The Information Battle
I went to a play one time and as I settled into my seat, a person walked on stage.
“You are reminded that this play contains some foul language and sexually suggestive language. Therefore, people seventeen and under should not view this play.”
The lady walked off the stage and I wondered what kind of play I signed up to watch. It was a musical comedy called, “Young Frankenstein.” I had seen the movie when I was in my early twenties, when I was not a Christian, and thought it hilarious.
As I observed many children in the theater from ages ten and up, I shook my head at what they were seeing. As a Christian, I could see the thematic faults that might beguile young minds to think of them as normal thought patterns that resulted in a funny life, and not a true picture of lives thrown into turmoil and misery, ultimately to be destroyed by the values presented.
“But it’s a comedy,” someone might say.
That is true. And humor is often used powerfully to make light of dire circumstances, but it does not alleviate the problems it presents. And young children cannot clearly discern the hidden messages and differentiate between the terrible true consequences compared to the false innocuous outcomes jokingly portrayed by actors according to the play-writer and producer’s intent.
The Power of Advertising and the Media
You and your children are bombarded constantly with a flow of information, some of which you can control and some you cannot. When your child is young, you must choose what you and they will see and hear.
When I was a child, I was taught to read the newspaper and keep up with the news to be an informed citizen. I sucked it all in, accepting it as truth. I was not allowed to see certain movies that contained adult content. My parents showed concern for what entered my mind.
A child absorbs what they hear and see as truth, unless they are taught the art of skeptical inquiry. Teach them this practice until they can do it well and you will have given them the ability, with the Holy Spirit’s power and insights, to free themselves from the enticing draw of the black hole of the world’s values.
Remember how the Bereans took Paul’s preaching and compared it with the Scriptures before they believed? Like them, you and your family should examine what the world’s media message is saying in light of your source of values. For Christians, that value source is the Bible.
In my mid-thirties, I found out that newspapers, journalists, and advertisers target certain age groups or other discrete parts of the populace to get them to buy their products or ideas. I realized that I was the one opening the door to let the information flow into my eyes, ears, and mind however it was packaged. I had not been practicing skeptical inquiry.
I was influenced through television commercials to smoke cigarettes because it was cool. Remember the Marlburo Man on his horse in the sunset? It took me five years to quit. I was taught that it was okay to go to the saloon and drink because that’s what John Wayne’s characters did in his movies. For over twenty years I completely abstained from alcohol to rid myself of this problem. I was persuaded to do many things by the people I associated with and the information the world pressed into my mind and heart, because I didn’t realize I was in a war.
Combating the World’s Media Blitz.
As Christians, we begin our defense against the world by looking at what the Bible says.
The Bible says we are to be in the world and not of the world. Therefore, we aren’t supposed to completely shut ourselves off to what happens in this world. We aren’t supposed to segregate ourselves from non-believers because we were once like they were until we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior.
However, there is a difference between one who knows what is happening when encountering negative worldly influences and one who is unaware. The unknowing person lets the world completely convince them their values are what is right.
1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
Techniques for Combating the World’s Media Blitz.
I strongly recommend Media Talk 101, which Pastor Philip Telfer, a friend of mine, has created. Take time to check it out (Website below in Resources.).
He explains how children are essentially brainwashed by worldly values through a variety of media devices. He also provides techniques that allow kids to separate themselves from that media for a short time so they can regain control of their minds and hearts. He has more solutions that I can list here, but some of them include:
- Use the child protection controls on games, TV’s, and phones.
- Never let your child’s computer search the Internet without activating the child protective controls.
- Regularly check you child’s Internet search history to look for problems.
- Have your child go to a camp where they cannot use cell-phones or media of any type.
Determine how you will gradually release the controls over information flow to your child and monitor their ability to handle this responsibility well until you are satisfied or they depart your home on their own.
- Media Talk 101 website: http://www.mediatalk101.org/
- Download Bible apps onto your child’s phone. Try Logos, YouVersion Bible, or Gateway Bible. There are also others. Pick what works for you.
Next month we charge into the final and most serious challenge—relational control. Dr. Dobson, in his book Solid Answers, guides us by shining a light on areas of thought we can pursue while raising our strong-willed children.