 minute clip of Sesame Street or the Mickey Mouse Club House a day.

    • familysponge January 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      It is a relief to not have to battle commercial exposure. Such a good point— I should have talked more about that in my article! Thanks for the great point!

  34. Rachel January 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    We do not have a TV either, partly because at this point our budget does not allow for it, but mostly because of our time spent in Africa and the lessons we learned about what we can do without and what is truly important in life. I really loved your post–not having TV does make you be creative at times! Thanks for the encouraging post!

    • familysponge January 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

      So glad you enjoyed the article. I honestly am blown away by how many people can relate to me! We have always felt different from everyone, and now I have a whole circle of people who are dong the same things. Glad you have also found ways to be creative with your time and thanks for your kind words. Your coffee sleeves on your etsy shop are adorable, btw.

  35. Amanda January 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Hi! We do have a TV (wish we didn’t, but Mr. Man is 100% unwilling to give it up)… my question is, how DO you afford to travel? Even though we have a TV, we don’t pay the bill because our landlord does. You mentioned saving $5,500, but that obviously doesn’t cover the cost of ALL those trips, especially the trips out of the country. Sorry, NOT trying to be “that” kind of nosy, but genuinely curious as to how to you did it… It sounds amazing, but not sure how we could ever afford it… thanks for any advice!!!


    • familysponge January 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      I love that you refer to him as Mr. Man! And a lot of people say the same thing— they would love to give up TV but their other half won’t. That’s a hard battle to fight. As for travel, we are real bargain hunters. For Europe, we have managed to get deals for $650 roundtrip and we stay in hostels (we were backpackers for the summer of 2005) and have used Priceline for occasional hotels. One year we stayed in an old orphanage that was used as a Nazi prison during WW2 and then turned into a hotel. That was in Amsterdam and I think we were one of their first guests, so we got a killer deal! And the place was amazing! A little creepy, but very cool. As for eating, we buy food from the markets (rather than restaurants) and that saves a TON! And we walk everywhere— I always bring my running shoes on trips because the amount of walking we do is insane. And we don’t do the overpriced touristy things in places if we can avoid it. The joy I get in traveling is found mostly in the walks around the town and people watching. In Paris, every afternoon we would hit the market for a bottle of wine, bread and cheese and spend the evening along the Seine River. It was I loved most about Paris.

      And when we travel in the US, we mainly drive (rather than fly) and stay with friends, family, rest areas (before we had kids), and campsites along the way. Occasionally, we get hotels and we book through Priceline and name our own price (you can get killer deals, if you can handle not being in total control). On our trip across the US this past summer, we did Priceline the entire way and stayed in Nashville for $42 a night with breakfast. On the road, we rarely eat at restaurants, mainly roadside eateries and definitely hit grocery stores every chance we can get for fresh produce, bread, sunflower butter and jelly. We don’t live the luxurious life on our vacations— we try to live like the locals. So yes! You can absolutely do all this stuff for $5500! It may not be your “dream vacation”, but in my book it’s even better. Hope that was helpful and I wish you the best of luck on your travels!

  36. Fawn January 10, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    My husband and I rent a small apartment in the city because the drive from our home to work was too much in the LA traffic. When we decided to rent, we also decided to save money we’d go sans TV. It’s been great! We thought we’d only do it in the beginning but have found we love not having TV. When we go home on weekends, we sometimes find ourselves vegging on the couch in front of the TV so I am always grateful to come back to the apartment where the television does not exist.

    • familysponge January 11, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      I just love your story! My husband and I commuted to LA for years and I know all about that traffic. Luckily for us, we could flex our hours a little. But still I wish we had a place in LA for all that time we spent commuting! It’s funny how when you first give up a tv it seems like a sacrifice. Yet within a matter of time, it is actually a luxury.

      Your Happy Wives Club is such a great idea! I love when you said “Decades of the media bombarding us with visions of unhappy wives and daunting divorce statistics made me think about the rarity of my marriage and the joy I feel as a wife. Then it hit me! I can’t be the only one. There must be others out there who view marriage and spending time with their husband as one of the absolute greatest blessings in their life.” It’s so true and I am thankful that I have been able to fill my life with images of real husbands and wives, thanks to going tv-free.

