That’s the question I ask in my current Living With Less column over at MSN Money. “Can your life be richer without TV?” refers to wealth both actual and abstract.
Non-watchers told me they save money (sometimes a lot of money) on cable costs and tend to spend less (sometimes a lot less) because they and their kids aren’t bombarded with ads and product placement. They find their lives are richer in other ways, too.
And they get more sleep.
Seriously: The folks I interviewed who are TV-free or nearly so (yay, Netflix and Hulu.com!) get a ton of things done. They cook great meals, volunteer, join boards, play games with their kids, mentor youths, exercise, clean their houses, read a lot — and yet they still get eight hours of shuteye.
(None of them admitted to blogging, though.)
Understand: I’m not anti-TV. I’m just anti-most-TV. There’s so much junk out there that I fear for our future as a species. Example: In a world where so many people are hungry (and so many Americans are unhealthy), why are we cheering for a guy as he eats four pounds of pancakes or five pounds of beefsteak?
Yes, I do find enjoyable things to watch when I’m visiting my friend in Anchorage or my daughter in Phoenix. But once I’m home I don’t rush to the library to borrow every season of “Dirty Jobs.” Other things have replaced TV in my life. The last time I owned a television was March 2004.
Please note: I am neither judging you nor feeling morally superior because I don’t know who’s on “American Idol.” (In fact, I’m not even sure that show is still on. Is it?) I’m simply suggesting that a lot of us — especially our kids — could do with less tube time.
Please go read the article and leave a comment either here or there. (Or both.) I’d be interested in feedback. Specifically:
- Do you watch less or more than in the past?
- Do you have cable or the high-tech version of rabbit ears?
- If you have children, do you limit their TV time?
- Have you ever discussed going TV-free with your partner/kids and if so, was the reaction extremely loud?
- What’s your secret guilty TV pleasure? I’ll start: This summer while up in Anchorage I watched all of “Torchwood” with my hostess.