Morgan and I gave up television about 20 years ago. Didn't much miss it, either. But when I was pregnant with the twins, we realized we'd pretty much never get out to the movies again, so we bought a TV and a DVD player. Netflix wasn't far behind, and we've lived with this arrangement for the past 6 years.
Well, earlier this year when you could get a partial payment for one of those digital converter boxes, we applied even though we don't watch broadcast television. "Just in case", we reasoned. I bought the box back in April, and maybe a month ago, we finally hooked it up. Without an antenna, it didn't change anything. Still no channels, so we were still in DVD land. This lasted about a week, at which point we bought an antenna. We now get about 8 or so channels - all the networks plus several versions of PBS.
Ah, PBS. Back in the day, this meant Sesame Street and Nova. They now have 4 separate channels that show a wide range of programs. And I must say the children's shows are actually quite good (well, the ones we've been watching, anyway).
But here's the rub. I've always thought we did pretty well when it came to screen time for the kids. They maybe watched an average of about an hour a day, with many days TV free. Now they have a list of shows they enjoy on PBS. Aside from the educational value, I find myself enjoying the calming effect it has on the boys. If the TV were off, they'd be racing around the house or fighting or something. I know that TV is like a drug and can make you kind of lethargic (from personal experience). My kids spend pretty much their entire school day running around outside, so they aren't lacking in physical activity. Is it so bad that I'm letting them watch this much television? I sure feel like a terrible parent for enjoying the peace it brings.
And of course now they're asking why we don't get some of the cable channels they've seen at school. God, that's all I need - more channels with nothing to watch!