Etiquette School is in session! > "What an interesting assumption."

Is this a case for 'the line'?

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bms2000:
Trying to find a good response (both in person and online) to the following situation.

Background: We don't currently own a TV. No cable. DH and I sometimes watch PBS at night by using a tuner attached to the computer monitor. Kids are allowed 1 DVD per week, after church on Sundays, provided chores are done and church behavior was acceptable. Exceptions are made for people home sick or extended bouts of bad weather. But no commercial TV at all (pretty much for any of us).

So I have had many conversations that go like this:

Other person: Did you see show x?
Me: No, we don't really watch TV
Other person: How are your kids with that?
Me: Fine, because they never really have watched TV

In many cases (particularly on line, but sometimes in person as well) Other Person then decides that I am being a snob, that I am making a comment on their parenting, that I am being judgemental, that my children will be too sheltered, that they will 'go crazy' in high school from being so restricted, etc. etc. etc. "What an Interesting Assumption" seems a perfect response.

What I don't understand is: why the reaction? I mean if I say "We don't ski" or even "We're not big football fans" people take it in stride. But for some reason the statement "We don't watch TV" is akin to saying "We are cannibalistic satan worshippers who are trying to lure you into their cult". Very wierd.

MyFamily:
Because of the studies out there that say too much tv leads to X (there are so many and it is hard to believe which ones are accurate and which ones aren't).  So, by admitting we (and I don't have one either) don't have a tv, it is as if we are telling the parents who are insecure about their decision to let their children watch tv that they are wrong because of whatever study was recently released about litmiting tv viewing.  Which is silly.  We don't have a tv because of our parenting decisions, you don't have a tv because of your parenting decisions, and they do have a tv because of their parenting decisions.  It just comes down to insecurity. 

bms2000:

--- Quote from: MyFamily on October 29, 2007, 01:37:29 PM ---Because of the studies out there that say too much tv leads to X (there are so many and it is hard to believe which ones are accurate and which ones aren't).  So, by admitting we (and I don't have one either) don't have a tv, it is as if we are telling the parents who are insecure about their decision to let their children watch tv that they are wrong because of whatever study was recently released about litmiting tv viewing.  Which is silly.  We don't have a tv because of our parenting decisions, you don't have a tv because of your parenting decisions, and they do have a tv because of their parenting decisions.  It just comes down to insecurity. 

--- End quote ---

Part of what scares me about a lot of TV is the power it seems to have over otherwise rational adults. If I bought only organic food, or dressed my kid only in cotton clothing, or breastfed them until they were 10, I would get less grief heaped on me.

I could even understand the reaction if I was saying "We read the studies that show that kids who watch TV grow up to be drug using murderers with ADD and 5 children by the age of 17..." and so on. But I literally say nothing more than "We don't watch TV" and give the reason "It's just not a part of our lifestyle" and watch the arrows fly.  Very, very odd. I can't think of anything, perhaps with the exception of politics, that gets such a strong reaction (either positive or negative) from people as the media.

Flora Louise:
Have you read the book "Entertaining Ourselves to Death"?  Take it out of the library and give it a quick read through. You'll feel better about your decision.

bms2000:
I tend to love books like that  ;D
And I definitely feel fine with the decision. It was not even particularly conscious. The TV broke, and we decided that since we only turned it on about once a week, if that, that there was no reason to get a new one. We actually at one point had two TVs, both of which were seriously dusty, neither of which we had paid for (moving friends had given them to us). We ditched one to put in more bookshelves and stuck the other one in a closet so it didn't take up space in the living room.

Glad to know there are other TV free freaks out there! Come on over some time - we'll play scrabble  ;)

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