Back in December, Amanda and I decided to turn our TV satellite service off. It saved us some money each month and it prevented me from watching it too much! And because we live in a fairly remote area of the country, unless we have a rooftop antenna, we are not able to get even over-the-air TV. So we don’t have anything!
It’s been a good and unsettling 7 months with no incoming video feed into our home. Good in the sense that it has really enhanced our family life and has directed more of our attention toward the girls. Unsettling in the sense that we are weird. We didn’t do it for this reason, but it has been a little counter-cultural to not have TV. People, mostly guys, look at me weird. They tell me not to tell their wives because they’re worried they’ll be inspired!
I thought about this yesterday. We just arrived in Spokane, WA for a couple of weeks of vacation while we attend Amanda’s brother’s wedding. Sari loves the show “Dora the Explorer.” Her Nana and Papa recorded some of these on their DVR so Sari could watch them on demand. They fired one up for her and she settled in to watch her favorite show. About 8 minutes into the episode, while the rest of us were downstairs, Sari starts screaming: “My shows OFF! My shows OFF!” Maybe she hit the wrong button on the remote. Maybe the DVR only recorded part of the show and not the whole thing. No. It was a commercial! Can you believe it?! A commercial interrupted Sari’s TV show!
We had a good laugh, but then I started to think about that. Because we don’t have a TV feed coming into our home we are semi-immune to advertisers and the endless stream of commercials that implicitly influence us. Now there are other ways in our culture that we are influenced by companies and advertisers, but I was thinking specifically about our kids. They are not inundated by a constant barrage of products and services directed at them. I wonder what our 7 month fast from satellite TV has prevented… I wonder how this break has influenced them…
It’s definitely changed Sari’s expectation of a “Dora” watching experience!