Posted by: Tim | June 26, 2010

Bye Bye Cable

We canceled our cable (actually satellite) TV last month. It took about  3 or 4 calls to the company (that will remain unnamed) to finally get it canceled, and they even offered a 40% discount for a year to stay on. I was tempted, but said no.

I don’t miss it, since I hardly watched it anyways. Here are some reasons why we canceled it:

1) Carol and I used to watch the news, but it got boring, and the internet is just so much quicker, and I can get the news I want, not whatever the editorial team at the network thinks I need to know.

2) I don’t enjoy most of the shows and I rarely watched it (OK I did like Top Tens and a few other shows  on the military channel!).

3) I have to watch with my guard up, as I can’t count on hardly anything to be clean viewing. The shows I have watched in the past always seemed to work against personal holiness, most often through constant sexual humour and innuendo, adultery, women consistently dressed seductively, etc… I don’t want that stuff in my life, and I definitely don’t want to pay to have it.

4) I don’t have time. I do a lot of reading, and television requires sitting down for a long time and watching shows (and mindless commercials too) that make so little difference to my life. I’d rather read things that are useful to me.

5) It costs $50 a month, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is money I would rather have left over in our pockets at the end of the month.

The kids took it well – they have lots of DVD’s, videos, a Wii and the computer, so it’s not like they are short on things to watch/do! They seem to be spending more time just playing together as well.

Do you have cable? Have you thought of dropping it? Have you dropped it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Responses

  1. I can definitely see the benefits in those reasons, I don’t know if I’ll be cancelling my cable anytime soon, but lately i have been more careful in the programs I watch, in order to avoid seeing something sinful though as you stated a lot of programs have inappropriate things and messages.

  2. Thanks Ben for visiting my blog and leaving a couple comments.

  3. Nope, we don’t have cable. Not even pheasant vision.

    Why?

    For money…no, not really. We paid less than 30 dollars a month. (though I can’t say we weren’t happy to have one less bill 😉 )

    We got rid of cable for a few reasons:

    I had read that it really steals your children’s imagination and aids in short attention spans due to the high visual simulation. Having three young children, this was a concern to us.

    We watched too many shows that the children couldn’t watch and we found that we were slave to the TV guide. “Kids, you can’t be in here right now. This show isn’t for kids.” “Oh no!!! Show A is on at 9 and so is show B!!! What to do??? Phew, show A is on again at 10pm….an entertainment dissaster averted!!”

    We evaluated what we were watching and started asking some hard questions like “At what age is it appropriate to watch this content? When will we be ok with our kids watching this?” When we couldn’t feel comfortable with the thoughts of them watching certain thematic shows at even 18 we really had to question why we were watching them. What kind of example were we setting? Plus what kind of a family life is it if you are segregated by a TV??

    We felt over all there was just way too much offered on TV that wasn’t appropriate and it was stealing away family time. Even if a particular show seemed ok we would often be shocked with commercials. Our brains don’t filter…it ALL goes in!!!

    Basically we felt convicted to cut the cable and we did. We worried that we’d go through some withdrawl, plus our favourite programs weren’t even over for the season!!!

    Did we struggle, miss it, ask friends what happened on our shows?

    Honestly, nope. Not one bit!! TV time is like money….you will spend it on one thing or another.

    We currently have 3 TVS, two DVD players and two VHS players. We do watch movies but we pick them with care (some we get from Feature Films for Families as they have some great safe movies for all ages) we also do our best to precheck a movie before we watch it (check out http://www.pluggedin.com for content breakdown). And we are quick to pull an inappropriate movie….how better to model to your children that you don’t have to put up with junk? They have seen us throw out VHS and DVD’s before. What a great message to send them!!

    We kicked the habit 7 plus years ago. We won’t say it was an easy decision to make but we will say it was the best decision 😉

    (to think I found this site while searching for the email for the Three Hills Capital!! Sorry for the looong comment…bet you won’t be quick to ask for comments again…at least not from anyone named Trish 😉 )

  4. Hey Trish,

    Thanks for dropping by the blog and leaving a good long comment! I use pluggedin.com sometimes, and also use http://www.dove.org for family movie reviews.

    I know what you mean about the commercials. Even if you happen to find a show that is relatively watchable, the commercials can still be brutal.

