A man knocks on your door. As soon as you answer, you recognize him from the posters around town. He’s a known thief and sexual predator of young girls who has just escaped from prison. He asks if he can go into your teens’ bedroom to hang out with them for a while. Of course you say, “No way!” so he asks if he can just come into your living room and hang out. You say, “Absolutely not!” So he finally just settles for hanging out with the whole family as you watch a litany of popular TV shows that night; as you spend “family time” together.
If we, under any circumstances, wouldn’t let that man into the rooms of our kids (whether male of female) why would we let a TV or computer reside in our kids’ bedrooms? These modern occupiers of time dispense a river of polluted entertainment riddled with the same values driving the visitor at your front door. Why would you let all those people into your house? Every time we let unsupervised media into our homes and into our kids’ minds, we have invited a terrorist into our home.
You may be surprised at how many “terrorists” there are in your home right now. Video games, computers, cell phones, teen magazines, music, TV, & movies: all of which fall under the umbrella of entertainment and all are likely perpetrators. But in particular, entertainment in the form of movies, television and music is what is shaping our young generation. Although we consider them entertainment, they are actually infotainment. They impart values and information about the world, maybe information about life, that your kids are not ready to process and absorb. The problem is that too many parents use these avenues to keep their kids occupied, allowing them to witness just a part of the “unavoidable” culture in which we live. For example, television, broadcasts some 20,000 sex scenes that the average young person will view by the time he or she graduates from high school!
Some parents think part of blessing their kids is giving them what they never had when growing up. A personal media device that feeds a child day and night in his or her bedroom––I have even heard of a ministry leader who allows his son to watch movies with his girlfriend, in his bedroom, on the bed, with the door closed––this is not a blessing. My wife, Katie, and I could have afforded to put a TV in each of our kids’ rooms, or given them stereos at a very young age, or filled their lives with video games. But we didn’t want to give them easy access to media and risk their addiction to it. On our family TV set, we got about three scratchy channels when our kids were small. Sure we could have afforded a dish or cable, but we didn’t want the world invading our home and taking our kids hostage. I think many of the conveniences that many people now consider a necessity are more of a curse than a blessing. Moreover, we need to be careful about justifying getting cable for the kids when in reality, we’re talking about the sports and movies that we like, and we would have to sacrifice if we decided to shut it off.
We must be careful what we invite into our living room in the name of entertainment. If you let the wrong things in, these terrorists will seduce your kids, impart harmful values and, in doing so, inject poison into your kids’ worldview that could follow them for the rest of their lives. If we can perceive the perils of a depraved culture all around us, surely we are smart enough not to invite a terrorist into our living room.
It’s easy to camp out on the idea that we’re talking about what other people are doing. You may believe you’re not really a part of that; you’re not really shaped by the culture of the world. Oh, yeah? All of us have the potential to be deceived and shaped by what we see and hear. Perhaps you’ve realized that there has been more invasion of popular culture in your home than you were aware of. The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay like this.
You can turn your family around and proactively shape the hearts and minds of your children. Take the practical steps to remove these terrorists from your home. Limit T.V. viewing. Screen the media your kids want to engage in before you let them do so. This includes T.V., movies, and music. Be careful not to let them have T.V.’s in their bedrooms. Instead of family movie night, have family game night. Not only can you do that, but you must. It is the only hope your children have in the midst of a culture that is bombarding them with missiles of deadly assault at a velocity once unthinkable but now a bitter reality.
This article was adapted from Ron’s newest book, Re-Create: Building a Culture in Our Homes That Is Stronger Than the Culture Deceiving Our Kids. Recently released nationwide, you can look for it at your nearest bookstore, or visit www.battlecry.com for more information.