This month’s video is on prompting conversations through TV shows and movies!

Television shows and movies are just two media that kids watch. Beyond that, network and cable television, DVDs, and online streaming providers increase access to media for your kids. This is the world they live in, and it’s likely not going to magically disappear. Rather than fearing what they could be exposed to, commit to teaching and training your child in the why—why it’s important to learn what is okay to watch and what isn’t.

Bob Waliszewski, the author of the book Plugged-In Parenting, offers a few ideas for parents who wish to take a proactive approach to the media.

Waliszewski suggests having an honest and ongoing discussion with your child about the importance of protecting their minds—he suggests having that conversation two times per year.

In that conversation, you can talk about how the Bible encourages people who follow Jesus to guard their minds and hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it” and Jesus taught in Matthew 15:19 that “out of the heart come evil thoughts . . .”

Help your child to understand that the things we put in our mind—words, images, ideas—drop down to our hearts. What comes out of our hearts reflects this. If we fill our minds with good things, what comes out is good. If we fill our minds with bad things, what comes out will likely be bad.

Brainstorm ways that as a family you can make decisions about what is okay to watch and what isn’t. You may have to steer your child toward what this “looks” like. Violence, language, and even how characters respect parents in a show could be standards for what is okay or not. Of course, you’ll have to adjust these standards as your child grows and matures.

The goal is to raise children that will begin to sense that conviction in their souls when they aren’t with you—and make good and wise decisions on their own that carry in to their teenage years and adulthood.

A ten-year review of research on the impact of media on children and adolescents revealed children learn behaviors and have their value systems shaped by the media (Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry). Rather than letting the media be what shapes their value systems, commit to making your home what shapes their value systems.

Partnering with you,

Parenting Class Video

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, suggestions or problems with these resources!

p.s. Watch for more help in part 2!