Think you aren’t affected by media influence? Guess again. Your kids are on the frontlines of a battle that continues to rage and fester through social media, movies, books, and music. Know your enemy so that you and your children will be “in the world, not of the world!”
Carl Kerby, President and Founder of Reasons for Hope*, Inc. and former Founding Director at Answers in Genesis, asks the question in his book, Remote Control: the Power of Hollywood on Today’s Culture, “Do you know we have 400,000 churches and 6,000 theaters in our country? Now which one do you think impacts our country more?” Unfortunately, our churches are not the major influencers. Kerby further explains, “Hollywood would not spend billions of dollars to not try to indoctrinate you…Their goal is to get you to think like the world, and their tactics can be subtle.”
Back in my college days, when studying marketing and advertising as an undergraduate, I encountered a steady barrage of media assaults. Enough so that I changed my major to Fine Arts. What was so disheartening? The absolute disregard for truth, buried in a sea of consumer-manipulation. Don’t for one second think we are not influenced by what is marketed our way. From seemingly harmless end-cap displays in stores that would appear to be on sale but aren’t, to the magnificent, colorful packaging of processed chemicals we feed into our bodies, even the strongest, informed consumer is easily swayed. How much more can your children be affected and influenced?
So how are the subtleties so intricately woven into books and movies?
One technique book publishers use are “series books.” As a writing and literature teacher, I’m appalled at the quality of writing in those books; but that aside, the series book is a great way to “bait and switch.” In other words, diligent parents may read the first book and come to the conclusion that the storyline is great and it’s safe for their children to read. Guess what happens in the second book? That’s right…not three chapters in and your kids are reading porn, learning about evolution, seeing foul language, or witnessing violence. By that time, the child is hooked on the characters and not willing to let you know that the author has changed direction. Websites such as Redeemed Reader can help you find better choices, while other sites such as Common Sense Media provide extensive reviews.
Evolution, in fact, is also a subtle theme in movies. Carl Kerby points to The Incredibles, My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, Finding Nemo (and many others), as movies that indoctrinate and reinforce evolutionary concepts passed off as facts. He also reveals that television shows such as Friends and The Sopranos openly mock Christians and creationists. Those are just a few of the older shows; there are so many more. Even now, we are being sucker-punched with new shows like Angel from Hell and Living Biblically (this show was recently cancelled). Matt Walsh, popular blogger and columnist for The Daily Wire, states the situation best in his article “Christians, it’s simple: if that tv show won’t bring you closer to God – don’t watch it.” Biblically speaking, you are called to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 ESV)
How can we, as families, counter this media onslaught? In Philippians 4:8, Paul exhorts us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)
Here are some ways to counter the media attack:
- Process media together as a family! Watch movies together, view TV shows together, and read books together. Find the underlying subtleties and spark discussions that lead to spiritual growth. You can counter the negative effects of immodesty, foul language, wrong choices, and bad theology just by talking.
- Teach your children to avert their eyes! I cannot stress this enough. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV) That’s a promise I hold onto!
- Infuse kids with God’s Truth. Have them memorize His Word, put on the Armor of God, and permeate everything with the Truth. If you don’t homeschool, deprogram and infuse your kids when they get home.
- Surround yourself with strong Christian fellowship. Once upon a time, when my oldest daughter was in youth group, the pastor gave her an analogy she’ll never forget: “If you’re sitting on a chair, it’s harder to pull someone living in sin up than it is to be pulled down.” In other words, it’s not easy to resist blatant temptation by clinging to bad friendships.
- Serve in the church and other community gatherings. Show God’s love as a united family. Serving without compensation is a great way to mold your child’s heart.
- Teach apologetics so that your children can defend their faith. They can’t fight something they don’t know. Can you imagine a military force that didn’t study and understand it’s enemy? Will they have a chance of winning? No, no, and no!
I recently had the pleasure of watching my seventeen year old daughter lead a college friend to Christ. Parents, this is our heavenly treasure. Precious little brings me to tears, but having a front row seat to someone’s salvation is a show worth seeing. Stand firm and raise up godly men and women who will counter this media culture and make the world a better place for generations to come!
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Gina McAndrew is the contributing writer for this article. She is the Founder and Director of Potter’s Clay Applied Arts, a program that equips students to glorify God through the arts. She has been teaching art and written communications to students of all ages for 15+ years, focusing on the practical applications of these subjects. As a former upper-level manager and homeschool mom of four children, Gina continuously seeks to implement new and innovative ideas at Potter’s Clay.