from the February 19, 2008 eNews issue
http://www.khouse.org (visit our website for a FREE subscription)
Kids today spend an average of more than 6 hours a day immersed in movies, television, magazines, music, computers, internet, video games and other forms of media. Furthermore, studies show the majority of young people say their parents don't impose any rules on them regarding the use of such mediums. There is no denying that the media has a significant impact on both adults and kids alike. However in our increasingly secular, media saturated culture it can be difficult to control what our kids are exposed to.
Hollywood, for example, routinely rewards directors and producers who "push the envelope" and "go to extremes" - phrases usually indicative of excessive violence, foul language, gratuitous sex scenes and crude humor. Hollywood has historically been equated with excess and wickedness, but in recent years the motion-picture industry seems to have reached new lows. Even G-rated children's movies aren't guaranteed to be free of thinly-veiled sexual innuendo.
The good news is that in recent years the production of family-friendly and faith-based films is on the rise. Films such as Facing the Giants, Amazing Grace, End of the Spear, and One Night With the King (the story of Queen Esther), have received praise for both their artistic qualities and their strong Judeo-Christian themes. For Christians who are looking for wholesome and uplifting entertainment, there are options, but you have to be willing to do your homework.
Most people enjoy a good movie. Unfortunately, determining which movies are appropriate can be like navigating a minefield. It requires diligence, and often we don't realize we've made a mistake until it's too late. If you find that you've made a poor choice, take corrective action. Don't be shy about turning off the TV or leaving the theater. Also, take the opportunity to have a discussion with your kids about your decision.
If you rely on movie ratings alone to determine what is acceptable for your family, be aware that such ratings are notoriously inconsistent. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that ratings have changed over the last decade and today's movies contain significantly more violence, sex, and profanity on average than movies of the same rating a decade ago. Furthermore, the study showed that movies with the same rating can differ significantly in the amount and types of potentially objectionable content.
If you're looking for a little help, the Screen It website is a great resource for parents who want to know precisely how a movie earned its rating. Screen It parental reviews contain direct quotes and detailed descriptions of a film's objectionable content so you know exactly what your kids will encounter.
The Bible tells us to think about things that are true, honest, just, pure and lovely - things that have virtue and that are praiseworthy (Phil 4:8). Don't be afraid to set boundaries, do your homework, lead by example, and encourage your kids to spend their precious time and energy on pursuits that are pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.
Related Links:• Fox Faith Films - Homepage
• Screen It - Movie Reviews for Parents
• Common Sense Media - Reviews for Movies, TV, Games, and More
• Kids In Mind - Movie Reviews
• The Choice: Hypocrisy or Real Christianity - Koinonia House