George Barna, director of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, is urging parents to take an active role in combating the influence of media on their children.
“The most significant influence on the development of a worldview in America today is what we absorb from the media,” he said. “And if that’s the case, then that says to me as a parent or a grandparent or somebody who cares about the development of the worldview of children that I’ve got to pay attention to what media are investing in those children’s minds and hearts.”
Barna made his remarks at the Family Research Council Action’s Pray, Vote, Stand Summit, formerly known as the Values Voter Summit. Although much of the discussion focused on problems that have resulted from the decline in the number of Americans who hold a biblical worldview, the panelists also provided advice to parents and faith leaders about how to instill a biblical worldview in their children.’
Barna shared four Ms that parents CAN employ to combat the harmful influence of the media on their children:
- “Monitor what these kids are being exposed to, because our research shows that most parents are happy to buy their children every device the kids want, and then they leave the kids up to determine what they’re going to take in through all those devices. They don’t even know what their kids are being exposed to.”
- “Minimize it, because our research also shows that in America, the biggest addiction in our country is media. We spend more time literally absorbing messages from media than anything else we do except for sleep.”
- Mediate, or “serve as the mediator between what the media are trying to get you to believe and what we, as followers of Jesus, believe based on what the scriptures teach.” He said if parents are watching a show with their children that exposes them to an idea that runs contrary to the biblical worldview, they should tell them: “We know that’s a lie, because the scriptures teach us this.”
- Moralize, which is, “helping them to understand the difference between right and wrong.” He predicted that “if parents simply did that in the lives of their kids, it would revolutionize America today.”