To TV or Not TV


Do you let your kids watch television?

What boundaries do you have on this in your home?

I talk about this with Buz Mayo around the 19:00-minute mark in this podcast:

When our kids were little, one of the things we probably did a pretty good job of – and partly because we were busy – is we didn’t watch television much. And when they really wanted to, they had to earn it. We tried a million different ways; they had to earn tickets to watch a half hour show, etc..but it was not the center of our home.

I don’t want the TV to be the center of the home. Pretty much every home I’ve been to – MINE INCLUDED – has the TV up on the wall in the living room and all of the seating facing directly at it.

If aliens came and saw this, they would conclude that this appliance is without a doubt the most important thing in our lives. “The humans can’t FUNCTION without it!”

But that’s a lie.

One my friends (who I don’t think uncoincidentally grew up on a farm) has a TV, but it’s stored on a wheeled cart in a closet. If he wants to watch it, he has to wheel it out and plug it all in. Just making it 38 seconds more difficult to watch cuts TV watching to nearly nothing. It goes from being the default activity to something you need to actively do.

For me, with it on the wall, the numbed-out world of TV-land is a click of a button away. But I want Jack to know that the amazing world of outside is just a few steps away!

What’s your parental view of television? I want your advice. And if you allow TV in your house, how to do you make proper boundaries? Please leave your answer in the comments


ps, We talked about this with Buz right after talking about cell phone addiction. It’s the same problem. I don’t want my kids thinking that joy = TV, or relaxation = TV, or family time = TV.

What wound does cell phone [and TV] addiction create?

Let’s just go to the inner dialogue of a child who is perhaps 4, 5, or 6. If they had the vocabulary, it might go something like this, “Hmmm, that seems to be worth a lot to daddy, to be connected to these invisible people I can’t see. I think that I’m worth LESS than who he is talking to. I think I’m worthless.” That’s a pretty deep wound.

My son already sees the phone as an important thing. I want him grabbing books and grabbing the Bible, “That is what dad carries around all the time. That is where dad goes for joy. That is where dad goes to relax. That is the center of our family’s life.