Book Synopsis - Living Without the Screen: Causes and Consequences of Life without Television

16th October 2023

Living Without the Screen provides an in-depth study of those American families and individuals who choose not to watch television. Kromer interviews 120 people, 72 adults and the remainder children, and probes the reasons why they gave up television and what has taken the place of TV in their lives.

Some questions that are considered are,

What is television? Who are those people who reject it? What are their reasons for doing so? How do they believe their lives are different because of this choice? What impact does this choice have on media research?

Some of the facts that Kromer uncovers in her book are,

* 85% of American homes have cable television

* Pre-school children watch 4 hours a day

* Average adult watches 3 hours a day

* Elderly watch 6 hours a day

*In the average American household,the television is on 7 hours a day

She likens her study of families who do not use the television to the "negative space" in terms of art. by studying families who do not watch television, it teaches us about families in general, by considering their negative space, the absence of television, we learn what has filled in that gap.

Kromer identifies three ways that Americans come to live without television, through attrition, dramatically kicking the habit, and what she describes as environmental reasons.

Creative activities such as art take the place of television for many Americans who do without the TV.

Attrition: For some television loses its place in their life through attrition, they gradually lose interest in it over time.

Kicking the Habit: For others, they perceive that television has taken an inappropriate place in their lives, or is a problem for them or their family, so they get rid of their TV, sometimes in dramatic ways. They might still desire it once it is gone, but perceive that there is something wrong happening with the television in their lives so they get rid of it completely.

Environmental Reasons: Social reasons, disruption in life, such as a move or divorce, temporarily causes them to lose access to the television in their home, and they come to find that they prefer life without it. Interviewed 120 nonviewers in 62 families. 72 adults 48 children. The author herself (confesses) that she lives without television.