Monday morning check in (on Wednesday)

I can’t believe I made it to Wednesday before realizing I did not post my "Monday morning check in".  I guess I am not quite back into my routine yet.  Oh well…here it is anyway…

On Monday evening, Connie and I went to a presentation titled "Are we creating a culture of disrespect".  The speaker (I can’t remember his name off hand right now) was from The National Institute on Media and the Family (Please check out their website – www.mediawise.org – They have tons of great resources for parents and anyone who works and cares for children). Our speaker talked about media’s influence on our children; positive and negative (but mostly the negative).  Even though I was aware of the media’s negative impact on children I was still blown away by some of the facts.  He said that on average children spend about 1/2 hour per week with their fathers; 2 1/2 hours a week with their mothers and (now get this) 40+ hours per week on TV, non-school computer use and video games (that’s a full time job).  It really made Connie and me sad.  Then he showed a video of an experiment that was done 10 years ago and then again recently.  They video taped a group of daycare children watching an episode of Barney.  The children were calm and responsive to the show and afterward played peacefully together.  Then they watched an episode of Power Rangers.  The children got a lot more loud and active.  Afterward they got a little more violent with each as they played; mimicking the actions of their favorite Power Ranger.  Even some fights broke out.  Once again…very sad.  Now imagine what violent video games can do.

One of the driving reasons for media’s increased impact and influence is that we live in a culture where the question "Does it make money?" is asked.  It is no longer, "Is this safe for our children".  Obviously something needs to be done and it has to start in the home.  Parents who watched their children in the daycare experience were shocked and disappointed that their children would act that way after watching Power Rangers (or any show like that).  They simply had no clue.  Media makes a great babysitter so I would guess that makes it easier to turn the other way (I know this is easy for me to say…not being a parent and all).

There is a lot more to this presentation but I will let you get some more information yourself by visiting www.mediawise.org.  As a pastor I am considering how I can be a positive influence and what the Church can and should be doing to help parents and familes.  I think the Church needs to research this more and consider how it can get this message out to our families.  Children are at a critical stage of mental development and we can’t let media influence that development.  We need to take a stand.  And what is even more scary is the rate of technology growth and advancement.  Staying ahead is not going to be easy.

Anyway…that is my rant for now.  What do you think about media and our children?  What should we be doing as a Church or what are you currently doing?

Thanks for "listening" and have a very blessed day.  Take care.
-edh-

3 thoughts on “Monday morning check in (on Wednesday)

  1. I would agree that The National Institute on Media and the Family is a very helpful organization. It is also true that media can be a great babysitter. I don’t think that is ALWAYS a bad thing (and I don’t think you were arguing that), but then the questions become: When are you using it? How often are you using it? Why are you using it instead of other options?

    What is the church response? I don’t know that I have a great answer, but I do suspect part of it is helping parents and families to be smart, but not to add to the fear. Our role is to offer freedom, a freedom that comes from living in Christ. Yes we need to be smart, but we also can’t live in fear. I was speaking with some parents not so long ago and we wondering about whatever happened to parents saying to their kids, “Just go outside and play”? I know my parents used to say it to me all of the time.

    How might we make it more safe so we can say to our children once again, “Why don’t you just go outside and play?” How do we reclaim our neighborhoods? How might we empower parents and families to say “NO” to things so that there is time to spend with our children? So there is time for the alternatives to media as a babysitter?… perhaps more questions than answers.

  2. This is a very scary time to just let our children go out and play. There are so may people out there that will harm children and parents are afraid to let them out. Families are too busy and TV is used alot as a babysitter so they can get things done or just relax.

    If appropriate programs are available, children will mimick their favorate characters on those shows. Meara (she is 3) loves a show call “Super Why”. It teaches chilren about their letters and how to read. Each character has a power (alphabet power, spelling power, word power and her favorite, the power to read). This is Super Why’s power and this is the character she loves the most.

    Children are very observant and will copy what they see. We want them to “do as I say, not as I do”. Children take this the other way as they “do as we do, not as we say”. If we want our children to respect, we need to respect them and they need to see us interacting with others and reacting to certain situations so they learn how to do it in a positive way.

    Too many parents rely on others to teach their children. Parents are the best teachers and we need to spend time with our children. They really do grow up fast. My daughter will be four this year and I still remember when she was a baby like it was yesterday.

  3. Eric
    There’s no mystery here. Parent’s have to wake up and parent. We’ve all (at some point in life) bought into a lie that having stuff and having fun is most important in life. This is most especially tough for the dads and moms I meet who realize it after they are stretched too thin to pay for the big house, the neat toys, and the big vacations they think will be fun.
    I see it all around me; and it’s tempting to fall into these traps. We think we can borrow a little more and get more stuff and life will be easy; but it doesn’t work that way.
    It’s a real challenge to be a real parent these days (who turns off the comercials and opens the books (most especially the Bible) or just goes for a walk after supper with their kids); but the rewards: kids who serve God and love their neighbors, seem to be worth more than the time and activity that it takes to raise kids who love God and other people.

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