Thursday, 10 March 2011

What, no TV?!

Last Sunday, we gave a pancake party for the congregation of our church, and the 10:30 club (that's my little children's group) were there in force.  They arrived, looked around for a bit, went off to the sitting room where I had left some games and so on for them, and sent a spokesperson within about two minutes with the question:

"Whereabouts is your TV?"

"We don't have one" I replied, and enjoyed the resulting expression on the boy's face.

Now, this was a little bit of a lie.  In fact we do have not one, but two televisions.  One of them is situated in the room we call the 'snug', which also contains either a sofa or a large pile of washing, depending on how organised we've been recently.  That television is not connected to an aerial, however, mainly because it didn't work when we tried, and so it's purely for DVD/VHS watching.  The other television is in our bedroom.  It's a teeny one that receives four fuzzy channels, but a friend lent it to us when Abigail was going through a phase of very early waking and it proved to be a Godsend that bought us a few extra minutes of sleep while Pingu was on.  We don't use it quite so often now.

We chose not to have a television downstairs when we moved, mainly because of our experience of having one in the sitting room of our previous house.  The thing consumed activity, time and conversation like a voracious beast.  The main problem was, in a tiny house such as it was, that it was far too easy to leave the TV on in the background all the time.  You could hear it from the kitchen.  You only had to think "I'll just see what's on to liven up the ironing" and suddenly, it was three hours later and you'd channel-flicked your way through the morning, doing all the chores at half speed with one eye on the screen watching something that wasn't even remotely interesting.

These days, if we want to watch something, we use the internet.  It's impossible to flick the channel and 'just see' what else is on when the programme ends, and we can get back to our lives instead.

I'm very tempted to get rid of even our little TV as Abigail gets older.  On the other hand, I grew up not watching television and ended up in a sort of contemporary cultural vacuum, which came to a head when The Rev nearly threw the Articulate board at me for not knowing who Arnold Schwarzenegger was.  I don't want Abigail's future husband lobbing board games around, so perhaps the television should stay.

Or perhaps the solution is to watch children's television on the internet too, in which case I can be very pick-and-choosy.  Something Special is in.  Pingu: in.  Pokoyo: in.  Waybuloo: out.  Definitely way out.  And the jury is still out on In The Night Garden.  I can stomach most of it, but I just can't stand knowing that it's narrated by the wonderful Derek Jacobi, Shakesperean actor and forever Cadfael in my heart, who just should not ever be made to say something like, "But Tombly-boo Oo, that's Tombly-boo Un's pinky-ponk juice!"


B said...

I'm with you all the way on this! Except perhaps children's TV on the internet...

Cbeebies on the internet *was* great when we had no other options-- but The Four Year Old is now motivated to learn to read in order to play back his Octonauts, RastaMouse, and Chugginton, and will even put on The Three Year Old's Peppa Pig if she's nice to him. I let him use the digital recordings, but I'm not sure I'd let him loose on iplayer yet...

Enola said...

I love not having a TV, too. I was going to do a post about this on Fourmums, actually, as it's rather an unusual thing apparently. We don't even have one for DVDs and I'm not entirely sure where one would go. One great conversation with the youth from my old church was centered around 'but if you HAD a TV, where would it live?' and my only argument, frustratingly for them, was 'but we never WOULD have a TV!' Hahaha x

Jenn said...

*mummy guilt alert* We have a tv. It's big. It's for dvds and the wii, and to keep the children occupied while I cook/clean/slob. Basic rule is no tv when daddy is home as that is family time. told my hv that the tv was always on and that I knew this was bad and I'd work on it and she said "at least it isn't on Jeremy Kyle - and besides S is clearly thriving. Don't worry about it." So I'm working on it!

Anonymous said...

We don't have a TV apart from a computer monitor which we watch DVDs on and which may or may not be able to work as a TV, never tried.

However, I fear the internet plays the same role for us as TV did for you in your old house :(