Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Of dining tables and TV's


Courtesy of a link at Larry's place, I was led to this article.

Six out of ten meals consumed in British homes are eaten in front of the television, it emerged today.

Research has revealed that millions of families have all but abandoned the dining table and now retire to the sofa to enjoy their meal.

And as proof they are aware their TV dinners are not perhaps the best way, most admit they are guilt ridden by the bad habit.

A startling one third of us don't even make conversation with our dinner companions while dining in front of the television.

Researchers found the average dinner table dodger tucks into meals in front of their favourite programmes at least six times a week.

The study also found that 45 per cent don't actually enjoy the food they're eating in front of the box, while many opt for easy ready meals and takeaways.

There's more at the link.

I agree that not eating together, not paying attention to each other, is a very negative aspect of many modern families.  However, there's an easy answer, if only people would take it:


My wife and I took that decision when we married, and I don't think we've ever regretted it.  We don't own a television at all.  If something comes along that we really want to watch, we can either get it over the Internet, or buy DVD's of it, or look on streaming video sites - all of which can be watched on our computer screens.  Major sporting events like the Superbowl are usually watched with friends at one of their homes, with everybody bringing snacks and all of us making snarky comments as we watch developments unfold.  It becomes a social occasion rather than a goggle-box preoccupation.

What say you, readers?  Is the TV a center of your home life, or is it something you can take or leave as the mood suits?  How many of you also don't bother to have a TV at all?  Please let us know in Comments.  This might be an interesting discussion.



Jen said...

Never had a TV, raised my kids without it. I hate the way it just saps my creativity. Started dating a guy with TV in every room. I love him, hate the TVs. Sports ball 24-7. And ja, that's where he takes his meals. It's a compromise. After a high stress day, its how he unwinds. And he does watch hallmark movies with me now and then. I got lots of family time with the kids in other ways, and they've all grown up to eschew the TV in their own lives.

caretaker1611 said...

We watch a couple of movies a week. No sports at all. Could care less who wins. Doesn't change our lives. Only video subscription is to prime.

Anonymous said...

I haven't had a way to access broadcast TV since 2009. Since then I've only streamed content.
When I see content with adds, they are either stupid or disgusting, and the brief pieces of modern drama I've seen when traveling, in restaurants, etc have been stupid and chock full of virtue signalling.
We tend to watch realty and repair shows, or pre 1990 reruns.
One thing we did is move from a TV to a projector - when off, it's out of sight and a blank wall; the TV isn't the focal point of the room.

JNorth said...

Never owned a TV though I probably spend as much time in front of my computer as some do their TVs. Single so there isn't anyone I'd be eating with anyhow.

Charlie said...

We cut cable in 1997
Never missed it at all. And then, we moved mom in law in with us.

She has to have tv. I ignore it for the most part, even with her, almost constantly, asking if I saw something before, or come and see this......

My almost 100% reaction is "who are these people and why are they in my living room"

She is lucky we love her.

JKS said...

Chacun à son goût, as they say. If getting rid of TV is your lifestyle choice then good for you. What I find annoying is the air of smug superiority affected by so many people who boast about how they eschew TV, or automobiles, or meat, or processed foods, etc. etc. -- unlike us knuckle-dragging proles who lack their refined sensibilities.

Mind you, Peter, I do not mean to suggest that you are coming across like that; your post raises an interesting point that is certainly worthy of discussion. In my case (for example) I enjoy various sports but am not able to attend many games in person, so I find TV an excellent vehicle for giving me access to them. But that's just me. Then I see yet another sneering reference to "sportsball" and find that I (along with tens of millions of other sports fans) am to be considered an uncultured Neanderthal because of my own lifestyle choice. -Sigh-.

tweell said...

My wife had to have the television on all the time, even had one in the kitchen. I was brought up without one, and found it a horrible distraction.

Now that she has passed on, the TV sits unused for weeks at a time. It gets turned on for movies or video games, twice for breaking news. Otherwise it collects dust.

LL said...

I had a rule when the kids were growing up. We ate dinner together whenever possible, at least 5 days a week. It was a time to bring things up, discuss things, and to bond. The TV and Cell Phones have their place IMHO, but they don't replace being together and communicating.

Anonymous said...

I've got 9 years clean of the adrenaline rush from the fear tactics of television news.
Sometimes I go walking around 6 PM to see the blue lights flashing in the neighbors windows as they receive their evening programming. These people are lost they no longer have their own minds.

TXRed said...

I grow impatient with most TV, aside from the occasional basketball or baseball game watched with the sound off. I'd prefer not to have one, but the rest of RedQuarters likes various shows and the financial news on cable. I do like local news and weather coverage, especially during storms, range fires, and so on. However, that can be accessed on-line so long as the power is on.

Some like it, some don't, sort of like social media, magazines, and liver-n-onions. I went for several years without it for financial reasons, and never really got back into the practice of watching much. To each their own.

Jen said...