    All the best and happy cable-free family time to you and your gang! (and I hope you found the Capital – they now have a website– http://www.threehillscapital.com/)

    Tim

  5. I have been cruising around your blog for the past hour. I feel like I have been recharging. LOL We just, as in 2 hours ago finished a “Weekend in the Word” for our local church. Thanks for taking the time to review books and post about some of the good conferences and programs you have used.

    My Dad threw the TV out when i was 5 as we were setting the dinner hour around when we could “make the time” to eat it. I have always been glad for his stand. Even more now that I have kids.

    I am a missionary with The Masters Mission out of North Carolina. We have been in Kenya since 1996. We always notice how TV has changed after several years in the bush. First it was Survivor that you had to be watching, then it was 24, then American Idol.

    We noticed how we were desensitized after the year at home. Things that offended us on our first glance, were now common place. For me personally, I want all the help I can get to stay focused and the TV doesn’t help.

    So far my kids are happy to not have it, but to be able to watch a DVD every now and then. We find that after you are out of the routine, it is not very interesting to watch some of the shows, but that they rapidly become addicting as you watch week after week.

    I love to read and my kids are developing the desire as well. My middle daughter is now trying to read one good book for every one “fun” book. She is faithful in it, but laughs that the good books aren’t as fun and the bad books. She has read A. W. Tozer on Heaven, and “That incredible Christian”, 12 Extra Ordinary Women by John MacArthur, and The God of the Bible by R. A. Torri, along with others since Feburary. This benefit alone would encourage me to keep on with the route we have chosen. Christy turned 13 on the 1st of August. It is exciting to see each child develop. Tanya my oldest is starting to read some of Elisabeth Elliot’s books, but is hiding it as she doesn’t read as many and Christy and hates to be compared. I of course will not let her know that I have noticed and keep praying that she continues to grow.

    Now with an mp3 player, we can read or listening almost anywhere we are. We now listen to read aloud in the truck while traveling, and can also listen to different sermons. We laugh about it as we enjoy some more then others, but all of it is good for us as a family. I also have recently gotten much improved internet access and have enjoyed the ability to download sermons and to read blogs.

    We have purchased many of the DVD series of the old TV shows for our kids. Hogans Heros is a favorite as is The Andy Griffith Show. It has been much better than the local TV for us. We still find places to talk about world view. (We do rent and buy some videos as well like “Remember the Titans” and the Disney Cartoons.

    Anyway, thanks for the Blog. I appreciate the time it took you.

    With Love in the Lord,

    Jon

  6. Hey Jon,

    Thanks for taking the time to add a comment about your experience with no TV in your family. Great to hear that your daughters are reading some good books. Elisabeth Elliot is a grad of Prairie Bible College here in Three Hills, and I occasionally find my way to the prayer chapel on campus named after her.

    Blessings!
    Tim

  7. I cancelled cable 1 year ago and never looked back. It’s far easier to just download whatever I want from bit torrets for free :). Free too aside from bandwidth costs.

  8. Sounds like your reasons were a bit different than mine!

    Why not just buy them on itunes?

    Then you could avoid the ethical dilemma that, (reading very deeply between the lines of your post), is wreaking havoc with your soul!

  9. When we moved to Three Hills, we decided to not even bring along our TV, so we sold it for $25 at a yard sale.

    If our kids want to watch a movie, we have my laptop and a portable DVD player. If Lynn and I want to watch a show, we can buy just about any show from iTunes, or stream it from a website.

    What I’ve found is that once the kids got used to having no TV in the house, they don’t even think about it much anymore. They spend a ton of time playing and being creative, and they seem to have more interest in trying new things.

    There are so many shows that we used to watch that had a negative impact on our lives. I find myself thinking more about how to be a blessing to others and reading good books, and less time wondering what the next episode of my favorite show will be about.

    I still enjoy sitting with Lynn and watching a show on my laptop, but it happens less often and isn’t as high of a priority on our list of things we can do together.

    There are so many more things we can do with our time that TV used to take up, and I think we are better off as a result. I don’t think TV is evil, and I will really miss it once the NHL season gets started, but overall, I think not having TV is an excellent choice to make. Will we ever have a TV in our house again? Maybe, but right now it’s kind of nice having the extra space in our house and in our lives!

  10. Thanks William for writing about what your family is doing without at TV. I know what you mean about the kids doing more creative things together – We’ve noticed it with our kids too – it’s great to see the way they interact together.

    I find that they still have lots of DVD’s and they go on the computer still, so it’s not like they aren’t getting enough media in their lives.


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