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Update on the TV and Electronics

Image: by supakitmod

Not only have we applied simple living and minimalist ideas to our material belongings – we have also applied it to our electronic tools.

Over a year ago we got rid of our TV.  Then last January I got rid of my smart phone.  How has it all worked?  How is life different?

Have we survived?

What kind of crazy backwards people are we to even try this?

I really get a kick out of how crazy this all sounds to some people.  My kids have started to enjoy the reactions they get by telling people we don’t have a TV.  But really it probably isn’t as crazy or extremist as it might seem.

It is actually more common than you might think

  • In 2011 there were (estimated) 114.7 TV’s in the USA (the first decrease in 20 years) source
  • In 2010 (sorry I couldn’t find 2011) there were (estimated) 144.8 households in the USA source


While this might look like everyone has a TV this isn’t the case.  Many houses have 3 TV’s or more.  … sometimes even more TVs than people in the home.  This leaves a lot of homes with no TV’s just like us 🙂

Why did we get rid of our TV?

I don’t like the trashy content, and I don’t like the constant distraction, but a lot of it came down to minimalism.  It was ugly and we just didn’t use it or value it enough to have it in our space.

Does that mean we don’t watch TV?

Not at all… as much as we might be better people if we didn’t.  TVs are everywhere and we often watch with friends of family.  With all our travels we watch in hotels, and lots of TV and movies can be found on the computer.  Not having TVs all through our house help us be more intentional about what we do watch.  We can find what we want to watch, but we don’t have a button to press every time we get board or want to escape for a while.  I believe we are all better off for it.

I love Smartphones… but I don’t have one

It came down to the fact that I really didn’t need one and I spent all kinds of time on it.  I have a cell phone and I call and text people all the time, but I don’t need instant access to the internet or my e-mail/social media at my finger tips all day.

I tell this to other people and I get ‘Oh, I could never live without my smart phone’  Really?

Just because you use the features doesn’t mean you need it.  When I had my smart phone I used it all time time, but my e-mail and social media can usually survive without my supervision for a few hours.  Even people working on-call or handling much more important work than me could probably get by with phone and text … but that is my opinion and I know every situation is different.

What these smart phones do is control our lives.  We are addicted to busy and they are a little tool to make sure our heads and fingers are always living up to this addiction.  

In the past year I have probably lived the best of both words.  My husband still has his smart phone and when we were traveling we had it to get internet for blogging and for maps and weather (we were dodging Sandy for a while on our roadtrip).   This set-up has helped me have the perks but not the constant addiction.

I am not saying everyone should get rid of TVs and smartphones.  I think both are good if they are used as a tool.  I do share our decisions and experience to help you question how these electronics work in your life and how much you really need/want to have in your life.


  1. I have resisted the urge to get a Smart phone also.
    Monday, when my daughter went to school, the teacher asked the kids if they watched the super bowl. Our family did not of course, but rather played and filled our time other ways. My daughter complained to me that she was the only one that did not watch the super bowl. I got a similar complaint when the Olympics were going on in August and of course we had no TV to watch them. I don’t think the complaint from my daughter has much to do with her desire to watch football (a sport we have never watched) but rather just being different in her class, and not having TV. She will ask me when we are getting an ipad….which we have no plans too…then my 4 year old will chime in too: “Can I have an ipad when I am 100?” He likes the number 100. Sure, that sounds good sweetie!

    • My husband had the super bowl on the computer and checked the score once and a while. I think a bunch of the Olympics was on the computer too. It is amazing how much is available now without actually having ‘the box’… not that I think you should have to watch it all … cause I am not into football either, but the options are there to see a piece of it if they want to be able to know what everyone else is talking about 🙂

      … my son wants an ipad so badly.. but I know he would be on it all the time and I don’t want him dealing with that temptation at the age of 6. Thanks for your comment!

  2. When My fiance said he didn’t want us to have a tv when we married, I thought it odd, but really didn’t care.
    That was almost 15 years ago and one of the best decisions we ever made!

  3. We have one TV in our house and have considered letting it go because we hardly watch it. We don’t have cable or a satellite dish and occasionally watch something on our computer, but I would say our actual viewing time is less than 2 hours a week. The reason we kept it thus far is just to watch movies on. Although this is occasionally as well, we have found we prefer it to watching on our laptops most times, and since we already own it, we don’t see a reason to get rid of it yet. However, we move pretty frequently and it probably won’t make our next move with us, or if it dies we won’t be buying another one. Before digital programming we had a small 13 TV that we watched on occasion and when it died, I am not sure why, but we bought the flat screen we have now. We have had it for 5 years, and like I said, I am pretty sure it will be our last. Our son is 5 and the lack of constant programming I swear has made a huge difference in his imagination. We do allow him to watch movies and DVDs sometimes but they don’t have commercials, so he is never begging for the latest toy or junk food either.


    • “Our son is 5 and the lack of constant programming I swear has made a huge difference in his imagination.” I love this comment the most. I think not having a Tv in our home also has made a huge impact on my kids imaginative play!

      • When children become “bored” and have nothing to do, they tend to just switch on the TV, but without one or limited use of one, they will create something to do. I don’t think my son honestly knows what the word bored means. I have never heard him say it, ever.

    • yes, that is another great reason for watching in other ways – no commercials 🙂 I probably would have kept mine if I had space for it but when we moved into the apartment it used up a whole wall. Ours was old and ugly so I had a whole wall in my living room taken up by something ugly that we didn’t use that often… once I realized that it was easier to give up 🙂

  4. I love hearing from people that don’t have TVs. I’m a little bit jealous and still wondering how/when/if we’ll eventually take that step. We don’t have cable, so I know we could get by with using our computers, and I agree–that absolutely helps with being intentional when it comes to watching.

    • not having cable sure helps… leaves much less temptation to turn it on when there is nothing to watch 🙂

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