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It’s Time to Get Rid of the Television

Television/Digital Devices Blackout

Barrington H. Brennen, March 27, 2013, 2022




Imagine a home without a television.  Imagine having more than a month without watching any television or even going to the movie theater.  Imagine having teenage children with no interest in watching television.  Imagine having just one entire day when all televisions in the country will be off.  Do you think we would survive?  


While the television provides positive information and has become a meaningful part of our every-day existence, yet it is not imperative that we spend all the time we do watching the news or our favorite television shows.  Do you realize that many people who watch the news channels hours every day become cynical, angry, skeptical, and even physically ill.  Too much news can “drive you crazy.” [ See previous article ]


More than fifteen years ago I proposed in an article that each family have a “television blackout month.” I stressed that too many families are being dictated to by the television.  They allow their children to freely watch anything at anytime.  I stated in the article that “What is also obvious is that these hooked-on-television children spend very little hours gaining meaningful rest and sleep at the most appropriate times. In many homes, school-aged children stay up until the wee hours of the morning watching television. They fall asleep tired and drained, only to be awakened by another dosage of TV stimulation.”


Here is one of latest reports on television for children (USA).  The 2006 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation states that 74 percent of infants and toddlers watch TV before the age of 2. With on-demand services, 24-7 cable kid channels, and heaps upon heaps of baby-oriented programming, we now have constant access to media that specifically targets very young children. So there's more TV than ever, more warnings than ever, and certainly more confusion than ever before.


The problem I have with indiscriminate television viewing is that it is one of Satan’s most powerful tools he uses to infiltrate the mind with all kinds of unhealthy thoughts, images, and actions.  Too often children are prematurely introduced to subjects that they are not emotionally or intellectual ready to understand.  These messages are repeated over and over teasing the child’s curiosity and often times changing behavior.   Even adults are being affected negatively with the over dose of television, and especially violent television.


Here is what a 2002 study about television and violence revealed.  “Watching just one hour of television a day can make a person more violent towards others, according to a 25-year study. In some circumstances, TV watching increases the risk of violence by five times. The new research indicates the effect is seen not just in children, as has been suggested before, but in adults as well.” (Allison Motluk, The New Scientist)


It is my view that if we have less television viewing in our nation we would have less violence.  It is time for another television black out. Below I will share with the types of television black-out times I shared fifteen years ago.



  1. Marriage Black-out. During the first year of marriage, it is ideal that a couple does not own a television. They should spend time interacting, bonding, spending time together, growing as friends and lovers. Television has a subtle way of attracting us from valuable functions and events in our lives.  True, some couples do have the disciple to not allow the television to take away from their sharing time together.   But many do not.  If you want a television, avoid having it in your bedroom--the romantic chamber.    Sometimes we find excuses to watch a show because it is so educational or meaningful, but in reality it does not add anything to the healthy development of a young marriage. A solid foundation must be laid early in the marriage for intimacy, friendship, and sharing. The couple must enjoy spending time together before they spend time in front of the television.

  2. Childhood Black-out. It is important for parents to understand the powerfulFree Black woman messaging on modern cellphone Stock Photo effects of television on the minds of their developing children. Do not place your young infant in front of the television alone while you do something else. Ideally, it would be best to avoid having a television in the home. Because of the addictive, luring, and tempting nature of television, I am suggesting that parents with young children do not have television in the home during the first six to ten years of the child’s life. Children also need to learn how to play and interact, communicate, and develop self-government. Great harm is done when, from birth, television becomes a normal part of a child’s life. It does not matter how educational the television program is, whether it is Sesame Street or Barney. Parental involvement cannot be compared to any information or knowledge gained from television watching.

  3. Crisis Black-Out. Often a parent may need to take away the privilege of television viewing because of disobedience or poor academic performance. Sometimes families would find it most helpful when there are serious family conflicts and crises to keep the television off. Often the television is used as "coverall." It gives one the feeling that the pain is over, but when the television is turned off the pain surfaces. Keeping the television off forces the family to deal with the situation.

  4. Scheduled Black-out. As the family begins to grow, the parents may want to purchase a television. This is fine. However, the television should not be treated like the refrigerator - it is only useful when it is on.

  5. National Black-out.  What if what had on day in our country just three hours when every television is off (stations do not broadcast) and every one takes the time to share, show kindness, and interact positively with each other?  We can call it National TV Black-out.


Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist.  Send your questions and comments to  question@soencouragement.org or visit www.soencouragement.org or call 1242-327-1980




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