I’ll admit I don’t do a great job keeping up with all of the latest Disney Channel shows. My big kids are 11 and 12, so I don’t monitor every show they watch as closely as I did when they were little. They don’t watch a ton of tv so it’s pretty laid back in our house. Wouldn’t you know that the same week that the news announced that Disney would be revealing a gay character on a show was the same week my kids started watching it, or at least I realized they did.
I had three choices:
A) flip out, snatch the remote, and say they could never watch such a thing again.
B) totally pretend that I had no idea was going on with the show.
C) press pause and talk about it.
I have long believed that it isn’t going to do my kids much long-term good to completely keep them in a bubble. Yes, there are absolutely things in entertainment outlets that we need to protect our kids from. If you ask my middle schooler, I am way overprotective by her standards. The truth is unless you just shut down all shows, movies, internet, etc… your kids will come across some ideas and images that don’t line up with Scripture. What do we do?
Let’s look back at our three choices. When we flip out, we alienate.Trust me the older your kids get, my flipping out just makes them more curious or more stubborn. And there will be a day when I’m not around to flip out. We can’t forever hide them from viewpoints that are different than our own. When we pretend that nothing is happening, ignore the content of what they are watching and pretend it isn’t a big deal, we are letting the world define their values. If we aren’t communicating what the Bible says about the topics their popular shows are addressing, kids may assume that God is disconnected from those things. Their worldview will be developed by producers of media rather than by us.
Our best option is to just stop and intentionally talk about it. When my girls were watching the particular episode, at the end I asked some key questions. I didn’t lecture. They wouldn’t have heard that. I asked:
“What was going on there?” and “How does that line up with Scripture?” and “What would you do if a friend shared that kind of news with you?”
We talked about a Biblical worldview on the subject and we also talked about how to love people like Jesus would love them.
I would agree that the devil has a big grip on our kids’ entertainment industry. However, I also know I might not have had that specific conversation with my girls if that show hadn’t come on.Just about every movie or show has something that can translate to a teachable moment. And it might even be a moment because they will listen to because it is tied to something they are interested in.
That being said, we don’t want to beat every show to death either. If you are trying to pull massive life lessons out of every episode of Cupcake Wars, they may start tuning you out.
When we press pause, we teach kids to think and ask the hard questions to evaluate the messages media is sending. This action is a powerful habit to build in them. The ability to stop and think biblically about the messages they are receiving teaches discernment. In a world where they are bombarded by varieties of messages, we must equip our kids to watch through the lens of the Bible.