Innocent Indoctrination: Guarded Media Viewing

As if anyone has not noticed, we live in a fast pace media blitz culture. Our children are overloaded with sights and sounds that, even in the most sheltered homes, can be antagonistic to peace and serenity in the home. Like a small number of Christian homes, we do not watch T.V. The media that we do have is screened through a thin filter. One reason we do this, of many, is because of the powerful medium that media holds. Media teaches, indoctrinates, and influences like no other. Are we aware of the anti-biblical indoctrination streaming through the tube that can cause severe cavitations in the souls of our children?
For too long, we have approached and viewed media, be it movies, T.V., computer or music, with an unguarded spirit. Many of us have noticed a shift in our own standards as we have welcomed children into our home. Once our baby becomes a young child that can talk and imitate, we suddenly find ourselves more aware of what he sees and hears. However, many times parents still consider most children’s media innocent.
Be it cartoons, Disney, or PBS, the majority of modern children’s media build foundations of anti-biblical thinking and worldview in young impressionable children. We must guard the hearts and minds of our children and give them foundations founded upon Biblical rock instead of cultural sand.
There is, however, children’s media available for the discerning parent. We are careful to shelter our young children from ungodly influences in regards to assaulting media. It is a difficult task. As these children grow, we do believe our children need to be able to pick out those flaws in media and learn to view everything through a Biblical-worldview lens, and not to watch unguarded.
Recently I listened to filmmaker Geoff Botkin. He said,

Even the most shallow film teaches volumes because film is a didactic medium. It is not only influential, it is weighty with lessons. Because it is a preceptive art, it is a curriculum in itself. It dictates the terms of culture and the terms of understanding culture. Every frame influences the mind, illustrates theological doctrines and directs moral or immoral conduct. Every film is a religious treatise. Every film is a theological weapon because it is loaded with aesthetic elements.

For more on this topic: Hollywood’s Most Despised Villain
In discussing the topic of children’s media and the T.V., wholesome media is often something parents can support. To broaden the subject a bit more, I would like to suggest that even good media in excess can be unwise. Children are not made to sit in front of a T.V. or computer for hours on end each day. I believe it dampens their creativity and dulls the mind.
If you have not ever conducted a “media fast” in your home, you may be surprised at how difficult it is to go without for a period of time. Here are the how to’s on How To conduct a media fast in your home:

1.) Turn off the T.V. – actually….. unplug it.
2.) Do not watch T.V., Videos or play video games for a set amount of time. One week is a good start!
3.) Shut off the computer games and computer video viewing as well.
4.) Tape a list of things to do to the screen of your T.V. — This will remind you and the children of the fast. It is amazing how automatic it is just to flip the T.V. on just as if you were flipping on lights. It is so ingrained in most people.
5.) Gather the family and explain that you are fasting T.V. and Videos for a set amount of time. Explain the reasons why. Explain what you will be doing instead.

I am not advocating “never watch another DVD again”. I do not advocate fasting from reading or looking at books because I believe this sort of media is on a different level from the electronic media. I am advocating guarded media viewing and occasional media fasting. You will not realize how much you rely on “media” until you try to go without it for a few days! Instead, use the time to practice a useful skill, instill creative play or productive work in and with your children.

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