Last week I blogged about the entertainment industry, 50 Shades of Grey and all that stuff (and there is a lot of STUFF). I really appreciate the tremendous amount of supportive feedback I got from you all, but that was for adults. What about what our kids are watching?
How do we know what is appropriate entertainment for our children in a culture that is saturated with disrespect, lust, greed, and all kinds of mixed spiritual messages?
To some degree it’s the same way we find things that are healthy for our kids to eat in a culture that is obsessed with sugar, preservatives, and convenience food. I’ll admit that I am not the best example of feeding my kids a healthy diet, but I have made it a major focus this year and since then the magnitude of the junk they consume is becoming apparent to me.
We don’t have to let food trends and cereal commercials determine what we feed our children, the same way we don’t have to let production companies dictate what they consume on a spiritual level.
We have the opportunity as the gatekeeper of our homes to decide right now what kinds of content our children are viewing on television or in movies.
Children, especially preschool age, are little sponges. At that stage they are observing and soaking up everything they see every waking hour and using it to shape their worldview and learn how to navigate through life. So this TV stuff is pretty important, but what do we do about it?
Just like with diets there are hundreds of different approaches to living a healthy lifestyle. What your kids watch and how much they watch is a very personal decision. However, no matter what your convictions are you have to know how to implement them.
First of all whether food or TV, leading by example is going to be the most effective thing you can do. This is really true in any area of parenting. “Your words and standards will carry more weight if you practice what you preach and limit the amount of time you watch TV or spend on the computer. Also, your kids notice the kinds of movies and shows you watch, so model responsibility there as well.” (from the book “Wild Things The Art of Nurturing Boys”)
Another TV tip that goes hand and hand with the food comparison is to focus on the positive and make an activity out of it. If your children are involved in cooking with you, or really engaged in learning about gardening they are more likely to want to eat healthy.
So consider watching TV with your child. I know, that is the one time you have to break away, but on occasion you can really see what it is that they are consuming and take the opportunity to talk about it whether it’s good or bad. For example “Oh, that was not a nice. They shouldn’t call people idiots”. It’s also a great time to discuss emotions or interests with your child. On the contrary, If you just bark out orders about what they should be eating or watching it is less likely to be a habit they will ever truly obtain.
These are just a couple of the many strategies for implementing media boundaries and guidelines in an effective way.
Tomorrow I am going to share some really practical advice on how to use some of the free content filtering options that are available.
So check back then for Part two (Monitoring TV and Netflix).