10 Reasons Why We Do Not Own a Television

Yes, we do not have a TV in our house, and yes it is on purpose. People are always shocked when they learn that we don’t have a TV in our house. Multiple times we have had to tell cable sales agents that we do not have a TV, and they keep going on with their spiel like they don’t believe us. Eventually my husband has to stop them and say sir we literally do not have a physical TV screen our house. They usually look at us strangely and then leave.

We also host a lot of couples for dinner at our house, and they are always so confused whenever we tell them we don’t have a TV. The one thing I find interesting is that the response is the same whether they are Christian or not. We’ve had a wide variety of responses after we explain why we don’t have a TV. One couple was so surprised that they asked us what we do without it, and always make comments about strange it is whenever we come over to their house. On the complete opposite end we had another couple follow suit, and throw out their TV when they got home.

We do not think all TV viewing is inherently bad, but we do think it is a slippery slope for us. So this is our 10 reasons we do not own a TV.

1.  Having more time with God-

I don’t know about you, but whenever I was alone all I wanted to do was watch the next episode of my series. Instead of fighting for alone time with God, I would be fighting for alone time to enjoy my show. If that doesn’t sound like an idol of the heart, then I don’t know what would. We should be spending not only our alone time on seeking God, but every second of our day. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it says “pray continually” and Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I do not think we are seeking God with our whole heart if we are spending our free time vegging out in front of a TV. God wants us to be excited to have a relationship with him. I can say for sure that I have been more excited to watch a fictional movie that has no eternal value then to read the word of God. This is the most important reason why we got rid of our TV and therefore was listed as reason number one.

2. Being fed lies-

The second reason why we got rid of our TV is because we got sick of being fed lies. I often say “what is right is wrong in the world, and what is wrong is right”. From a very young age I could see that everything I was learning from the Bible was the exact opposite of what our society was telling me. That is still true today. Every time I get a glimpse of a TV show or commercial at someone else’s house it is completely the opposite of what I believe. It is all about sex, money, and self. There is also a ton of violence on TV that so easily can seem normal to view. I have learned that viewing all of this slowly but surely wears away at my sense of right and wrong. I also lose my innocents and become numb to sin and evil. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” There are three main points here. At the beginning the verse is saying above all else, so above everything. That means that this is a pretty important verse to follow and take action on. Then the verse says “guard your heart”. So how do you guard your heart? I know for me that means limiting my time being exposed to things that are not edifying. Limiting my time thinking, seeing, hearing, and doing things that are not godly. The third main part of the verse is “everything you do flows from it”. So in order to be Christ like you will have to guard your heart, and nourish your heart with things from God.  

3. Being silent and still-

In our world we are so distracted and oblivious to the spiritual realm. A lot of the times I have found myself being distracted by shows and movies. I have also recently been reading more about spiritual disciplines and have been super convicted about the amount of time I spend being silent and still. In 1 Kings 19:11-13 it is the story of Elijah and how God revealed himself as a still small voice. I am frightened sometimes to think that I will never hear like that solely, because I cannot be still and silent.

4. Living out your own adventures-

I see many people in our culture being depressed or dissatisfied with the life they live. I also see so many people spending a majority of their free time watching TV. To be honest, I do not know how someone can live their life if they are living someone else’s on a show. We are so dissatisfied with our own lives, because we watch romances, and our marriage doesn’t look like that. Or we watch an action flicks and think we have no adventure in our lives. In reality those are fictional, fluffed up, fake movies that we are comparing our real life with subconsciously. We also are wasting our time as believers watching a screen rather than discipling others, praying for others, talking to people about Christ, loving others, giving to others, and being missional in general. What are we doing? We are wasting the life God gave us.

