22/01/2010 04:59 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Achtung Baby Or Wot No Telly?

My name is Suze Nowak and we don't have a television in our home.

There, I said it. We are a Goggle-Box-free house. Well OK, not strictly 100% true. We do have a small 100-year-old set collecting dust somewhere in the attic. It's probably reminiscing and lamenting its redundancy along with a pair of ice hockey skates, a mini step machine and a Soda Stream.

I would love to tell you that it was a conscious decision made only with good parenting intentions for the betterment of our family unit. That however would be, if not a tiny white lie, at least an undersized one. The truth is, on moving to the Back of Beyond we discovered, initially to our chagrin, that it was almost impossible to receive a signal without dishing out for satellite (excuse the pun!). Yes, we really are that much in the country.

Six months down the line and our television-free home has become the norm for us all.
Now, anyone who lives in, or has spent time in Germany, may wish to suggest that with the offerings of the main stations here we're probably doing ourselves a kindness by avoiding them anyway. From a personal point of view I find it all rather liberating. Be that as it may, far more entertaining is the reaction from other people.

My German colleagues and friends find nothing at all amiss or unusual whereas their English counterparts, usually after executing a perfect double take, are visibly shaken on finding themselves in the presence of real life dinosaurs.

I thought I'd heard all the comments on the subject when it was put to me (by an Englishman) that a lack of TV, if you have children, in his opinion was tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment. "She'll get picked on and laughed at by her peers", "She'll miss out on educational programmes", and " It's a part of 21st century life you owe to your children" were amongst his pearls of wisdom.


What it is, if we are honest, is the absence of an electronic babysitter. There is none more pious than the converted I know but we do indeed take the time to use what would normally be "screen time" for active play. Finje is from time to time allowed to watch a DVD on the computer and on these occasions she clearly thinks Christmas has come again which keeps it something special for her.

So are we bad parents?