“when you have 1-year-olds playing Angry Birds and toddlers trying to swipe the TV screen because they think it’s an iPad … it’s a changing nature of childhood.” – Jim Steyer
An interesting study recently came out from “Common Sense Media”, on Childrens’ Media Use in American 2013. There are some interesting findings throughout the study, although something very important to note is that the entire study is based on the parents’ response alone. Imagine yourself as a young parent, who’s had a particularly rough week and may have stuck your kids in front of a tv screen way more than you intended; getting a survey from “Common Sense Media” asking you questions about your parenting techniques. Of course you won’t confess to babysitting your kids with a television/iDevice. In fact, the statistics will probably come out looking like this:
Now maybe it’s true that the average family can watch an entire DVD in 22 minutes, or that on average, families maximize a movie’s value/experience by dragging it out over several days. But it seems like the information in this chart might be presented in a better way somehow. It’s also possible that I’m just not very good at understanding charts of information. But this next one is pretty easy to grasp.
What are the statistics of children aged 0-8 who have a television in their bedroom? I figured the response here would be pretty low. After all, most parents of kids aged 0-8 are my age, and had parents themselves who understood just how bad TV was for your eyesight alone, nevermind it’s ability to hypnotize you. The results were surprising:
The main reason? “Frees up other TV’s so family members can watch their own shows.”
Wow. I can understand the desire. Some nights we enjoy a show that we don’t turn on until after the kids are in bed. Even the popular “Once Upon a Time”, filled with princesses and knights….is quite a bit more than we want them viewing at this point. Definitely, there are some nights where after bedtime prayer/story, we’re just too worn out to enjoy a show. It’d be easier to start our show at 6pm, and let the kids enjoy their own show in their room. But we feel like there are enough things/activities in our life already that make it hard to stay connected. We don’t need to add something else.
The problem seems like it might be the denial that making choices like this even has any impact on the time a family spends together:
Wait a minute. A huge percentage of children under age 8 have televisions in their bedroom, and a large reason for it is so that the adults can watch their own shows….but 70% of parents think media either has no impact, or helps their family spend time together??
We didn’t even spend time above talking about tablets, iPods, smart phones, etc…even though these are all included in this charts view of “media”.
In the midst of all of this, God is calling followers of Christ to continue being people who know how to Sabbath. To continue being people who understand the difference between creative entertainment, and idols. To bear the fruit of the Spirit that includes “self-control”, for the sake of our families, and for the sake of bearing the image of God in a world that forgets His Face. So what does that need to look like in your home? Is this an “aha” moment where God leads you to new decisions? Is this a “well done” to your home that handles the pressures of media well?
So what are some “policies” or “Family Rules” that you have in your home that help guide toward a healthy approach and relationship with each other and with media?