Thursday, December 04, 2008

USA TODAY: TV and Internet Harm Kids

I just saw a tagline for a blog that said children now spend an average of 45 hours per week immersed in the media. That's a scary thought, really, if you believe (as I do) that most of our media has a very secular and even anti-Christian bias. What are you doing, then, to protect your children from the anti-Christian influence of our culture?

USA Today writes:

Parents and policymakers need to take action to protect children from being harmed by TV, the Internet and other types of media, a report says.

Researchers have done individual studies for years to learn how media affect children. A review released today, which analyzed 173 of the strongest papers over 28 years, finds that 80% agree that heavy media exposure increases the risk of harm, including obesity, smoking, sex, drug and alcohol use, attention problems and poor grades.

Some of the links are particularly strong. For example, 93% of studies found that children with greater media exposure have sex earlier. Authors say the soundest studies are those linking media use with obesity, while the evidence linking media exposure to hyperactivity is weaker.

The study provides overwhelming evidence of the importance of limiting children's use of media and teaching them to critically evaluate the ever-growing volume of text, images and sounds with which they are bombarded, says co-author Ezekiel Emanuel of the National Institutes of Health. He says the report also urges Hollywood and technology makers to create entertainment that is less toxic and more family-friendly.

Let me suggest just a few things that you can do to benefit your children and aid them in their spiritual journey.

1. Limit TV time. Of course, limitations mean censoring as well. Just because it comes on TV does not mean it has to come on in your house...

2. Limit Computer Time. This probably goes without saying, but too much time in front of a computer is not a good thing. You should also have filtering and accountability software installed on all of your computers to protect every member of your family.

3. Family Devotions. When specific times are set aside for family devotions, your children are being immersed in a Christian worldview.

4. Eat Together. I've written about this here, but suffice it to say that family meals are a proven benefit in the lives of your children (and in contributing to the health of your family).

5. Attend Church Together. Does this one need explanation?

6. Encourage Extracurricular Activities. Sports, dance, band, whatever it may be, get your kids involved in activities that benefit them socially and otherwise.

7. Play Together. That's right, play together. Find an activity you can do together as a family, the TV is not adequate family bonding.

The TV and computer are not intended to be your babysitters. As parents, you have been given the responsiblity to raise your children, so take your responsibility seriously or your children will reap the neagtive rewards of your failure.
Albert Mohler's comments on this article.

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