  37. Alfred January 30, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    In the early 80’s and 90’s i had the tv bug bad. I used to have to go to town every Tuesday to get the latest Tv Guide and if I couldn’t go I made someone else pick one up for me. I had to go through it and plan my weekly schedule of what I was going to watch. Now I don’t own a tv guide or watch much tv. There is only one show right now that I watch on the computer in 38 minutes and I do that while eating lunch. I work Word Search Puzzles which is my favorite hobby listen to Old time radio shows from the 1930’s to the 1950’s and read alot of Cozy Mysteries. With my old time radio shows you have everything you want there from comedy all the way up to mystery and horror it is alot better to listen and use your imagination and these shows are just as fun an hysterical now as they where live. I also play games on the computer each day to unwind as well. I am not able to sit down for a full 30 minute program but on the computer I can watch 15 minutes at a time and then pause it or come back to it if I need to get up and do something.

    • familysponge January 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      TV bug is a good way of putting it. I love the idea of listening to an old-time radio show. Where would you find those? We check out audiobooks from the library. We like to listen to them in the car. Thanks for sharing!

      • Alfred January 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

        The Radio shows you can go to and to see some that can listen on computer. The three series I recommend are The Great Gildersleeve Fibber McGee and Molly and Screen Guild Theater as well as Lux Radio Theater these are shortened versions of the movies that where big in theaters at that time. Let me know if you listen to them and what you think.

        • familysponge January 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

          Thanks for the quick reply! I will definitely get back to you after I take a listen. I’m super excited to listen. Would you consider any of these radio shows family-friendly? It sounds like a perfect way to have a family night in.

          • Alfred January 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

            Yes Alot of the comedy shows are If it is better for you to email me directly I can give you a list of family friendly shows you can listen to

  38. Ayme February 3, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Really glad to see other people doing this. I got ride of the TV for my daughter and me last summer. We also use Netflix to get our nature doc fix, but otherwise we spend our time doing things (there’s SO much to do!). I think engagement is so much more fulfilling than entertainment. Life really is too short for TV.

    • familysponge February 3, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      “Life really is too short for TV.”

      I think I might take that quote and frame it Ayme.


  39. Ashley February 3, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    My husband and I gave up tv when the digital transition happened–we just didn’t get reception, and the free television gathered with “bunny ears” ceased to exist. Since then, we haven’t felt the need to go back and though we do enjoy Netflix/Hulu at times, it is a more intentional television watching scenario than cable is.

  40. Raina February 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Can i just say I loooooove this?! I think everyone should get rid of their tv. We have a tv & a computer but no cable, no channels. We use it strictly for a movie here or there for the same reasons as you. We do Netflix as well. No streaming; just the two DVDs at a time, one for kids and one for adults. We’ve been married for 12 years and have never paid for cable. Sometimes it was available if we lived in an apartment and it was watched occasionally.

    When my kids get home from school, they want to play not watch tv. I love it. They are not bombarded with commercials and ads telling them what they “have to have”. They don’t even know what to ask for at Christmas or on their birthdays. They will tell me one or two items they might like to have. It is awesome!

    My children are healthy and active and i attribute a lot of it to very limited tv time. I highly recommend trying this out for anyone interested! Even if you just do it for the summer. Notice the sort of changes within your family that come because of it…

  41. Rachel February 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Wow! I could’ve written this post only we back-packed through China and Southeast Asia instead. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

    • Jen Hansard February 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      China and Southeast Asia— that is incredible! Glad you share is our sense of adventure. 🙂 Life is too short for TV.

  42. Jamie February 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    We only let our kids have screen time on the weekend, except I do let our 3 yr old watch a short DVD when I’m nursing the baby to sleep! On the weekend, we usually just get a red box movie or let them watch an old favorite–we don’t have Netflix or cable.

    I love that our kids will all plop down on the couch together with books. Something I never thought possible before we made the “weekend only” rule three years ago! They love to read, play piano, build with Legos, or just run around in circles! Best decision ever!

    • familysponge February 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Totally understand the nursing dilemma. I remember I would strap my 19 month old son in his high chair with some snacks and a show just to get my daughter nursed, burped and in bed. Whew, those times were exhausting! Go Jaime, go!

  43. Michelle Glauser February 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Yeah, I stopped watching TV years ago and I don’t miss it. I never intend to buy a TV and even videos I can get at the library to watch on my laptop. I don’t see that as a problem at all. There are much better things to do with my time. When I do watch movies, I only agree to do so if I have a project I can work on while I’m watching. That way I don’t feel bad about the wasted time.

