October 10

I toured a television museum nearby last summer and I’ve been going to write about it and why I think America should kill their televisions since but haven’t taken the time to put all my thoughts together yet.

The museum is dedicated to a man named Philo T. Farnsworth who came up with a brilliant idea while plowing farm fields at the age of 14.  He is a cousin or something to my grandfather. So, ironically, I am related to him but despite the fact that I abhor his one invention, in all his genius-ness, he created a product that eventually gave us computer monitors and the internet.  He also created what I call “the bane of America” ~ a tool that has contributed to the mental and emotional deterioration of our children and the quality of our lives as a whole; the television.

So, why do I promote #KillYourTV ???

Here’s 18 Reasons:

  1. More/Better sleep. The same statistics that tell us Americans watch over 35 hours of television/week are the same statistics that make it clear the lure of the screen is just too strong to turn off. No one sets out to spend 5 hours/day watching television. The temptation is too great… especially when we are tired. Not only does television in the bedroom keep us up later at night, but there are also studies that indicate watching television before bed actually disrupts sleep cycles. Removing the television from your bedroom results in more sleep and better sleep… which means you’ll have a better rested, more productive day.
  2. What you think about last matters. The evening provides valuable opportunity to meditate, evaluate, and assess your day. This examination leads to learning from our mistakes and growing as humans. Unfortunately, many people will sacrifice this opportunity for the sake of entertainment.
  3. What you think about first matters. Every morning begins with a clean slate and brand new opportunities. Allowing your television to guide your morning thoughts takes that blank canvas and begins painting. We would be wise to choose carefully who/what directs our morning thoughts rather than blindly allowing television producers to do it for us. After all, it sets the stage for the rest of the day.
  4. Example for your kids. Children with televisions in their bedrooms score lower on school tests and are more likely to have sleep problems. Also, having a television in the bedroom is strongly associated with being overweight and a higher risk for smoking. And that’s a pretty strong argument to remove theirs and yours.
  5. More conversation. As a married couple, some of your most important, intimate conversations will take place in your bedroom during the waning hours of the day… unless of course, the television is on instead.
  6. More/Better sex. Couples who keep a TV in the bedroom have sex half as often as those who don’t. Probably because there are over a million things more stimulating than a man watching ESPN SportsCenter. And if you ask me, that should be reason enough…
  7. Less clutter. Your television takes up space (even when hidden). And I haven’t met anybody who actually enjoys more clutter in their homes.
  8. Less advertisements at your weakest. Studies reveal what we already know to be true: Consumers are more susceptible to advertisements when they are tired. Depletion leads us to feel as if we’ve been more thorough and thoughtful in our processing and therefore, we become more certain in our attitudes.
  9. Realistic expectations on your marriage. In almost all regards, television rarely depicts the world and life accurately. As a result, too much television results in disillusionment about what to expect from the world around us. This can be most detrimental to our relationships when the unrealistic expectations are applied to our marriage, family, love, romance, and sexuality.
  10. Rooms serve purposes. Kitchens are for cooking… Dining Rooms are for eating… Toy Rooms are for playing… Offices are for working… Rooms serve purposes. The better we define those rooms and their purposes, the more productive they become. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex by taking work materials, computers, and televisions out of the sleeping environment.
  11. Televisions attract dust. All electronics attract and trap dust… something about static electricity. While I don’t understand the physics, I see the result. And isn’t there enough dust already in your bedroom… why would you want to attract more?
  12. Get ready faster. Having the television on while getting ready in the morning adds extra time to the process. And who wants to spend more time getting ready?
  13. More reading. Light reading in the evening helps many fall asleep faster. But even if it doesn’t help you sleep, the benefits of reading still far outweigh the benefits of television. Removing the television from your bedroom will almost always encourage more reading in your life.
  14. Going to sleep together. While some couples have successfully navigated the television schedule and actually go to sleep together (We watch the King of Queens every night and then fall asleep), we never could. Perhaps we’re less disciplined… but more likely, she liked watching TLC far more than I did. Removing the television helps foster intimacy by not just going to bed at the same time, but by falling asleep at the same time as well.
  15. Less electricity/energy use. Household electronics continue to use energy and electricity even when powered off. It’s called standby-power and it amounts to 5-10% of your total electricity bill. One less television means one less financial drain on your checkbook.
  16. Your attention is far too valuable. There are very important people in your life who need your attention every single day. Removing the television from your bedroom will help you give it to the people who need it the most.
  17. Masking problems in your marriage. When two imperfect people come together to form an intimate union that shares everything, there are bound to be some problems along the way. Successful couples notice them, discuss them, and find compromise that makes both sides better. Unsuccessful couples don’t. Our marriages require us to be intentional and thoughtful. And that rarely happens when the television is on.
  18. Watch less television. Inherent in each of these reasons above is the reality that removing the television from your bedroom means that you will watch less television. And there are all sorts of good reasons for that: 11 Reasons to Ditch Your Television, 10 Reasons to Watch Less Television, 4 Simple Reasons to Sell Your TV.
  19. If words on a page aren’t quite enough for you or your partner, commit to try it out as a 30 day experimentation. Unplugging the television and moving it into a different room will take less than 3 minutes. There is an end in sight. You’ve got nothing to lose. And maybe, just maybe, a whole lot to gain.

    Again, I’m not saying you have to remove the television from your bedroom… I’m just saying your life will be better if you do.

    Source: Becoming Minimalist

I could not have come up with a better list myself, unless of course you add:

19.  Get More Exercise

20.  Create More Time to Volunteer

I haven’t watched television for almost 7 years.  The only thing I used it for was to play DVD movies. I finally gave away my last television set 2-1/2 years ago.  My life is so much more enriched by the conversations I have with the people I meet and love. I don’t suffer from the loss and I’ve actually grown smarter because I get my information from the internet, instantly.  My news comes from the source ~ the people who are actually involved or living where the news is being made.  It’s not spoonfed to me by “filtered” media or something I now refer to as “FauxNews” that exists only to elevate people’s blood pressure and cause them to lose brain cells ~ or rather, prevent human brain cells from growing and creating synaptic unions the way a book or conversation stimulates the mind.

Television is a babysitter for most; for the young and the old.  It’s a “distraction” that keeps us from talking with our spouse, our children, our family members, our neighbors, and our friends.  It allows us to “disconnect” or “detach” from reality.  It creates a fantasy environment that quickly replaces the real world around us.  And if “reality television” is a true representation of what Americans are really like, I consider myself lucky to be living a life of happiness and fulfillment unlike those “people” in reality television shows who are actors and actresses and are paid to behave badly or over-dramatize everything being filmed ~ cheaters, liars, losers, shop-a-holics, bullies, and divas.

Looking at the list above, I think the following are especially important:

  • No. 2 “What you think about last matters
  • No. 3 “What you think about first matters
  • No. 10 “Rooms serve a purpose
  • No. 16 “Your attention is far too valuable” and probably the most important, besides how television affects your children, is
  • No. 17 Television is “Masking problems in your marriage” or relationship

Try the 30-day challenge. Start with your bedroom and children’s bedrooms first.

I had FIVE television sets 7 years ago.  For me, it took 6 months to get over my television addiction.  I’m not going to lie to you and say it was easy. It wasn’t.  I still have a hard time avoiding television when I’m visiting a friend or when I’m waiting for a plane at an airport. Televisions are everywhere. I just don’t have one in my home.  It’s a stranger I’d rather keep away from me.  I am the one in control, not the remote or the person spewing mostly lies from that little black box.  I feel stronger and more empowered. You will too. Just try it. #KillYourTV