Movies and Television


  • The influence of the media is in our hands— and we will ultimately live with the consequences of our choices.
  • Since movies and TV are a big part of family life, television can either be a valuable tool for teaching, inspiring, communicating, and blessing lives; or it can be a destructive influence in the lives of children and families.
  • "What messages are being communicated to young viewers through the lens and language of reality television? 
"I think we were all surprised to see so much of all the negative, belittling language directed at women coming from other women.  It communicates the idea to girls that you can have no true girlfriends because your only goal in life is to find a man; and therefore, every other woman is a potential love rival, and therefore you can have no true female friendships."  (Melissa Henson, Parents Television Council, Director of Communications and Public Education, 2011)  '

"Of girls surveyed, regular reality TV viewers differ dramatically from their non-viewing peers in their expectations of peer relationships, their overall self-image, and their understanding of how the world works.  49% of the girls who regularly view reality TV said they are happier when they have a boyfriend or are dating someone - while only 28% of the non-viewing girls responded similarly."  (Girl Scouts Research Institute's 2011 survey, "Real to Me:  Girls and Reality TV," based on 1,141 interviews of girls age 11-17)   
  • The major motivation of the media is all about making money, rather than social and family awareness.  The media content of most radio, television, cable, videos, internet, music and magazines is laden with drugs, alcohol, sex and violence. The movie rating system is of little value today. Even the commercials are very seductive.  A reference to sex shows up every 4 minutes in prime-time TV.  Behaviors that once were seen as fringe, immoral or socially destructive (such as adultery, partner swapping and other non-married sex, pedophilia, pornography, voyeurism, strippers and other aspects of sexuality) are now accepted by the television industry, and children are absorbing and even imitating them.  
  • The media can choose to give moral, uplifting messages to people.  It can strengthen families, touch our emotions, guide, educate, teach, lift us, give us encouragement, and build humanity.  On the other hand, it can be a destructive influence in the family as it promotes violence, immorality, crime and hatred.  

Statistics
  • The average child watches television 4 hours/day, in addition to movies. 

  • Two-thirds of American children have televisions in their bedrooms--and that is a problem.  Teens and pre-teens often admit to watching programming that they know their parents would disapprove of. 
  • Children spend twice as much time in front of the television as they do the school teacher.
  • Viewing television has replaced the reading of short stories, novels, poetry, and non-fiction, creating a great imbalance in the education of children.
  • Most of the stories told to children are not told by parents, schools, churches or the community—but the media, regardless of the affect on children.
  • TV is redefining “normal.”  The 8 hours of television each day in the average home, is affecting family values.  Many accept television’s view of life as acceptable and the only way to look at life.  Families view shows depicting dysfunctional, toxic relationships which teach false ideas about concepts that lead to true happiness.
  • Most adults feel television does not affect their values; but research proves that it desensitizes both children and adults to real violence.  Families view images of violence 5 times an hour during prime time; and they view 2-3 murders each night.  
  • Violence programs children to resolve problems with violence, which affects everyone around them.   
What You Can Do
  • Change the media environment in your home.  Rather than throw out the TV, parents, schools, homes and community centers must become more media literate.  Remove televisions from bedrooms, and watch with your kids whenever possible. Agree that no one watches TV without 2 family members present.
  • Establish family media rules which also apply to the parents. 
  • Keep inappropriate material out of your home--offensive magazines, music, movies, TV programs, video games. 
  • Do not trust the rating system.  Use content blocking to control what children view on TV, and limit TV time.  Advertising today is defining the human connection almost entirely in terms of sex.  Most of the television programs, especially the sitcoms, are full of sexual content. This overemphasizes the relative importance of sex in our lives and de-emphasizes other important things such as friendship, loyalty, fun, children, family, and community.  Advertisers use sex to sell everything from cars to candy.  
  • Teach children the importance of the right kind of entertainment, including appropriate movies, videos, music, books and magazines.  Teach them the danger of pornography.   Avoid having any materials in your home which are lewd, obscene, pornographic or immoral.    
  • Control television time.  Spend as much time as possible with your children.  Don’t use television as a babysitter.  The average child today watches television 4 hours a day, in addition to other movies.  Many people turn it on and flip through all the channels to find the least objectionable program.  Families can leave the television off unless there is a specific reason to turn it on.  Shift TV from incidental viewing to intentional viewing.  
  • Turn the TV off for 2 weeks, and enjoy the quiet, peaceful atmosphere.  Children will enjoy playing and working together, and the entire family will talk more.   
  • Watch movies as a family, and discuss the messages. The classic movies are generally timeless and of enduring value, providing something more than mere entertainment.  Make family treats and sit down together to enjoy an age-appropriate family movie, such as A Christmas Carol, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Sound of Music, Anne of Green Gables, The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur....There are countless enjoyable family movies to choose from.  Interact with children as they view and discuss both commercials and programs.  Share your values with your children, either agreeing or disagreeing with what you see.  In addition, having a strong set of religious values becomes important in all forms of media—or children will learn and may accept those standards taught by the media. 
Additional Resources

  • VidAngel.  Vidangel lets you watch movies for only $1.  Since you own the movie, you can legally set your filters according to your preferences.  To learn more, view https://www.vidangel.com/

  • Utah Movie Mom.  This movie critique Mom is a parents' advocate concerning movie content.  She reviews G, PG and PG-13 rated movies to help parents know about the content in current movies as they are released in the theaters.  
    http://utahmoviemom.blogspot.com/

  • Pureflix is a streaming service from Christian movie studio Pureflix that produces, distributes, and acquires Christ-centered movies.  You should not find profanity or inappropriate content on this site, just wholesome, reliable entertainment for the entire family.  It’s available via Ipad, tablet, laptop or your TV.  PureFlix believes that given a choice, people want to be able to stream movies that carry a great message while being entertaining. (They charge a monthly fee.)   http://www.pureflix.com/    http://pureflixstudio.com/

  • Netflix has a "Faith and Spirituality" section.

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