"If you read a lot of books, you're considered well-read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well-viewed. "*
The t.v. topic has come up a couple of times recently on various forums of which I am a member. We watch a fair amount of television here, far less than we used to, but still more than many families. I'm not always thrilled with the t.v. being on, but I don't think we'd be any happier avoiding it more than we do now. I also don't think that watching t.v. is inherently evil. We still read many books, and do things outside and with others. Here's a breakdown of the viewing in our house.
The girls generally watch two hours a day during the week (a movie and maybe a 3o minute show afterward), while I read or do other school things with Robotson.
Robotson gets to choose what screen time he wants from 7 to 10:30pm. Most days he's using GarageBand on the laptop, so he watches very little t.v. overall.
During the week, if I am feeling particularly tired after a long day, I'll stream something from Netflix after the kids are in bed.
Weekend evenings, the kids watch movies while B and I watch movies or t.v. series that are not for children.
On Sunday, B and I watch sports: tennis, football, hockey. There seems to always be some game on, but when there isn't, the t.v. is off.
Some of that is about to change when B begins his new work schedule. He'll be working the weekends, so the t.v. will be on less. I probably won't watch any sports by myself. B's new off days are Tuesday through Thursday. The girls screen time should go down, because there will now be an adult to spend time with them. But we'll probably watch more in the evenings. Time will tell.
There are a few things I do think we get right. I am very careful about what shows make it into the house. Every once in a while they get a movie I would not normally buy. I usually go through their collection once a year and weed out the riffraff. I am also aware of what they see on PBS, the only local station they watch. I'm alright with Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, Super Why!, and Word Girl. Most everything else I turn off or only let them watch the one episode. They don't get exposed to programs that aren't appropriate. While B and I watch crime shows, or violent/dark humor movies; we don't let the kids see them. We are also upfront and honest about it. Robotson has asked several times if he is old enough to watch Robot Chicken (it has the word robot in it after all), but we've explained that he wouldn't understand the humor and it might upset him. When he's older, he'll have a chance to view the series if he wants.
I also don't think that if you let kids watch a lot of t.v while they are young, it will be hard to break them of the habit when they are older. Robotson used to watch much more than he does now. B also had an addiction to the boob tube, but he's much better now (his choice by the way). So while the girls spend a lot of time in front of the t.v. right now, I think things are about to change for the better.
*When I went looking for a quotation related to television, 99% of them were negative. Wow. There is value to t.v. You just have to look for it.