How to Combat the Media's Influence on our Children
~ Dianna Hobbs
This is not your typical parenting article that shares "survival tips", or the best DVD's and activities to fight boredom. Rather, I'm going to share practical principles and techniques for raising spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy children. The neat thing is that you have complete control over the effectiveness of the techniques, they cost you nothing, and you can test them out in the comfort of your own home. Sound good? Then, keep reading.
Did you know that the U.S. media landscape is dominated by a core group of giant corporations that, through a history of mergers and acquisitions, have gained control over much of what we see, hear and read? In many cases these giant companies are integrated, manufacturing everything from books, movies, music and more.
Listen to this, the Columbia Journalism Review reports that the same company that owns and controls the programming for "MTV" and "BET", is also responsible for "Nickelodeon", "Nick Jr.", and "Noggin". (Source: Columbia Journalism Review, www.cjr.org)
Think about it. A popular trend has emerged, where the music careers of young stars are launched on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. The songs and videos usually start out innocently enough. Then what happens? We see them transition to MTV, where the songs become a little more risqu� and the lyrics become a lot less innocent. By then, however, our children have already fallen in love with these young stars. So, what can you do?
Does this mean that you should ban all of your children's favorite television shows? No. I'm not suggesting that you toss the television out the window, although that may be a good idea. Instead, I want to provoke you to consider how important it is to be prayerful, diligent and informed in order to shield your children from negative influences that can harm their spiritual, mental and emotional well-being.
Here are a few ways you can become more involved in their daily activities. When your children are viewing certain programs, take time to watch. You may be surprised at the types of things you see. As you observe, ask yourself, "What is being depicted in this cartoon or movie? What are the characters wearing, saying and doing?" Sometimes sexual innuendo, rebellion against authority, and other inappropriate behavior is being portrayed. These subtle, yet unhealthy influences send subliminal messages to your children and mold their subconscious mind.
If a movie is rated PG-13, even if it's animated and has received rave reviews from the critics, still ask yourself "Is this appropriate for my child?" Think about it. Animated movies gross millions of dollars at the box office, because children's entertainment is big business. The goal now is to entertain both the parents and the children; as a result, the children are influenced by sexually explicit content, vulgarity, profanity and violence, all cloaked as "entertainment that's fun for the whole family."
Remember, everything planted inside your children is a seed, and seeds grow, whether bad or good. Children are like sponges, soaking up everything around them. As a parent, you act as the sanitizing agent, filtering out anything that will defile and harm them. Don't be afraid to turn the television off, or ban particular programs from being viewed in your home. These decisions are not always easy or popular, but they are necessary to protect the innocence of your children.
Be warned. Family and friends will not always smile upon your decision to sterilize your children's environment. You will sometimes be perceived as "overly protective" and "a little over the top." I know it's no fun to be viewed as a prude, and few parents enjoy being labeled "strict," but if you go the extra mile to provide your children with discipline and boundaries, you will build Godly character in them that will pay off in the long run. You must make the decision that Joshua made and declare that, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)
Think about this. You don't have a long time to remain the primary influence in your children's lives. Pretty soon, they'll leave home. This is when they'll depend on what you taught them in their formative years to make the right decisions. Do you really want television shows, video games and pop culture icons to be the strongest influences on their choices?
God chose you specifically as the steward over your precious children. Remain prayerful, submitted, and open to God's will. Trust Him, and He will equip you with all the necessary tools to raise Holy, happy and healthy kids. "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:6)
2007 Hobbs Ministries. All rights reserved
Dianna Hobbs is Vice President of Hobbs Ministries, a Christian copywriting and PR firm specializing in creative writing solutions for individuals, ministries and faith-based organizations. If you're looking for exceptional Christian writers to provide powerful website copy, press releases, press kits, articles, advertorials, direct mail letters, ghostwriting and more, then visit www.hobbsministries.com
Dianna is also a wife, a homeschooling mother of four, and a highly popular speaker for Christian women's conferences and retreats.