    • familysponge February 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

      The library is great for dvds as well! I totally forgot to mention that! Thank you!!! We have gotten quite a few DVD’s there for the kids over the years. And I like how you make sure you are doing something productive while you watch a movie. That is my style as well.

  44. azra February 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    we are tv free since 2005 and we love it. sometimes we catch the glimpses when we are the friends’ house… and we are amazed at what a waste of time it is, how boring and degrading of humans it is. if you want to be free get rid of tv.

  45. MamaBear February 4, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    We’ve been (mostly) TV free since 2009 when we would have had to pay just to get a few regular channels. Our kids only watch DVD’s or VHS movies and for the longest time I even fast forwarded the previews because I didn’t want them seeing and wanting things that I didn’t approve of. It’s been one of the best parenting decisions we’ve ever made. Sure my kids ask for things but they are things that THEY are interested in, not what someone on TV says they ‘deserve’.

    They don’t understand when we go to grandma and grandpa’s house why we can’t fast forward through the commercials. 🙂 small price to pay though in my opinion!

    We are very out of the loop with many current events but there are other outlets for that information. When something hits the news we aren’t pounded with it from every possible angle and with information that often turns out to not even be the real truth. Nobody will pick me for their team when we play Trivial Pursuit for this decade though, but oh well!

    • Jadah Sellner February 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      Great idea to fast forward the movie previews too!

  46. Jen February 4, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    We have never had a tv (don’t believe its right). So growing up and now married with kids we have never had one. Instead we grew up reading books, playing outside ( mudpies..cowboys and indians..riding bikes.. Building forts.. Picking blackeberries..) Best childhood I could ask for! I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Jadah Sellner February 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Books and outdoor play are definitely treasured childhood memories worth passing on. I want to try a you-pick-it farm this year.

  47. Shannon February 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi there. Awesome post. We are a TV-free family, too. My partner and I were living intentionally without televisions when we met and have been happily without a television together. Our son just turned two last week and we constantly get compliments about his behavior in restaurants, museums – in public in general. His behavior is pretty darn good for a two-year old and I think the two primary reasons are both related to life without television. First, he isn’t constantly bedazzled by flashing screens. He understands that things actually move slowly and he expects that to be the case. Secondly, he is exposed to restaurants, travel, museums, parks, the zoo, cafes, and so on all the time. These things are an integral part of our son’s daily experiences because we never rely on TA for entertainment. Instead we go out and see the world. With that being said, we aren’t puritans. We have Netflix for our laptops (which we seldom use), and though the baby doesn’t watch Netflix, he does like to see musical instruments in action in Youtube videos.

    • familysponge February 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

      It makes me happy that you fill your time with such amazing activities. We used to live in Los Angeles and would go to the LA Zoo weekly and the Jane Autry Museum once a month. The park is almost a daily activity in our schedule and I love it. I must admit there have been a couple meltdowns in restaurants when I have had to bust out Netflix on my iPhone— I am no Puritan either.

  48. Joanne Miller February 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Just found your blog. Love it. I have been TV free for two years. AND WE DON’T MISS IT !

    We too have decided to watch only deliberately, so we stream a couple shows and we will browse Netflix a time or two a month.

    I do think doing it as a team is critical to success however. My boyfriend thought we’d miss Food TV to much, but together, we cook more and watch less !

    Thanks for the read, and the blog !

    Joanne (HotChickityDog)

  49. TracyD February 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi my name is Tracy and I am a TV addict. I probably mention several times a week how I should give up TV. It has been my companion for my entire life. Just thinking about giving it up makes me nervous. I Love it and I hate it. I know I have wasted sooooo much time watching other people live their real or imaginary lives on television instead of just living mine. Ugh. Once I was living in an apartment and the cable for the building got severed. It took over a week for it to be fixed. For the first few days I thought I was going to go crazy. It literally felt like withdrawal then something started to shift and I found myself cleaning out closets, reading, working out, writing to friends etc. I felt great. Peaceful. I never wanted to go back to my old ways. Then the cable came back and slowly but surely I was pulled back in. I’ve been there ever since. My husband is a pretty good tv watcher as well but I think he would be supportive. I don’t know if he would be able to go all in but maybe a limited screen diet. I am very inspired by this story and everyone’s comments. I hope to be TV free. I think it would change our lives. Wish me Luck.

