Since I like to watch movies my hubby decided to do something nice for me at Christmas by signing me up for Netflix. We got the one-DVD-at-a-time and unlimited streaming plan. It very much has been a double-edged sword for us. We were like kids in a candy shop when we first got started, looking through all the great stuff to watch, ignoring the not-so-good stuff, and trying to decide what to watch and in what order. It was all so tantalizing: so many choices, so little time. Every night we watched something different, finding it easy to find something everyone would enjoy; we found great "oldies" like "All Creatures Great and Small" and "Columbo" and wonderful British claymation like Sean the Sheep....until those became too ho hum for the younger crowd, teenagers to be exact.
We had Netflix on every night in some form or another, often finding it difficult to agree on what we were going to watch. And too often we'd end up watching something with little redeeming value. Soon enough we began to feel like Netflix was controlling us rather us controlling it. It was time to wake up and go back to life before Netflix.
Before Netflix we had the TV on very little. We've always had very tight controls on our TV; while the kids were very young they were not allowed to turn the TV on. The only time we had it on was for Sesame Street in the morning, an occasional sports program my husband particularly wanted to see, or when we rented a movie. Now and then we'd watch Masterpiece Theater in the evening after the kids were in bed. We decided we wanted our kids' primary mode of entertainment to be books and playtime; we wanted them to use their imaginations. As the kids got older we'd plan movie night, usually Friday or Saturday night, so as not to interfere with homework. Our kids at home now are ages 19, 16 and 15 and are still not allowed to turn on the TV anytime and I don't think any of them feel deprived...well, maybe one does.
I know from experience how easy it is to get hooked on the TV. As a kid growing up with free use of the television, I watched it any time I liked, night or day. My siblings and I easily watched 2-3 hours per day on weekdays and even more on the weekends.When I was a young mom home alone with my baby I got myself hooked on a couple soap operas. This was before Tivo or internet so I had to watch my show at the prescribed time, baby or no. I literally had to go through a type of withdrawal to break its hold on me. So many people these days have programs that they must watch on certain nights at certain times. And too many conversations I've heard revolve around "who's doing what to whom on what show," like it really matters in real life. I don't want this for myself or my family.
Check out this link on TV and your family: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/protecting_your_family/tv_and_todays_family/directing_tvs_role_in_your_home.aspx
I'm not going to get rid of Netflix but I am going to back off, perhaps only watch something once or twice per week and only if its quality. Life is too short to be filling my mind with junk. Now, Perry Mason, that's quality....every week day at noon. I call it recess for Mom.
P.S. I never would have watched Perry Mason with my little kids since its always about murder...but now that I have only teens at home I'm living on the wild side a little.