There is a lot of junk out there for kids to absorb. TV, music, movies, video games, the internet are all have messages, both good and bad. So how do you help your child decide what messages are okay to listen to, and which should be ignored? Here are a few ideas….
1. Plugged In Online – There are a several good sites out there that review media, but one of my favorites is www.pluggedin.com. Plugged In Online provides reviews for movies, videos, TV, music, video games, you name it. This site, which is put out by Focus on the Family, highlights the positives and negatives in each of its reviews, including whether there is swearing, sexual or inappropriate scenes, spiritual content, and more. In my opinion, Plugged In Online gives parents a balanced perspective to help them decide what their kids should be tuning in to.
2. Parent Link – This resource is put out by Calvary (with the help of Group Publishing) almost every month. Each issue is packed with articles containing all sorts of parenting advice, but there is always a page dedicated to reviewing new movies, music, and video games. Look for a new edition in your bulletin this week.
3. Talk to Your Kid – No fancy website or brochure here to help you as a parent guide your kid to making wise media choices, just old fashioned conversation. Perhaps rather than just flat out telling your kid they can’t watch that TV show, or go see that movie, take the time to explain why. Explain your convictions. Bring your faith into the conversation. Don’t just control your child and tell them they can’t go, but take the time to fully explain why you are taking this stance. Try to win them over to your opinion. Try to influence them, not just control them.
4. Limit Your Child’s Media Intake – Even if the content isn’t bad, the quantity can still be harmful. Some studies show that the average kid spends 8 hours a day consuming media! Impose some boundaries on your child’s media intake. I know one family that had a rule that for every minute their kids wanted to play a video game, they had to read their Bible for a minute before they even picked up the controller. Tell your kids to turn off the TV and go outside and play, to go read a book, or to actually go hang out with a friend as opposed to “talking” to them on Facebook all the time.
These are just a few quick ideas for making sure your kids make wise choices when it comes to the media they consume. What else can parents do to limit the poor media influences in a child’s life?