The (Relatively) Advertisement Free Life

More than a year ago or so, we started using Netflix as our only TV. It wasn't really a conscious choice, it just kind of happened. We haven't had cable in quite a long time and our local stations just kind of stopped working on our aerial antennae.

Also, I set up an ad blocker on all our computers. Some people say "don't do that" because the advertisers and the sites they buy space on don't make money if the ads don't reach your eyeballs, my response is "that's their problem". I don't like a lot of the things that they want to show me and I certainly don't want my kids looking at it, so BOOM, blocked.

What this has resulted in is a home that is relatively free of ads. If the kids turn on the radio they can still hear some, if we somehow get a newspaper or magazine, there are ads in there, but for the most part, on a day by day basis, our home is pretty much free of outside influences. (At least in the advertising sense.)

This has had a remarkable effect. First and foremost, it's been amazingly beneficial on my kids. Besides controlling what they see on TV (when I let them watch it), the things they do see don't have any advertising whatsoever. The 8 bucks a month we spend on Netflix gives us thousands of hours of good TV for all their age groups without a single commercial or even "brought to you by" messages. Without being bombarded with toy and cereal and junk food commercials, my kids no longer ask for these things. Oh, sure, they still make wish lists for Christmas and birthdays, but even those aren't influenced by the latest and greatest toy they see on TV. Their choices are much more thought through and often it's a book or a creative toy such as Lego blocks.

It's had an effect on me too. Especially in areas of politics. I used to be a hard core conservative, much of that point of view was influenced by what others were saying on TV, especially the mud-slinging ads. When I cut those out, my political views shifted much more to the left. Now I'm not going to say that the ads and the absence thereof are the only things that shaped my views, but I can honestly say that when the ads were cut out and I focused only on facts and documentation, things were much clearer and much less emotional.

Overall, it's been a good choice for us. The effect on my kids and myself have been amazing. I challenge you to take the same route. Cut the cable, get Netflix if you still want something to watch, block the ads on the web, and see how that changes your life and your thinking.