I don’t consume a lot of television. Occasionally I will binge a show on Netflix. I liked the three seasons of Fargo and the first season of True Detective. I will put on some garden reality show or documentary in the background. Every now and then my wife and I stream a movie or watch some standup. But for the most part if I lived alone I would watch almost no television.
The truth is I just don’t enjoy movies or television. Compared to reading or listening to audiobooks I find the process tedious and unstimulating. I can’t thing of the last time I really enjoyed a new movie. I find streaming services like Netflix especially irritating because of the choice paralysis involved. Every time I sit down I spend forty-five minutes scrolling through the lackluster choices until I pick something I’m not really that excited to about but feel compelled to watch because I just spent forty-five minutes looking for it. I would rather spend the time reading, writing, talking, cooking, or just about anything including just sitting in silence napping.
Yesterday my wife and I were discussing children, our childhood, and parenting styles. Television screen time came up. I don’t exactly remember how the conversation developed but my wife asked me if I thought getting rid of the television would be a good idea. As in getting rid of it completely and making a living room without one as the centerpiece. The point being that we would raise Juniper free of television.
My initial reaction was immediate approval. The only one who watches it regularly is my wife so my life would remain mostly unchanged. It would be a improvement because it would force us to come up with some better activities on weekend nights and get rid of the dread of being stuck in an endless loop of deciding what to watch.
But we both have some misgiving. I grew up with unlimited screen time and no supervision over what movies and television I watched. I remember spending my afternoons watching Disney cartoons, I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, and other reruns. Once I got a bit older I watched a lot of Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Hercules, Xena, The X-Files, and a bunch of other shows I can’t even remember. My younger brother and I spent a lot of time watching television, but we also played outside, played games, skateboarded, had a lot of friends, explored, got girlfriends when we got older, and grew up to be overall successful adults. Television did not rot our brains. Well maybe a little bit.
I’m afraid that if we get rid of the television we would be depriving Juniper of the fun I had growing up. I don’t want to be that crunchy granola or fundamentalist religious parent that forces my ascetic beliefs onto my children, but at the same time I feel that modern television is pure brain garbage and is just another excessive attention deficit inducing trash pile that sucks away happiness.
With our move coming up in the next few weeks it would be the perfect time to get rid of television and change the way we interact in our living room space. So I’m really thinking this over, weighing the pros and the cons. What do you guys think, should I dump the television? Do you think I would be depriving my daughter? Let me know in the comments, I’m really interested.