During my teen years I rarely experienced this TV dilemma because we had FOUR TV sets in my house. If my mom, brother, sister and/or I didn’t want to watch something together, we simply split up and each watched their own thing on separate TVs. We rarely watched TV together.
Now that I have my own kids I realize that having more than one OFFICIAL family TV set (with the exception of one for married couples) is a big mistake. Here’s are a couple of compelling reasons why I think families should stick to my One TV Set Trick for family unity:
– Multiplet TV sets prevent your kids from learning how to compromise. Life is full of people having to compromise and nothing helps build this technique better than TV viewing. Besides, now we have DVRs.
– It conditions your family to not share in many positive experiences. Our society watches so much TV that the time spent watching adds up. TV watching can be edifying for families when they share and discuss those experiences. I still fondly remember the many times – some willingly and some not – that I would watch “Sanford & Son” or even the “Lawrence Welk Show” with my grandma Margarita.
– It opens the door to unhealthy TV habits. It’s harder to monitor what your kids are watching if you are not seeing the same thing in the open area of a family room.
– It costs more money to have multiple TVs. More TV sets mean more purchase and maintenance costs, more electricity usage and more cable TV costs.
The truth is that there are days I wish we had more TV sets in the house. There are days when it would be exceedingly convenient to take my two and six-year-old daughters and stick them in a room with a little TV set so that they can watch all the Dora the Explorer they want. It would be easy to get Jonathan to play his Madden football video game in the distant silence of his room. Trust me, these are interesting thoughts that I too have thought about.
At the end, though, nothing replaces the fact that having multiple TV sets in our home is not good for the family. How does that 1950’s saying go? “The Family that Watches Only One TV together Stays Together.”