5. Sex & Communication in Marriage-

Basically the title sums up this point, but yes it gives you way more time with your spouse. That’s not just time sitting there and not interacting either. I know plenty of couples, who only watch TV when their kids go to bed. I think to myself how do they function, while they are asking us at dinner how we function. It is pretty comical! I want to deeply understand my husband, and my husband wants to understand me. I don’t know a better way to do that then to spend quality time together. Marriage needs a lot of meaningful communication in order to thrive, and that is not going to happen while watching a show. Not having a TV also gives us way more opportunities to have sex. Now from a woman’s perspective I feel way more ready to have sex if I am being poured into by my husband, and we spent our whole night talking rather than him being glued to a TV screen. If you are trying to conceive as well as have more sex in your marriage, then this was a very interesting statistic from Harvard. The study found that men who watch more than 20 hours of television per week had 44 percent fewer sperm than guys who didn’t watch TV. So if you’re trying to have a baby than turn off that TV!

6. Communication with children-

 In Psychology today, Amy Nathanson Ph.D states, “Young children who watch lots of TV may be missing out on valuable - even crucial - interactions with parents during a critical point in their development.  Parent-child interaction, even with children who can't yet speak, is vital to children's healthy development.” This very reality makes me want to have the utmost attention on my child. To communicate with them and pour into them. The article also says that children learn way more from us as parents then they do from an educational TV show. That is a lot of responsibility, but it is also good to feel the depth of that. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” We affect our children in a big way and we need to show them Christ. The more time we are reading the Bible with them instead of letting their minds feed on TV the better. Another verse in Deuteronomy 19:11 states, "You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” How can we teach our children all the time if we are letting the TV communicate to them instead? That is the sixth reason why we do not have a TV.         

7. Healthy development for children-

Is it really beneficial for your child’s development and health to watch television? We have all heard the debate whether TV viewing causes ADHD, and I do not completely agree that it is the cause of ADHD. I do however believe that TV is not beneficial for a child that is prone to have attention issues. According to Dr. Christakis, “the rapidly moving images on TV and in video games may rewire the brains of very young children, making it difficult for them to focus on slower tasks that require more thought. Others say that TV may, at least temporarily, idle the centers in the pre-frontal cortex that are responsible for organizing, planning, and sequencing thought.” With this understanding, it seems quite obvious that it’s more of a con than a pro to have a child watch TV.

8. We are called to be set apart-

This reason ties in with the first three reason we do not own a television. When people come over they can quickly realize that we are different. It is an instant conversation starter for why we do not have a TV. To be honest it is an easy in to talk and share about our faith when people come over. In the same way it is a great tool to “spur one another on towards love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24), when believers come into our house as well. We get to challenge them to do more with their time such as “good deeds” instead of watching TV.

9. Better for personal health-

I don’t know about everybody else, but I used to love sitting down in front of that screen with ice cream or a bag of chips. I would munch through so much junk food while watching a movie. It is so easy to do, and is so comforting. While that poses a problem, other health risks include being sedentary. Although you would think being sedentary is the main health risk and cause of weight gain it is actually the advertisements. Steve Gortmaker, a professor of the practice of health sociology in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, states “most of the impact is just because of the marketing and advertising during that time that tends to increase intake of range of unhealthy food products.” So we would eat more than we needed during screen time, be sedentary, and then turn around and buy more unhealthy food due to advertisements. There are plenty more studies that show how your potential to acquire diabetes goes up while watching TV, you lose sleep due to TV, and there was one study I found that pointed to the fact that your life span shortens. All pointing to the conclusion that we are better off without a television.

10. Better for the environment-

The last reason our family does not own a TV is due to helping the environment. I know that global warming is a very controversial topic, but my family is on the lets help the earth side. So in order to reduce our CO2 emissions, we do not have a TV. In several articles I’ve read, televisions and computers are main emitters of CO2 in a household. We just thought it would be advantageous to reduce our carbon footprint. Also if you do not agree with global warming then you can reduce your electric bill as well!

All ten of these reasons are for personal conviction of my husband and I. Not every Christian has the same convictions, but I did write this article to challenge those with televisions. We were made to glorify God and spread the gospel to others. If your television is being a hindrance of those two things then by all means take a hammer to that thing!