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The Devil’s Playground – The influence of media on youth (Part 1: Call to action)

Opinion/Resources/Christian Perspective
By Jenna Ditsch

Photo: Deposit

In today’s media-saturated culture, the influence of media on the impressionable minds of youth cannot be overstated. Researchers in the field of neuroscience are sounding the alarm regarding the hidden dangers of how media affects the developing brains of children. As Christian parents, we must not ignore such warnings.

It is crucial that we understand the implications of a child’s media diet on his or her mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Shaping Young Minds

From movies to music, the content our children consume plays a significant role in shaping their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, actions, and decisions. Repeated exposure to media content can lead to neural pathways being strengthened, making it more likely for those ideas and messages to be accepted and internalized. This means that the movies and music our children watch and listen to are not merely entertainment; they are actively shaping their identity and worldview.

There is a worrisome link between exposure to violent media and harmful behaviors in youth. For instance, violent or explicit content in movies and music can desensitize youth to harmful behaviors and attitudes, leading children to turn away from the values parents work so hard to instill. Research published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, for instance, found that children who watched violent television shows were more likely to engage in aggressive behavior later in life. Similar studies showed that adolescents exposed to violent video games exhibited increased aggression and decreased empathy. In fact, the medical community purports that media violence is a strong factor in real-life violence and aggression. 

The Promotion of Evil in Media

The promotion and open celebration of evil and darkness in Hollywood and the media pose a grave threat to young and impressionable minds. Explicit depictions of evil are pervasive and insidious. From movies to music, the glorification of evil and darkness permeates our entertainment landscape. However, we must not ignore the subtle normalization of sinful behavior. In many Hollywood productions, the devil shows up not just as a villain or a seductive and alluring figure, but as the hero of the story, planting desires in the minds of audiences for power, wealth, and pleasure. 

The problem isn’t just with what we watch—it’s also present in what we hear. Many musicians have surpassed the rank of role model (although they often model the complete opposite of Biblical truths) and have reached the status of an idol in the hearts of millions of youths. Some of these musicians have quite literally sold their souls to the devil in exchange for their success, fame, and influence. These pop stars have become portals—open doorways from the demonic realm—straight into your child’s earphones, screens, and devices—and if we are not careful—straight into their hearts.

Whether it’s through overt depictions of demonic rituals or more subtle themes of moral ambiguity and relativism, the devil’s influence is becoming more tangible by the day. Scripture warns against engaging with occult practices and idolatry, urging believers to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Ephesians 5:11). 

Building Strong Foundations is Crucial

Don’t get me wrong—I think we need to pray for Hollywood’s unholy. But we must not neglect the holiness that we are called to steward in the lives of our own children. In this day and age, darkness no longer lurks “just out there.” The enemy wants the darkness to be the “new normal” in your home. We live in a day where darkness is called light and evil is called good. Even if you are laying down a firm, Biblical foundation for your children, let’s not forget that building this foundation takes consistency over time. If our kids’ brains are being wired more by the world’s culture and media than by God’s culture and Word, then the foundation being laid is called, “mixture.” 

This fragile foundation leaves our children vulnerable to the enemy’s plans and purposes. We must protect our kids from evil—while at the same time equipping them to know how to fight against it. The Bible has a lot to say on this topic which we will continue exploring over the next few blogs where I’ll share some practical tips, but for today, let’s focus on this simple yet powerful strategy: As you teach your children not to partake in what is evil, also model for them how to do good. 

Pray It, Say It, Show It 

One way you can do this is by promoting media that aligns with Godly values. By actively seeking out and endorsing movies, music, and other forms of media that align with God’s Word, you can contribute to a cultural landscape that reflects the beauty and truth of the Gospel. But I must mention this sobering warning: it doesn’t matter how much we promote God on social media or at school board meetings if we are not modeling and fostering godly living in our own homes.

As Christian parents, we must not merely identify what is wrong (or tell our children what not to do) but model what is good. What shows do your children see you watching? What music do they hear you listening to? Are you compromising your own media diet while you preach to them about theirs? 

We must pray for discernment and wisdom as we navigate the cultural landscape and seek to counteract the devil’s agenda. We stand firm in our faith when we live out our faith. Let us heed the words of Philippians 4:8 and focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

While it may be tempting to dismiss media as harmless entertainment, we cannot ignore its powerful influence on our children. As Christians, it is our duty to be vigilant guardians of our youth, guiding them away from the snares of darkness and towards the light of Christ by what we say—and how we live. This means actively monitoring the content they consume and engaging them in critical discussions about the messages portrayed. It also entails providing alternative forms of entertainment and media that promote values consistent with our faith.

Stay Tuned For My Next Blog About Nightmares and Day Terrors

You won’t want to miss my next blog where I cover what just about every parent has had to—or will face: Nightmares and Day Terrors. What do we do when our kids suffer from bad dreams that just won’t stop and fearful, worrisome, or tormenting thoughts? As a woman who suffered from postpartum anxiety and as a mother of a son diagnosed with autism and a highly sensitive daughter, I want to share with you what didn’t work, what God taught me, and what did work!





The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team. 



“No pain, no gain,” as the old saying goes. But what about when there seems like there’s a lot of pain—but no gain? Meet Jenna, an ordinary single mom, who had an extraordinary experience from “graveyard to garden” in the midst of a traumatic life collapse. In the span of a few weeks, she lost her husband, a close family member, her house, her job, and her dreams for the future. Jenna had reached the end of herself and had nothing left but a desperate plea for help, knowing that without supernatural intervention, she wouldn’t survive.

Jenna had a spiritual encounter in which she learned how the graveyard of all that had died in her life could in fact be the rich soil of a garden in which a new future could be grown.

Jenna is a versatile, forward-thinking strategist with extensive experience in education, writing, ministry, and coaching who desires to help the overwhelmed parent, educator, or writer desiring creative alternatives to “one-size-fits-all” parenting, education, and publishing.

 If you long for more but feel stuck settling for less, join Jenna on the journey to find God’s way through. Visit her website for more information!

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