Plugged In!!! Flirting with a media fast

I have been mulling over this idea about eliminating or reducing the amount of media that we have in our house/life. The idea grows stronger every time I hear about an event or days dedicated to limiting dependence on media.

I know a couple of people who either do not have a TV or who at least do not have a TV in their family room and limit the amount of time the TV is on. This is an interesting concept to me. I remember hardly ever watching TV or movies as a child, I was always outside. In college I never had time to turn on the tube. Looking back these were probably some of my happiest times as well. Today my time spent with media is a different story. Below is a picture of our current family room.

The TV is pretty much front and center. The furniture layout is made for easy TV viewing, and anyone can tell it is the main function of the room – being transfixed on the TV. We watch a good amount of TV at our house. We have a DVR, it is barely capable of recording all of our TV shows (the nerve of Direct TV to limit recordings to only 50 TV shows).

Our media obsession does not merely end with the TV; it expands to movies, media packages on our phones, and, of course, the computer. We probably average seeing about 4-5 movies a month. That’s right people. I said 4-5. Thanks to websites like this and this, the majority of these movies are free (Score!), but it still means that we spend 8 to 10 hours a month just watching movies. And the soda and popcorn are definitely not free.

In addition to this we also subscribe to Netflix. Although, to be fair we do keep threatening that we are going to cancel. We’ve been threatening for a good number of months but for some reason we just never make that call.

And as mentioned above, we pay the $30 bucks a month per person for each of us to have data packages on our phones through Verizon. I use this on a daily basis, checking my emails, checking Facebook, looking up movie times, or using GPS Navigation. I also spend time on the computer at work (lunch hour only please) or at home looking up decorating blogs or being sucked into Pinterest for hours. Jeff prefers to use his time on the computer searching out new music and bands, and playing war themed games.

We are seriously plugged in with all this media! Everyday. All day. It not only takes up a healthy dose of our time, but obviously, it takes up our money as well. So how do we end the cycle? How do we free ourselves from this never ending barrage of media?
Pic found here

One method of cleansing from media’s clutches if the growing popular media fast. I first started to hear about these in the news and on blogs a year or two ago. Apartment Therapy will hold media fasts every once in a while. I would like to try and participate but often get cold feet. I’m afraid of failure, even if I’m the only one who knows I’ve failed at something.

Another one of my biggest challenges is this guy.

He really likes all things media. So much so that I try to get him to start his own blog reviewing movies, TV shows, and music. I figure he spends so much time with it that he might as well try and turn it into something useful, or a creative outlet. But it stays more of hobby. Hmmm, can watching TV be called a hobby? Not sure. But if it can, this is probably his biggest hobby. I’ve brought up the idea of fasting from media for a week or so, but this usually ends with Jeff twitching nervously and wondering how serious I really am and how to talk me out of it.

I think we’ve decided that a week of media fasting probably won’t due for him. But we have compromised to doing a media fast for a day (which does not include music). The boy must have his tunes. And to be honest, I really enjoy music in our house too. It is pretty much always playing in the background at our house. Then once we compromise with a day instead of a week, I’ll say something like I’d like to have a day a month that we just unplug. He says a day a year or every 6 months will do him fine. So again we are at a stand still. (His main argument is that he has to be able to watch his sports. Men?)

Plus, doing a media fast every once in a while is a fine idea, but is it really getting to the root of the problem? And am I even sure this is a problem, and if it is, how big is it? I always could try and implement a house rule that the TV stays off until 8:00 pm every day, or something like that, but again I’m not really sure how far to take this.

Any who, these are my thoughts about media lately. I am not sure how much of a role I want it to play in my life, and am not sure about what actions to take. Anyone out there have their own set of rules for media in their lives? If so please share!


Jacob and Emily said...

Since you asked . . . we don't subscribe to cable or dish. That's not to say we would if Jake wasn't in school. We just found out better grades results from lack of channels available! We used to sit and veg in front of the tube for hours. Yes I would consider it a hobby. We still have Netfilx, internet, and media only on Jake's phones.

I would suggest you cut one. Like ditch Netflix. If you don't use it enough to get your money worth get rid of it. Same with popcorn, soda, and renting movies. Take that money and save it for tickets to a live sporting event.

If you fill your day with projects you'll never miss the tv. I could probably go on and on. So try that first.

Amber said...

I really like the idea of using the saved funds for a live sporting event! With a reward like that I think I could get Jeff on board to skip the treats at the movies and maybe one day succeed with cuting the cable.

I'd like to cut the cable and just use our wifi to watch shows on our TV, but that is being a hard sell right now.

Great idea!

Emily, Joel and kids said...

We too didn't have cable or dish while I was in school. I basically didn't watch tv for 4 years while I was finishing school and I really didn't miss it. Now that I am graduated, we have DirectTV and tivo, but I only record 1 show. The rest is Joel's car auctions. I still don't watch much tv. We have netflix too, and my kids watch it a lot. I love that they can watch the old cartoons that I watched as a kid, but we have a rule that if it is a nice day, Joel stays outside with the kids. They are not allowed inside when the weather is good. He plays outside with them until dark. I know I could not live without the internet though cause I use it so much for work and finances. I have the package on my phone, but Joel does not.