Could you live without TV for a week?

children-watching-tv-leads-to-obesityThis week I came across Screen Free Week which is a campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. It runs from 18th – 24th April 2011.

It’s the only organisation devoted solely to stopping the commercial exploitation of children.

I’d never really thought of TV in such emotive terms, but then I wouldn’t because we don’t have one. I have to admit, when I stop and think about it, being without a TV is probably one of the things I’m proudest of with our natural parenting lifestyle.

I thought we might manage a couple of years, and that would have been great, but we’ve now been without a TV for 11 years and Little Miss green has never had one in the house. I’m thrilled that when she visits friends who want to watch it, she’s ‘bored’ after a while.

Recently she has begun to watch a few things on ‘catch up’ on the computer and I wondered if she might become addicted, but she hasn’t at all. She watches half an hour and then runs outside to play. However, we bought LMG an ipod for Christmas, and that’s a post for another time 😉

Screen free week is a celebration where children, families, schools and communities spend 7 days turning off entertainment screen media and turning on life.

The idea behind it is to get children and families back into the rhythms of nature. Apparently the average preschooler clocks up 32 hours a week of screen time! Excessive screen time is linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity and attention problems. Plus, through TV children are exposed to a lot of aggressive marketing which makes them unsatisfied with their lives.

If you need any inspiration for what to do, then check out my “how to get kids outdoors‘ post for ideas on gardening, nature walks and play. If it’s indoor weather, then why not get out the board games and spend some quality family time together?

Could you go for a week without screen entertainment? Is it time to switch off the TV?


  1. Zoie @ Touchstonez on April 20, 2011 at 4:27 am

    I could live without a tv period. My husband doesn’t want to. So, it’s a compromise. I watch very few shows on the dvr when I have time or I watch a dvd. My husband watches several hours of tv at night. My kids have two PBS shows recorded on the dvr (dinosaur train and between the lions) or they watch dvds. So they don’t get advertised to directly, but they do watch 2 hours (at most) a day. While most of it is educational, I’d prefer zero screen time for them, at least until my youngest is older.

    I negotiated 2 days without any screentime this week in honor of Earth Day. The entire family is giving it up. My husband is also considering a compromise in the future to have one screen-free evening at home per week (screen-free means no computer, phones or tv. We can still listen to an audio book)

  2. tartankiwi on April 20, 2011 at 4:41 am

    I could live without the TV, but not without my computer!
    Our 2 year old doesn’t get much exposure to the tv as it is in a room that she is rarely in. That said, I must admit that she has a few favourite you-tube clips that have been watched many many times. We are keen to bring our children up to not be glued to the TV, we’ll see how we get on!

  3. Working London mummy on April 20, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Great post. We don’t really watch much tv and my daughter still not seen any. I sometimes let her watch a short cartoon on my laptop but that is it. So many better things todo at such a young age!

  4. Preseli Mags on April 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

    No, not even for a week! I couldn’t live without my TV – I love films and box sets of DVDs, live sport and news. My first memory is watching Neil Armstrong walking on the moon – a little scratchy black and white picture – on TV.

    But I don’t watch rubbish or anything during the day (I’ll make an exception for the Royal wedding!). I would also have it purely so I can watch Monty Don on Gardener’s World every Friday too.

    My kids love CBBC and programmes like Blue Peter, Shaun the Sheep, River Cottage and Coast (and GW). I find they are inspired by it rather than mesmerised by it (except when they are ill and we’re having a movies and duvet day). I police what they watch though.

  5. Jennifer on April 21, 2011 at 4:40 am

    No TV, no problem. No internet…that’s a whole different story! We never converted the TV when American switched to digital, so we can only watch DVDs on it. Frankly, I don’t think we’re missing a whole lot.

    I know I do have far too much screen time with my computer, though, and that’s not necessarily much better. I’m going to try to see if it can boost my productivity and reduce the amount of time I spend online.

  6. Jen on April 22, 2011 at 2:01 am

    We went a week without turning the TV on 3 years ago. It was a great week of lots of walks, long talks, board games and reading. It was awesome!

  7. Mrs Green on April 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

    @Zoie @ Touchstonez: Sounds like you have some fab compromises going on with screens – enjoy your 2 days screen free and let me know how you get on!
    @tartankiwi: I agree about the computer and my DD has a couple of favourite you tube clips too – I think it’s all about balance.
    @Preseli Mags: Sounds like TV brings you and your family a lot of pleasure Mags 🙂
    @Working London mummy: Indeed – there’s a whole world to explore!
    @Jen: Thanks for sharing your link; sounds like you had a lovely time!

  8. Reut on April 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

    We don’t have a T.V at home and I can truly say that it’s working great for us. From time to time my son is watching short videos on the laptop and it’s enough for him and for us..

  9. Mrs Green on April 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

    @Reut: Sounds similar to us, Reut – glad it works for you too!

  10. April H on April 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I wish we didn’t have a TV! I never had one until my husband and I moved in together. He gets to have a TV, but I put my foot down about having one in the bedroom!
    My daughter gets a max of one hour of tv a day, but she’s usually playing during that time, it’s just background.

  11. Mrs Green on April 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

    @April H: Sounds like you’ve put some good compromises in place April; sounds like your DD is a natural as zoning out the TV drivel!