Like the rest of the country my mind has been turned to the horrific tragedy that occurred this weekend in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This massacre was such an unthinkable and despicable act of evil that was carried out by, in my opinion, Satanic influences.
Much debate as centered around the mental illness of the murderer. While I do believe there are forms of illnesses that contribute to mental deficiencies, we cannot negate the very fact that there is indeed a present evil that possesses the hearts of those who yield to Satanic influences. Luke 6:45 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil.” Paul warned us that the greatest battle in this world is that which exist “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
It has been widely reported by the press that the murderer was heavily involved in video gaming. While I know this is not the sole contribution to his act of evil, it is no doubt a contributor to the violence and evil our children are susceptible to each and every day.
Parents must be diligent in protecting our children from the avenues Satan uses to intensify evil in the heart of human life.
As these reports surfaced the Lord used this to speak to my heart as a parent about media and entertainment in our home. Kathleen and I want to be extremely careful that we do not allow media venues to corrupt the minds of our children. There are three principles to keep in mind when it comes to media and our children.
1. Investigate and regulate every form of media coming into your home.
Video games, music, internet, television, movies, etc. As a parent you not only have the right, but the responsibility to investigate and regulate every form of media in the home. I grew up on game systems. To be quite honest, if they made it, we had it. Nintendo’s, Sega’s, PlayStation’s, etc. I might not have been then, but I am thankful now that my parents were very involved in what we played. Our parents wanted to know what we were playing, the plot of our game, and whether or not it could hinder our spiritual and mental development. I am convinced that the majority of parents have no clue about the video games their children are playing, or the music they listen to on their iPod, or the people they interact with on Facebook. Don’t assume that just because your child is a good kid that they will not dabble with questionable and potentially damaging entertainment. Investigate and regulate!
2. Implement strict times of daily or weekly media usage in the home.
A damaging approach to media in the home is a no boundaries approach. There must be guidelines and should begin with the time your children participate in the entertainment. Consider these suggestions:
- Put a time limit on gaming and internet usage per day (i.e. 30 minutes a day).
- Limit any gaming during the week and schedule specific times on the weekend.
- Do not isolate media venues. Have gaming set up in the family room. No private internet in the bedroom or password protection on their devices.
- Randomly check the content on your child’s iPod or musical device, Facebook, and social networks.
- Replace your child’s desire for media entertainment by scheduling fun family time.
- Share your guidelines with grandparents who will help you be consistent with your children.
3. Refuse to allow media to become a replacement for parenting.
It’s not always intentional, and it’s mostly gradual; however, it’s always detrimental. You see, media has often become a babysitter for weak parenting. I admit. I’m amazed that my 1 year old already knows how to operate “Angry Birds.” I will be first to acknowledge that when mom is not home the easiest thing for me to do is turn on “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” Kathleen and I will certainly allow our children to enjoy these things, but always in moderation and never in replacement of my parental responsibility.
If we are not careful we will put a movie in instead of spending time with our kids. We’ll throw them a gameboy instead of disciplining them to sit still and learn how to listen. I’m not saying that media is wrong within itself, but don’t rely on some toy or game to control your kids. Parents control their kids!
Our kids need to learn how to sit still and listen without the distraction of a video game system.
In a church, you can always tell what homes are absent of discipline when it comes to entertainment. The answer of sitting our kids down in front of movie or handing them a gameboy has ruined the attention span of this generation to listen to adults, respect authority, and give the Lord their attention. We parents must think about this and set some parameters for what we allow and do not allow in our children’s entertainment life. We cannot let media replace our responsibilities as parents.
May the Lord help us to be sensitive about each of these areas of our children’s life as we grow in grace and seek His will in our principles for parenting, and do everything we can to protect them from Satan’s influences in the entertainment world.