    • familysponge February 6, 2012 at 6:04 am #

      Hi Tracy- I know how strange it seems that going tv free. Glad you read through the comments and can see how there is an underground community of us who have said ditch the tube. Some people have gone all the way— no Netflix, nothing. But for me, I am not at that stage of my life. Maybe one day I will get rid of it all, and maybe one day you will be able to get rid of your tv. Best of luck to both of us!

  50. heidi garner February 6, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    When we moved to our rural town, there was not local tv at all…if you wanted to get anything through your tube you had to pay for cable or satellite. We had never done that before and were not going to start. So in came netfix. I say we don’t have tv and are not abreast on the current event and thank goodness comercials… but we still watch far too much of it. My kids watch a fair amount of pbs shows and disney shows. If I were a better mom I would cut down on it. We have 2 tvs in the house, and that is more than enough. I am fine if we never have “TV” again. I sure if there were no netflix it would be a different story.

  51. Jaime February 7, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    We have been TV free since Jan 1st! It was our new year’s resolution as a Family. It’s working out awesome. Yes, we watch the occasional movie together, but the kids are outside more and we look for more imaginative ways to spend time together. 🙂

  52. lisa April 3, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    When I had my first child 30 years ago I was so passionate about not letting TV be the center of our lives, but over the years I have sucumed to it. I feel like a zombie following my husband to the family room every evening to watch one of our zillion recorded series. I envy all of you who have not allowed the boob tube to dominate your lives.

  53. Joyce @Childhood Beckons May 19, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    We cut out TV years ago to save money and I’m absolutely thrilled with the decision. But yes, you often have nothing to add to conversations. Haha. I loved your info and tips. Thanks for sharing!

  54. Aaron June 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    I like having the internet for watching shows if i miss it on tv but I rather have a T.V than a computer. Ever since I started using the internet it has been apart of me for the longest. before I went to college I love to watch shows i couldn’t watch on TV as well as having one. but during college its what I had to entertain myself. but when I finished my first year I noticed that I have been procrastinating a lot and its because of my computer. My laptop is everywhere I seek comfort, right now I am suppose to do a 10 min workout but I’m stuck writing lol no offense. The reason why I would prefer a T.V is because a T.V does one thing it shows you shows. The thing is that you might like one show for a half hour to an hour and finish watching it but decide to go on and do something else you’re not going to watch old reruns of old 80’s shows are you? who knows. But the internet does so many things at once its hard to leave for something when you know that a notification for facebook is on, or a youtube video popped up, or netflix. I have so many things I would like to do but I waste my time just going on 7 sites and all those were things that could have waited for me to give my attention too.

    when I was young watching tv was more of a time and place in terms of like I would watch my favorite hey arnold show and some others for about a few hours then something would come on I wouldn’t watch and I’ll go play with my Thomas toys for a good while. But now I am doing my own comic but I am behind because I am stuck on the internet putting it off. I think the Internet is going to backlash my generation because it does so much at once. I feel that the internet is more addicting than TV, I look at my parents now and its like they hardly have time to talk because they own Ipads now playing games, I can’t even get their full attention about my first day of my summer job. Don’t get me wrong I love the internet it keeps me connected with my friends, updates on my favorite shows, but at times I think TVs at least brought families together and helped share a common moment. right now I look at myself and my family and the internet just isolated us, gladly my little sister who is 11 don’t go on the internet as much and she watches T.v but she always have more time to write a story and try and engaged to us about it.

  55. M. Wilhite June 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Hubby and I agreed, about six years ago to get rid of our cable because we could no longer afford it. It was easy though, since there was so little that interested us. I would surf, surf, surf, looking for something good. Sometimes I surfed onto a scene with beautiful scenery and music, just to find out it was a car commercial.

    There was no withdrawal from tv, since there was nothing to miss. Some well meaning and concerned friends seemed very worried about us and burned shows in an attempt to soften our loss. lol. They were silly shows that seemed to be aimed at people with the minds of first graders.

    We have books now, and music. I’m definitely out of the loop. I don’t understand a lot of what people are saying anymore. I suppose I’m missing out on the new slang by not watching tv.

