Talking Point

The Goggle Box

Written by Stuart Wickes

The Goggle Box

I took this photo on the funky Joker Boat, a Batman movie inspired barge moored in the heart of Liverpool. It was perfectly placed  to go explore the city – near the Tate Gallery, Maritime Museum, Albert Dock and right next to the Liverpool Wheel. Can you see it beckoning through the window?

But the kids didn’t seem to notice; they were more impressed with the giant plasma TV on board than the idea of going out to explore. And once their 3D glasses were on it was a struggle to get them off and get out. Once the TV was on the real 3D world of Liverpool seemed about as interesting to them as a bowl of hot cabbage soup on a summer’s day.

Talking point

The trance inducing power of the goggle box is one of the reasons we’ve resisted having a TV at home. And the fact we don’t have a TV at home is probably one of the reasons they love to watch it so much when we’re away.  I never have this problem in a tent! Should I have let them watch? Or confiscated the glasses?

Join the conversation

Talking Point is our series of short Photo Friday posts. Each week we pick a photo from the archive, post a talking point and invite you to join the conversation. Leave a comment with your thoughts or tell us what the photo says to you. If you’ve a blog, use the link up tool to showcase your own talking point  and we’ll come over and comment at your place.  

For more photo inspired fun why not check out Travel Photo Thursday from Budget Travelers Sandbox, Photo Friday at Delicious Baby or Friday Dreaming at RWeThereYetMom.


About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!


  • I grew up without a telly, and, yes, that left me unable to screen it out. It also left me with a high reading speed and vast pop culture gaps.

    We don’t have a telly now as we’re travelling longterm, but I think my son gets his pop culture from the internet now.

    • We worried about pop culture gaps when we got rid of ours, but as you say kids seem to get it all by other means these days… their iPods seem to be an umbilical culture connection.

  • I don’t know – we especially love watching tv when we travel – everything is different – even the ads. It’s a glimpse into another culture – and although it might not seem “authentic” – it really is. for this is what the majority of people watch, there, then!

    And, as a parent, you well know that any time you forbid something, it makes it all the more attractive! 🙂

  • Tv can be educational and it can be draining. I find it relaxing, but barely watch it without doing something else (like now). I know it can be bad, but I can’t resist especially when I’m cooking dinner or it’s 6am and I want to sleep longer. It shouldn’t be a babysitter…. Change is so hard! Hopefully our travel lifestyle will help us grow. It certainly has limited our TV time since we are always out and checking the sites.

    • We met an artist in the Faroes who did all her best work in front of the TV, I mean incredible works of art, sketches and paper cuttings while ‘watching’ CSI. Travel lifestyle often limits some things which ‘forces’ change. And the world’s a pretty good TV channel anyway. Thanks for stopping by. Good to hook up here and on FB.

  • We do not forbid tv, but we are very vigilant about what is watched especially to avoid ads and programming that funnels the herds. However we love some educational Discovery or Nat Geo programming. And we just recently got expanded cable. Before we got the expanded version we were at a villa in St. John and the kids got that tranced effect in front if a huge screen in our place when there was so much to do outdoors. That was the only time we had that problem. We just checked out of a hotel in New Hampshire and the tv never got turned on, but then again it was a 20 inch older tube tv!

    • I do think we miss out on National Geo and Discovery and great wildlife, nature and travel docs. I’m sure there’s something hypnotic about TV though.. although that’s true of great nature spots too. I remember those old TVs from when I was a kid. I used to love watching the end of transmission and the little dot that followed. You just don;t get that these days!

  • I think I might be mesmerized by a 3D TV too!! My kids don’t watch much television when we are traveling but occasionally they do seem to need that time to just space out and do nothing but stare at a screen. I try to compromise by setting a time limit – tell them they have 30 minutes or an hour and then the TV is off and we are hitting the streets.

    • Yea, nothing wrong with a bit of zoning out, could do with a bit of it myself. Time boundaries a good idea, works well for all kinds of things when travelling… like how much longer at this ‘boring museum’ !!

  • When we were kids, our parents were lectured about the inherent dangers of watching too much tv – and we had 3 programmes back then! A generation later we have 38. Some have hundreds.

    I watched my first episodes of Sesame street on a black-and-white, and yes, we must have been about the last ones having one. So that’s how i grew up: We had tv, but altogether we never allowed it to matter. I had a favourite series or two, perhaps I tried to schedule family life around them but didn’t succeed, but that was about it.

    Today, we manage to get along about the same way: we must be about the last family having an 80cms CRT tv set which we will keep until it burns down the house, and it is rarely on. We watched a family movie tonight, all together, which we do perhaps once in a month or two, so it is special. We sometimes watch sports events like the Olympics or skiing competitions, some soccer matches. It would never occur to the kids to turn on the tv just so, but if they want to, they can. When the school medics come with their questionnaires, enquiring in multiple-choice if the kids watch “an hour a day, 2 hours, or 3 or more”, we stare in disbelief, that’s what we watch in a fortnight. Somehow we managed to convey this, that you can watch if you want to, but it really isn’t important.

    • I like the sound of your household! I fondly remember our black and white TV, but can’t imagine big bird would have the same impact in b&w! Does your old CRT do the dot thing when you turn it off? I do miss that. And test cards. You never get to see those with 24 hour TV.

      • It seems to be more of an horizontal white lone nowadays that goes away last. Test cards I rarely got to see, they came too late when I was little and disappeared when I grew up. Our set has a very quirky feature: when the signal goes off, it switches off after 5 minutes – but when does the signal ever go off nowadays?

        And re big bird and his friends, can you imagine I never knew which colour which puppet was? I barely knew Kermit was green, even though that’s pretty obvious, but certainly not who was blue, or purple.

      • Oh, gotta share how our old tv passed out: it turned a blind spot in the centre, that kept growing over the months, until in the end you simply couldn’t follow the plot as there was only image visible around the borders! That was when Star Trek was on – I really grew into this Star Trek sounds thing, could identify any gadget, phaser, tricorder, whatever, by ear when all I saw was Kirk’s back and Spock’s shoulder…

  • Our kids have been given completely free reign with TV. They each have LCD screens in their bedrooms, and 150-200 channels to choose from. Two of them hardly watch any TV at all. In fact, my sons TV broke about three months ago, and I don’t think he’s noticed yet. The one daughter who does watch TV is also our most active one, and she seems to use the TV to come down from her very packed days.
    I doubt that a TV could distract my kids from a leaf blowing by, never mind the city of Liverpool. I definitely believe in the forbidden fruit theory.

    • Interesting.. so access & availability doesn’t necessarily lead to more watching in your family set-up – I guess there’s all kinds of other stuff that influences whether kids watch it or not too – other more interesting/satisfying activities, parental role modelling… it’s more about the part TV/screens play in the family system.

  • Shocking goings on here on the east coast of Australia this weekend – we have gone TV free. Yikes! I have linked in. Thanks for the post, you may take partial credit if we pull this off 😉

  • Strangely there’s been a lot in the press this week about TV and kids, so here’s a few extra links if you’re interested in reading further.

    1) Experts urge limiting children’s screen time – to counter negative effects of long screen hours.

    2) A counter argument – that some TV and shared adult/child viewing time can be a good thing

    Interesting reads… Which do you agree with?

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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