Agree, to each his own. Except that when cable came through years ago, the deal was, pay a fee, and no commercials. Now people spend hundreds of dollars a month, for tons of commercials, and very little worth watching. A waste.
Also, it's a distraction. When it's on, absolutely nothing productive gets done.
Third, my reference to sports ball wasn't a sneer, it was exasperation and frustration with the utter pointlessness and sameness of it all. And the fact that wealthy men buy and sell these people, to play games for obscene salaries, in stadiums they fleece the taxpayers into paying for, while they also rob them blind at the ticket booth. So, yeah, sports ball.

Anonymous said...

We always have meals in the kitchen, but we do have tablets for reading blogs, or the comics pages. Haven’t used the TV in 20 or 30 years. We used to watch some shows that were on Prime - a few newer shows, a lot of old stuff, generally once a week or so. We don’t even do that anymore. I read some news stories, but we don’t watch newscasts.
Southern NH

Anonymous said...

The only time my TV is turned on is to watch DVD movies, usually checked out from our county's library. I haven't watched regular programming for 30 years or so.
--Tennessee Budd

Anonymous said...

JKS, I don't feel superior. To each his own. I prefer to read. It's what works for me.
I don't care for any sports played with a ball, but I watch motorcycle racing on my computer, and shooting sports.
Charlie, I get that at work. People ask "Did you see this commercial about...?" and I cut them off with "No" before they describe it. I know I haven't seen whatever it is. Same when they ask if I saw a game between X & Y. Just not my thing.
--Tennessee Budd

KurtP said...

I took the advice of John Prine's "Levelheaded dancer on the way to alcohol" when we moved to Rancho Snakebit back in 2013.

I finally convinced the wife to "blow up the TV, throw away the paper and try to find Jesus on our own" because I got tired of paying beucoup bux on the three or four channels we actually watched.

Here he is with his 50 year old advice-

Anonymous said...

I banned cell phones at the table, my wife uses her watch...
I try to get the kids to eat dinner every night, my wife makes excuses for them...
Holiday dinners I always.... fight with my wife.
.... of all the people in the world who would undermine me raising my children, the LAST person I expected to have to deal with, was my wife.

Anonymous said...

We are a home theater household. Have had one for almost 20 years. My wife and I watch movies and selected series that we mutually choose. If after an episode or two either of us gives it a thumbs down, we move on to the next one, and the other party can watch it on their computer or tablet if they like. We are currently running a 120" 4k ultra short throw system, and we usually use digital headphones because my wife is hard of hearing and likes the volume too loud for my taste (enough it would scare the dog). I have a very good 4k blu-ray player and a big collection, but we stream most stuff. There is a very big difference between watching good cinema on a really big screen, in the comfort of your home, and even a 70" tv (the 120" screen has 300% of the screen area), or having to go to a theater. We don't have access to broadcast TV and don't use it. When the kids visit ESPN and the Disney channel that we got as part of our cell phone package have to come on.

Orvan Taurus said...

I gave up on cable when I realized we were paying $50+/mo. and I was watching maybe a nickel's worth. Where I am, over-the-air is a nothingburger, at least after the Greta Digital Switch. Did try a new digital TV. Even a (small) amplified antenna. Nuthin' or nuthin' much. But now... when I go somewhere where there is TV, I find in so very... annoying.. and disappointing. It'd be purely an intellectual pursuit to capture distant stations (DX). But.. there is NO content. And I've been asked about curiously LOW blood pressure...

Orvan Taurus said...


"Today I swallowed the best cure yet. I ate my TV set!"

RCPete said...

My wife will eat breakfast at the dining room table, but will lunch in front of the TV (Househunters, Weather Nation, or remodeling shoes), while I'll eat breakfast (much earlier than she gets up), and lunch in front of the computer.

The dog would assist in eating meals if we tried dinner in front of the TV, so that's always in the dining room. She assists my wife in watching TV in the evenings, while I'll read or visit blogs on the computer most days.

Roughly twice a week, we'll watch DVDs (currently Midsomer Murders and Vera, alternating). We gave up on broadcast primetime, with our last show NCIS. We dropped it after the first season without Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs. The not-Gibbs was OK, but we just couldn't care what happened to him. That seemed to be the case with previous shows we dropped. Some of it (maybe most) was the woke effect, others just going over the same stuff as always.

Paul, Dammit! said...

I'm with LL here.

I have an... 80 inch TV? I think. I don't use it much. Just Deadliest Catch and the odd series binge watch. Cable is free as part of the HOA fee, though I pay the fee because it keeps armed, well paid retired cops at the main gate to my little neighborhood.
I never allowed cell phones at the table, or eating at anywhere but the table. No TV on during meals, either. All of us, if eating alone, often enough had a device, but eating together was a huge priority for us, and it worked. As I said to my wife, I don't care if we're eating hot dogs or PB&J's, I'm eating off a nice plate with good silver silverware.
My kid's friends still come over to eat when I'm home from sea. You make time for things that are important to you... and I wish young families could be made to understand that if there's no distractions, kids, even teenagers, will actually talk to you when they're filling up on good food. It's distressing to see how many young people are disconnected from their loved ones.