    Life became slower and more peaceful after getting rid of the box. I became happier. I’ve noticed that my tv-watching friends are not very happy people. They seem to have a lot of angst and they worry about things that don’t need to be worried about. The only thing that seems to make them happy is shopping. Could that be the effects of all those ads? I think so. Also, most of them are on some form of prescription meds to calm thier aggrevated minds. It’s kind of scary. Those pills don’t seem to be working.

    To me, tv shows and all those ads were a false world, or a false God. Definitely a false reality.

    Apart from all that our lives haven’t changed much. We still don’t go and do more than before, but we’ve noticed how many simple pleasures are around us. Very simple pleasures like tossing cracked corn outside a window and seeing wildlife show up to eat it. Or listening to the birds sing and chatter and wondering what they’re saying. And books. Books are an easy way to take wild adventures in the safety of your own home. Books are nothing like tv shows. Reading a book is like enjoying a sumptious twelve course meal in an elegantly designed building, with flowers and music. Watching a tv show is like looking at a picture of it.

    We’ve both changed since getting away from the box and, strangley, our friends seem to have left us behind. It’s as if we’ve stopped drinking from the well of insanity and we’re no longer like them. That’s something I didn’t see coming. It’s ok tho. Life is peaceful.

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  57. gwy September 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

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  58. Layali November 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    SO glad I stumbled across this site. I actually found it linked from Simple Green Smoothies:)

    This has been so heartening, especially that post about the older kids and how well adjusted they are. My husband and I decided to go TV free when we moved in, but I found myself missing it (even though I rarely watch TV) because we were so bored haha.

    We have two very young kids and I am hopeful they will learn to be dismissive of TV. My biggest fear has always been that TV would become the forbidden fruit.

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  61. Pratap March 4, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    Hi from Mumbai, Jen! My wife and I have not had a TV since we got married 3 years ago, we’ve never felt the need for it. Now we have a year old baby girl and sometimes I show her nature documentaries (BBC Planet Earth, etc.) to keep her from getting bored. I prefer avoiding this too, but we’re finding it quite difficult to do outdoor activities (traveling, learning new stuff) when she is so young.

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  72. magali March 26, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    Same here, We dropped our TV when our kids were 2 and a half and 4… they are now 10 and 11 and a half and they happily survived…. even better, our daughter asked that we get rid of the computer and her Ipod and our son agreed. So very soon, we’ll have no TV, no PC, no internet, no Ipods. Just my husband’s work laptop and my laptop for uni that the kids don’t touch and that I will use only at the library from now on. Our children are creative, take initiatives, very social and connected to the world around them… our family is sooooo much better without those items. I strongly believe screen are completely useless for kids. They can be happy with all the rest that their childhood has to offer….I’m not sure the reverse is true….

  73. M.AT April 8, 2015 at 2:10 pm #


    I was born in Western Canada and used to watch easily 3-6 hours of TV a day…

    I now live in France. I came here when I was 13 and at the time they only had 3-5 channels. I really thought I was in a backward country at the time.

    Sooner or later cable kicked in and that jumped to 25 and now over 100.

    I got married with a French girl and had our first daughter. TV was indeed a break from the all time babycare. We had our second girl and again TV saved the day. However we soon realized that the girls were watching very boring or senseless shows and that my wife and I were communicating less.

    We one day got rid of our TV. My wife was happy, the kids seemed easier to handle (for some reason) and we had our third boy who was more than happy from the attention he was getting from his sisters.

    We use internet for news and email a lot and also subscribed to Internet TV (same as Netflix in France) and watching a movie became a fun and less usual attraction than the boring constant piece of furniture.

    I work in technology and it is important to me that my kids understand technology and are comfortable with it. I want them to see it as a liberating asset rather than a mental prison they are trapped in. We try to manage the computer time and my kids understand Pads, Pods and PCs and use them well. They have become more creative and mainly are self-starters. They have a mind of their own and do not just repeat what they hear from the box and ask a lot of questions.

    Getting rid of the TV transformed all of us from passive spectators of our lives to active actors appreciating even more the moments when we watch movies.

    One of the best things we did was to get rid of the TV set.

