Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Monitoring Media Consumption Update

After I reviewed Media Talk 101 I shared about how I was going to start limiting Gesserine's media. Since then I have unintentionally happened upon other sources that reinforce the fact that too much media is not a good thing. It's not like I already didn't know that but I didn't really seem to live it out.

One of those resources was the movie Gifted Hands - The Ben Carson Story. I know it is funny that I keep using media to learn about the dangers of media, but hey, it has its benefits too! Anyway, Ben Carson's story is fascinating. The part that is relevant to media is that he was raised by a single mother. Ben struggled in school and actually thought that he was stupid. Then one day his mother, who didn't know how to read herself, made him and his brother basically cut out television and instead go and read books at the library. They were then required to write a book report about what they read and she pretended to read them. Ben Carson, who once thought he was stupid, ended growing up to be one the most brilliant minds today making strides in neurological medicine that were extraordinary! His mother knew the true impact of what life was like without the benefits of a good education. Instead of giving up and passing on the same problem to her child, she found a better way for her sons. In doing so she proved she was wiser than most of the mothers of her day!

Then more recently I was listening to Ravi Zacharias speak about Mind Games in a World of Images and it was a powerful illustration of how the media of our day has impacted our culture and basically infiltrated the church. He quoted Dostoyevsky who prophetically stated:
"First art will imitate life, then life will imitate art, then life will take the very meaning of its existence from art."
This is exactly what is happening in our culture today! That is why society has traded in the first amendment right to freedom of religion and replaced it with a freedom of promiscuity. From abortion, to gay marriage, to free birth control, and other such movements the driving principle seems to be that our rights to act selfishly outweigh the rights of others to exercise their freedom of religion. It has been the arts, mainly through the form of media, that has driven this agenda and the church has not only sat back and watched it, we let it influence us!

Through all of this I have found myself spending less time on media too. That also goes for social media because I am frustrated with what I see as well as how much time it consumes. I have also joined the adult library reading program and for the first year I seem to have enough time to read. Imagine that! However, even books can influence our thinking so what you read is important as well.

What I wanted to do was let you know how the media monitoring was going with Gess. Actually, it's great! The Media Clip idea I had seems to have just the right balance for us.

It has actually become second nature to Gess. She no longer just goes to use media, she asks if she can spend a clip first. Then if she does she sets the 30 minute timer all by herself! We actually let her set it for 35 because we know it takes time to turn on the game system or computer and get started. When she runs out of clips for the week she knows she is done. Sometimes she spends them all early so she goes without any for a few days. There are other times she is good about spacing them out and during really busy weeks she has several left.

As with anything there are exceptions to the rule as this is not a legalistic exercise but rather it is about trying to teach her about moderation.  When we are traveling Gess gets more music and time on her tablet. On a really lazy and rainy Saturday we may give her a bit more time but generally speaking she gets one hour of music and 2 1/2 hours of other media (video games, computer, and television) each week. That is it.

The best part is that Gess doesn't mind nor does she seem to miss it. When the timer goes off she is super quick to shut down and heads off to do something else. She really doesn't seem to miss it and since her time is limited so is her frustration when she is playing. It's hard to get frustrated when you have been playing a game for 30 minutes. Its when you have been playing longer and still can't get past something that it gets irritating!

Because society gets its very meaning of life from various forms of media they will think this approach is drastic and extreme. They will continue to question those of us who have children who don't know who Justin Beiber and Lindsay Lohan even are. They will want to regulate our methods of education even though our methods are better because to them, our children are weird.

This happens even in my own family. My mother often gets frustrated with me because I don't let Gess listen to the same music she does. To her, country music is wholesome and I shouldn't be bothered when my daughter comes home singing about a red solo cup. It's a cup after all. It's just a cup. Let us forget about the fact that the entire point of the song is that the cup should be filled with beer so you can party and get drunk, or that questionable language is used and my daughter is only 12. It's just a fun song, by societies standards anyway. It's not by mine.

So while society is drinking from their red solo cups and basically wasting their life away as they strive to be normal and in the know, our children will become the Ben Carsons who focus their time and energy on learning things that really matter. In fact, the one thing that matters more than anything is a persons spiritual state. Media is simply here to distract us from that. To make us forget about it. To make sure we do not have time to consider what the eternal consequences are for our actions. There are eternal consequences and yet the world goes on as if there are not. That is the destruction media has wrought upon us.

We are in a battle and we will not win the battle if we surround ourself with the enemies biggest and strongest weapon. let alone give our children over to it!  Again, I am not saying that you can't have any media. I am not saying to give up everything, but we have to be wise, we have to be smart, and we have to spend our time and energy on things that matter. What comes into our homes influences us. What goes into our minds, influences us. Let us make sure we fill them with things that will be for our good.
Matthew 10:16 "I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves"

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