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Frantic Parents

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Frantic Parents

Family Circle magazine recently conducted a nationwide poll concerning TV programming. Seventy-seven percent of those polled said TV is overloaded with sex. With this 77% being the voice of the world, how should the church respond?

The results didn’t surprise Randall Murphree, who monitors entertainment for the American Family Association. "We have seen over the past several seasons the sexual content grow more graphic." And all stops are to be pulled in the upcoming season.

Rich Noyes, with the Media Research Center, meantime, said even early time-slot programs are overloaded with sex. "If 10 is the worst, there’s an awful lot of shows out there that are sevens, eights, and nines."

However, a survey of church members would probably be something like…"Oh, its not so bad; I see more flesh on the streets. After all, you can turn it off if you don’t like it. I just watch the news anyway. People who say hard things about TV are a bunch of radicals."

But–looking at the survey–if so many people think these shows are bad, why are they so popular? Murphree said people simply say one thing and do another. Robert Peters of Morality in Media, suggests, "I think the average American to some extent is just plain addicted to television."

Consider a few facts. There are 95 million households in America with televisions, which means more households own TV sets than telephones. Sixty-five percent of those homes have at least two TVs, which on average are turned on seven hours a day. The typical child watches 25 hours of television every week. That is more time than most of them spend attending religious services, talking to their parents, reading books, or even listening to their teachers. Many kids spend more time watching television than any other activity except sleeping.

No one can seriously deny the potential influence that kind of constant exposure carries with it. And because of that power, those responsible for television programming do not just mirror, but also mold, attitudes and behaviors. Whether they want the responsibility or not, they are influencing values. Degrading programs contribute to–not cause, but contribute to–the moral and social breakdown we are suffering.

So many studies have documented the threat posed by steady exposure to violence on television that the point should not even be subject to debate. But to add yet another voice to the mix, consider this passage from a stunning article Adam Walinsky wrote last year in the Atlantic Monthly, in which he warned of a coming generation of "superfelons" who, when they mature, will likely make the cities of today look peaceful: "These young people have been raised in the glare of ceaseless media violence and incitement to every depravity of act and spirit. Movies may feature scores of killings in two hours time, vying to show methods ever more horrific. Major

corporations make and sell records exhorting their listeners to brutalize Koreans, rob store owners, rape women, kill police. These lessons are being taught to millions of children as I write and you read."

The media’s messages are not transforming these young people into killers, Walinsky says, but they are feeding into a cycle of violence that is getting harder and harder to break and that has dire repercussions for our country. Much the same could be said about the effect of sexual messages sent to our children. No single show is corrupting America’s youth, or creating the epidemic of teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. But television as a whole says over and over to our children that sex is as devoid of consequences as a game of charades, and they are missing out on something great if they don’t have sex right away. It is hardly surprising, then, that a recent poll of kids aged 10 to 16 found that nearly two-thirds believe TV encourages them to become sexually active.

If you still doubt the influence that television wields, just listen to America’s parents. Many are frantic. Many parents feel they are locked in a struggle with the powerful forces of the electronic culture to shape their children’s values–and that they’re losing. They feel that television and the culture undermine their fundamental duty as a parent–teaching right and wrong, instilling a sense of discipline–and that their kids’ lives are increasingly controlled by these careless TV strangers a world away.

What is so bizarre about all this is that these same parents would call you a radical nut if, upon their testimony, you decided you should raise your children without television (as many Americans have). And you, dear reader, may be inclined to agree. This is difficult to understand. One would think you would hear an…"Alright!!–Good for you!!...I don’t have the discipline myself to move it out, but if you can, go for it." But the only word heard is "radical."

Television is seducing the kids, changing their values, whetting their sexual appetites, making them insensitive to the most horrific, murderous crimes imaginable. It is destroying parental influence, corrupting wholesome family time, and glamorizing unimaginable depravity. It represents fathers and mothers (especially fathers) as bungling idiots, the family as a drag, the church undeserving of respect, and preachers as either unmitigated hypocrites or muddle-minded fools. It deserves no place in the home. Television is winning the war. But once it finds a place in the home, the election to remove it (probably the most immediate and responsible solution to the problem) is not even considered a viable option. Complain, lament, weep, but don’t even consider moving it out!

–Original Source Unknown, Adapted



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