  74. Kevin Cook April 18, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    I’m not a parent, so perhaps I have no business replying, but your post about giving up TV struck a chord with me. I’d always had one (I’m now 62), but in recent years I was increasingly annoyed by the superficiality and commercialism of so much that I was seeing. When I got home at night I would stretch out on the couch with the remote control at the ready, zapping from channel to channel in an ever more desperate search for anything worth watching. I live in Holland, where we could receive TV from several countries, and I enjoyed watching stuff in various languages. But eventually our provider took the foreign-language channels out of the basic package, while adding more sports, ‘entertainment’ (home videos of people’s pets or children doing stupid things) and sex channels that were of no interest whatsoever to me. I did sometimes wonder why I kept the damn thing, but never took the ultimate step.

    One day the TV itself took a hand in the proceedings by burning out in mid-broadcast – the picture suddenly dwindled to a bright white spot, which then disappeared, and a faint burning smell filled the room. I unplugged the set very fast and phoned a repair company, who said they’d be round to fix things in a couple of days’ time. About an hour later it occurred to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to try living without a TV and see what happened. So I phoned the repair company to cancel the appointment – and, as the saying goes, I’ve never looked back. When I moved house last year, the long-defunct TV set went to the local recycling centre.

    When I’m travelling and staying in hotels I do often switch the TV on – but increasingly I find even that pointless, and not once have I felt the need to return to life with a TV. I’m unhooked.

    OK, perhaps it’s easy for me because I don’t have kids. But it’s been easier than I’d expected. I’m not a technology addict anyway (no car, no camera, no mobile phone, no social media, and no Internet connection at home – I’m writing this from a café), and perhaps that’s part of the explanation. But I think the general quality of TV is now so poor that this is as good a time as any to get rid of it.

    So good luck, folks – and thanks for this blog!

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  77. Jyri July 7, 2015 at 7:29 am #

    I did the same now again, month ago. I sold my Smart-TV out. Actually I’m into dance music and TV shows and movies not for me. But the reason I had TV, people complaining how you can live w/o it. But now I’m stronger and I don’t mind. What i noticed in first month without tv? There’s no more this black box watching you, my house is more cozy, I don’t even have radio as I use Spotify on laptop. But the answer is yes, it saved me from watching no sense from TV, I had Netflix for great 2 years, but really insted of sitting for hours from 1.5 meters from my TV watching Breaking Bad, I’m now mountain biking a lot in the woods, talking with my friends and enjoying my life. I don’t really even feel anymore that I need TV. Because I don’t want to watchn characters living their lifes, I want to live my own life.

    When I canceled Netflix, the rep asked me why I’m canceling and what he can do to bring me back? I said I don’t watch service anymore as I found I only used it to stream maybe 10-20 episodes/movies from it each month. Not worth the price. He said he can low it up for 7.99 € month, only SD quality. I said there’s nothing you can do, because this will not make my life happier. Then he said, but there’s a lot of movies and series, don’t you watch these at all? I said not anymore and do you have better offer than living my life? He said thanks for your feedback, I understand that sometimes you don’t watch content that much. Welcome back at any time…

    And actually when I use rent housing, I can’t save money on cable service and actually I use cable modem Internet, so it’s worth to have one. But movies/series I don’t watch. For entertainment I listen a lot of music an here after all a lot of free options like YouTube, Vimeo… I still have TV satnd, cable modem and some photos on it and I will add in future even more photes. It was not even hard to stop with all tv shows and movies and I get bored everytime when here’s TV up with some boring ads / shows / movies on it. And here in Finland TV is a lot of ads. Almost more ads than actual TV program…

    But that’s the reason why I live my life happy way – I have no TV, I have no radio. Because I know what makes me happy the most and it’s not new series of Orange is the new black or new song from Rihanne. It is dance music!

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  79. M Rahman August 30, 2015 at 6:30 am #

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  82. Alessandra Martellacci November 24, 2015 at 5:21 am #

    I haven’t had a t.v. for ten years, (my entire adult life) nor have I ever had a Netflix subscription. Even as a child, I lived way out in the country with only three channels and one of them was CPAC (Canadian CSPAN, woo hoo). I always had a strange mixture of envy and pity for those with televisions. They always have something to talk about to nearly anyone, but then I started to listen to the conversations they were having; products (soooo many useless products), actors, the same plots over and over and over again… Then I realized, I wouldn’t ever want to have a conversation like that, even if I were being paid handsomely.

