Two percent of American households owned a TV in 1949. Today, ninety-nine percent of American households have at least one television and two-thirds of our children have a television in their bedroom. Forty-nine percent of all Americans say they watch too much television. I grew up with three channels. My sons grew up with twenty-five channels and children today will grow up with 24-hour television and Internet streaming. I think it is safe to say that television has changed our culture.
Almost every week Oprah told the world that marriage was outdated, homosexuality was an acceptable lifestyle, and pregnancy was a woman’s choice. (She did, however, offer great advice for high thread count sheets and towels and the best makeup and skin care products!) I don’t want to give Oprah too much credit, but I am convinced she helped raise a generation of women to believe that the Bible was not as wise as their own “personal truth.”
Television and the Internet have been important to our world. We can know and understand what is happening throughout the world. A holocaust couldn’t happen, undetected and unaffected, again. On the other hand, knowing the criminal acts of national leaders makes everyone accountable for what they know to be true. Prejudice is less likely when we have knowledge and understanding, but television can also create prejudice as well.
If we were able to wave a wand and remove the invention of television, what would our culture look like today? Should parents find a wand and wave it over their households while they have the chance? Do you find yourself hitting the mute button, recording television shows and watching a lot of HGTV these days? I’m a huge fan of Fixer Upper. My house still looks the same, but I do like to see what Chip and Joanna Gaines do for other people. A lot of our prime time television would have carried an “R” movie rating thirty-five years ago.
In a study done last November, these were the statistics about television and our American kids:
- The average child watches 1480 minutes of television each week.
- Fifty-four percent of four- to six-year-olds said they preferred television to spending time with their dads.
- American youth spend 900 hours in school and 1200 hours watching TV.
- By the time a child is eighteen he or she will have viewed 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence on TV.
- A child will see 16,000 thirty-second commercials each year.
My children are grown, but when asked what I would do differently as a parent, my answer is always, “I would have limited my boys’ television and movie watching.” I wish I could suggest how to do that. Truthfully, many of you reading these words are going to have better ideas. My son is doing a much better job than his mom and dad did!
So I am going to keep this article short and ask for your help. Please follow this link to the conversation on this topic and share your ideas, rules, and any other thoughts you might have on this subject. I think today’s generation of Christian parents are going to do a much better job than my generation did to protect their children from media.
Thank you for reading and for taking the time to help one another with your ideas. I’m looking forward to reading your comments! Again, here is the link to this important conversation.