If you aren’t actively overseeing which movies, shows, books and games your kids use for entertainment, you are possibly allowing them to be swayed by those who want them to believe ideas that run contrary to God’s commands and principles.
Satan wants parents to believe monitoring our kids’ entertainment is excessive and unnecessary. Yet, even the Bible points out the influence the things we expose ourselves to can have on our thoughts and our faith. If you are a Christian parent, you absolutely must take the time to find a way to keep your kids from consuming mass amounts of entertainment that will change their thinking and in some cases even the hard wiring of their brains.
Ratings are virtually useless for Christians. What is now considered acceptable for children and teens to watch would have been rated “R” or “X” even a few decades ago. So what do you need to consider before allowing your kids to consume a particular entertainment item?
- Language – This goes beyond just cursing. Watching entertainment where certain words are used can desensitize your kids so thoroughly, those words become a natural part of their vocabulary – even if they know they aren’t appropriate. Dialogue can also expose your kids to fully formed ideas and gradually convince your kids they are correct – even if they are the opposite of what God wants them to believe.
- Characters – Are characters not just living, but celebrating life choices that run contrary to God’s Will? Are they making tons of ungodly, sinful choices with few if any repercussions being shown? Are other characters celebrating and supporting the ungodly choices of one character as “brave” or “being ‘true’ to oneself”? If your kids grow to love and admire this character, most likely they will also grow to accept any moral or spiritual declarations the character makes as “truth”. Be careful, because in some entertainment even villains are celebrated as particularly intelligent, wise or savvy – encouraging people to adopt their habits.
- Plot – This one can actually be tough at times. Sometimes a plot portrays negative behaviors, yet also shows all of the negative consequences of making ungodly choices. A lot of your plot choices need to be based on the age of your kids. Young children and even pre-teens should have basically no exposure to violent or sexual content. It rewires their brains at a time when they are most actively growing and shaping permanent pathways. The area of the brain responsible for making choices is most actively changing during the teen years, causing many to advocate for teens to also have little if any exposure to violence and sexual content. When in doubt, let Philippians 4:8 be our guide.
- Themes. These are the areas most missed by parents. They are often subtly worked through the movie or show, so most people couldn’t really even name the themes. Just because you can’t list the themes of a movie or book though, doesn’t mean they haven’t influenced the consumer. Often, the underlying themes are actually the most dangerous to young minds and faith. Too much consumption of entertainment with themes of “parents are stupid” or “religion is stupid” can cause serious damage to your kids’ spiritual foundations.
Sorting through all of this every time your kids want to go to a movie or read a book can get overwhelming. Thankfully, there’s help. Try Plugged In for your information. It covers most of these topics in a variety of entertainment areas. You can search by title and they break everything down extremely thoroughly. It only takes a couple of minutes to read through the information and make informed decisions. Please take the time and research your kids’ entertainment. It influences them more than you realize.