This past week we enjoyed our first camping trip as a family. One day we took a five mile bike ride on the Cape Cod Bike Trail that led us into the quaint little town of Orleans. We were thrilled to come upon an awesome coffee shop called The Hot Chocolate Sparrow.
When I tell you this place was AWESOME, it was! Homemade candy, ice cream, pastries, a barista whirling up all kinds of frozen coffee drinks, wifi access, soups, sandwiches and…
a rack of greeting cards with some of the most unimaginable filth on the front of them right in the middle of all that coffee shop goodness.
Peter and I both commented that we live in a world that has gone stark, raving mad.
We are the kind of parents who protect our kids from as much trash as we can. We ban, we shield, we block, we say NO.
This translates into our kids not playing the latest video games, or seeing current blockbuster movies, listening to current music and limited internet access. Why? Because we like to be mean and say no?
No, because Sometimes what is best for our child’s long-term good means that in the short term we do the hard, unpopular thing. (<—Click to Tweet) I am not called to be my child’s friend at all costs, although that will eventually come. I am called to guide them. Parenting means that I might have to be the bad guy for a time.
I used to feel badly for the kids in Muslim ruled countries who were surrounded by death and car bombs, jihad and beheadings as part of their normal lives. This was just the culture they live in, poor kids.
But I now feel badly for American kids who by CHOICE are allowed to watch these things as entertainment. Which is worse?
We don’t feed our kids’ bodies trash, and we refuse to feed their spirits trash either.
S*x on the TV and in movies seems to be our cultures norm. In fact, there is a feeding frenzy for the most disturbing, twisted junk imaginable. (Don’t believe me? See how much p*rn is created each year vs. wholesome children’s movies. And if you really want to be disturbed, realize that much of that is child p*rn.)
And it doesn’t end there. Dysfunctional topics like glorified revenge, sexual perversions, violence and morbid themes in our kids “games” and “entertainment” are flooding the market. (Why this fascination with zombies and vampires, death and the occult. Aren’t kids games supposed to be happy and fun?)
Some facts from Common Sense Media:
- Media violence is especially damaging to children under 8 because they cannot easily tell the difference between real life and fantasy (American Academy of Pediatrics, 1995).
- Research indicates that when they are exposed to media violence, kids can become more aggressive, become insensitive to violence, have more nightmares, and develop a fear of being harmed (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2001).
- A sample of 77 PG-13-rated films included 2,251 violent actions, with almost half resulting in death (UCLA, 2007).
Filth on the front of magazines is as “normal” as choosing paper or plastic in the checkout lines. The topics on the front of these magazines should make any wholesome person blush. (I am one of those moms who turns inappropriate magazine covers in the check out lane at the grocery store when they are at eye level with my impressionable little ones. Then I complain to the store manager. )
Some studies say that up to 40% of kids are engaged in s*xting on their cell phones. Why does your 10-year-old need a smart phone again? Don’t get me wrong, I understand wanting them to have one from a safety standpoint, but what about their spiritual safety? In my day, we were concerned about predators stealing away kids in their vans and harming them. Now, the predator is just a text away on your kids cell phone.
How do you protect your kids from such junk? How do you stop your child from being pulled down the sewer of society’s norms and keep them wholesome?
1. Can I suggest that you turn off your television? Or seriously monitor it? There are so many other things in life your child could be doing.
2. Have your computer in a common area, where there is accountability. No computers, handhelds with internet access, or smart phones in bedrooms. End of discussion. Keep a basket on the counter for all handheld devices. Kids see more p*rn on their phones than on a computer. Our famous line is “We don’t trust the flesh, so we don’t make provisions for it.” This keeps it from being an “us” vs. “you” issue. We are all in the same boat.
3. Just say NO to violent, s*xual, or disturbing video games. Phil 4:8 gives us some guidelines:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
And Proverbs 3:7
As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
You and your kids become what you are thinking about, and what you are thinking about is exposed in your entertainment choices.
4. Replace video entertainment with something wholesome. You can’t just say No and not offer an alternative. Take a walk, play a board game, encourage a sport or hobby or just go do something as a family. You are the parent, and you are responsible for what goes on in your home.
5. Pray for discernment. Really, if you are not sure, ask for wisdom from God. (James 1:5)
When your kids are begging because all their friends are doing it, pray for steadfastness to raise them in a way that would show that you care more about doing right before God as a parent than what your kid wants right now, what other parents say is fine, or what the culture thinks is normal.
In the end, you stand alone before God for the choices you made for your family.
Do you feel like your family is living counter culturally? What do you do to protect them at each stage?
(I use an asterisk in some word for those of you with family friendly filters set up.)