This is a guest blogging post by Julie Ali.
Unlike socially unacceptable addictions such as smoking nicotine, television viewing is seen as being relatively innocuous in nature. Most parents will plop their children in front of a television screen unaware of the fatal consequences of this act. I, myself, considered the telly to be educational at best, and a great free babysitter, at worst. This state of happy coexistence lasted until about 5 years ago, when I threw out the television and committed the whole family to a telly free treatment program.
Initially, the children and the hubby were not pleased. They were negatively addicted to the idiot box and considered that I was punishing them for being male. My brother and his family were aghast at this rebellion and wondered how the children were going to survive and prosper. Several pitying comments from other relatives and friends followed but I was obdurate and persistent: the television was a drug and we would not be pushing it anymore.
5 years later, the children (and the hubby) have survived the trauma of television lumpectomy and although, they tenderly massage the scar from the surgery in their memories – they have made peace with the surgeon. It has even been a growing experience for them. They have had to find other ways to fill in the holes in their day. They have had to play, write, draw, surf the Internet and even, horror of horrors – to read books. They have had time to visit friends, bike, swim in a swimming club on an almost daily basis, go to playgrounds, search for bug matter in the backyard, visit their grandparents, study and be bored.
An added bonus, is that we are not greeted with a chorus of “I want that, I really, really want that” for every new toy, movie and gadget that is advertised on the telly. Coupled with a refusal to take the children shopping (unless it is for their September clothes and shoes), the excision of the tumor of the television has saved us piles of money. Try it in your home. Don’t try to wean yourself off the telly – just throw it out. And while you are doing this surgery, throw out the Gameboy as well (and let me know how you do it – that is the next drug on my agenda).
Julie Ali loves to write and is a stay at home mom of two elementary school boys.