    The thing that strikes me is how often our living room strikes others. Just this weekend, my darling lover and I got back from a play in the neighboring city (Toronto) and we invited our friends up who had dropped us off. The very first thing from John’s mouth was, “No t.v.? Nice.”, like it was some sort of amazing feat. They immediately headed for the instruments. I broke out the tea and blankets.

    We chatted for hours and noodled on guitars and baglama, guzzling tea; lost all track of time. It was lovely. It strikes me every single time. It also makes me realize how much I hate when a gathering of friends turns into watching video after video. It’s like no one even cares about hospitality. I’ve been offered a youtube video before a cup of tea or a glass of water. What on Earth? I know it isn’t kind to scoff at the hospitality of others, but seriously?

    Living without mass media has made me very happy. I don’t know how media consumers do it. The whole prospect of staring at a black box for hours and hours a day while people try to sell me things that cause cancer and isolation makes me feel nauseated. Basically, television makes me dislike people and I don’t ever want to have to dislike my fellow human beings. I don’t really see how television could possibly foster anything but self loathing, fear and hatred though. I’ll stick to books, blogs and the real world. 🙂

    I can’t wait to voraciously consume your blog!

    • Pratap Bhat November 24, 2015 at 8:48 am #

      Thoroughly enjoyed reading your story Alessandra. My wife and I have neither ever had a TV (4 years), nor do we plan to get one. I grew up watching my dad sit dumbly in front of it. The volume would be high too due to his noisy work atmosphere, and every day I would feel like smashing it with a hammer. So i had this strong aversion but others won’t have it as intensely. I guess life with a TV continues in most homes because a) companies have successfully portrayed owning one as an achievement and a status symbol, b) the thought of discarding this expensive item requires some effort by the brain while switching it on doesn’t ! A habit of reading books (physical, not on kindle) is the only way I can think of getting rid of that lifestyle. Simply put, my mind feels free and relaxed not having a TV at home. 

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  85. walid May 22, 2016 at 5:21 am #

    Very good
    it is the first time I know that there is americans, or europian have not a TV
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    I have no problem at all, more people insult me before, but now, they are proud that I have not a TV
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  87. Desi June 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    I know this is an old post and the odds of the author replying are slim—BUT….what the heck do you do when relatives visit?! My entire family, no exaggeration, are TV addicts. Not only that, but most of them also constantly check FB and even watch YouTube videos when visiting us. (There’s nothing quite like having a 50 inch TV blasting in the background, while young kids run around screaming and someone turns up the video on their phone, to hear it better. THAT is an experience worth its weight in migraines and anxiety attacks.)

    I feel that if we were to get rid of the multiple TV’s our relatives enjoy, there would be an all out riot. Is all your family supportive of your lifestyle choice? If not, how do you gracefully handle that?

    • Pratap Bhat August 3, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

      Hi Desi,

      Another Indian here from India. I’ve been wanting to reply but couldn’t as I was busy. Also because its a difficult question, knowing how we always want to keep in touch with our relatives. But look at it this way – if all that your extended family wanted to do was watch TV / youtube / FB then why are they visiting you? Do you actually enjoy their company when the TV is switched off or are you keep in touch just for the heck of it? If the answer is the former one then plan some group activities or outings such that they’re fully occupied during their entire visit (things that you may enjoy as well). Books / magazines help too, to some extent. If they get restless then you can let them enjoy the internet but at low volumes. If the answer is the latter then you are better off living without their company. What is the worst that can happen? – They’ll pass comments, that’s about it; still better than those migraines. I feel most TV addicts are just too lazy to think about other things to do. With a 50″ TV you’re just feeding their laziness 🙂 I live with my wife and 3 yr old daughter and we’ve never had a TV. We bought a home projector recently, and most of our entertainment comes from outings or internet or novels / story books or art or just playing with my daughter. And these are our guests’ options too. Cards / Board games (Pictionary my favourite!) are a great option too. Anyway, let me know your views on these. Good luck!

    • Fred harris January 6, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

      We did the same thing and we havw lots of relatives who are tv and gmw console addicts. Its hard at first especially with a 13 year old in the house – tv was his life.
      But the kids stopped being selfish and started to do orher more physical things.

      Its hard for me too but then again ive now been more productive and less lazy. Tv for us was a sedative….thats about it. I kicked the habbit and now im concentrating on better things.

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