Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Keeping Our Kids Safe?

Recently, I've been reminded of the importance of discussing media boundaries and content filters with our family.
  • Did you know that with the advent of Netflix (and other streaming content providers), even some cartoons and anime have pornographic themes in them? Even though I previously spent hours adjusting the toggle content filters on Netflix, I (re)discovered that doesn't mean everything that comes through is appropriate. One reason is because Netflix constantly adds new toggle filters so I've learned you have to return to your settings every few months to update them. Here's an example of a TV14 cartoon called Chobits that made it through my previously set Netflix toggle filters that upon parental review, we will not be watching. Here's why:
  • Discussing and applying media boundaries and content filters to what we watch is important as adults as well. Political dramas like House of Cards (a Netflix original series) was originally interesting to me when I first heard about it (thought it might be like The West Wing). But before I watched it, I read the online review and decided the graphic language and nudity made it unacceptable viewing for me. Same thing with Breaking Bad / Homeland / Mad Men / Game of Thrones. All of these shows are critically acclaimed award winners readily available on Netflix (except HBO's Game of Thrones) but the online reviews say they also contain graphic language and nudity.
Long-time youth pastor and author Josh McDowell says in his excellent book Right from Wrong (a great resource you too could read and discuss chapter by chapter with your pre-teen children or grandchildren) it's important to teach children that the lifestyle / behavioral policies we adopt don't come from church or your preferences. They come from timeless Scriptural principles. And those principles, if they're legit, can be traced to the character and Person we profess to follow — Jesus Christ. So our discussion and thought process goes something like this: Policies > Principles > Person of Jesus. Specifically re:media boundaries and content filters, what we talked about in our family is how 1 John 3:3 says Jesus (the Person) is pure (the principle) so that's why we choose, as best we can, to watch what's pure too (the policy). Which eliminates cartoons and content that contain pornographic themes, graphic language, and nudity.

Hopefully, if we continue to discuss WHY we choose what we do, our children will understand the significance of media boundaries and content filters and maybe even adopt them as their own when adults! In the meantime, please do share if you have a helpful media tip or resource. I'm preparing and eventually will share in church a topical series of presentations re:media and a Christian response to it so could use your help! I'm grateful as we turn our eyes upon Jesus, the things of this world grow strangely dim and that by beholding Jesus we still become changed (2 Corinthians 3:18).


Larry Witzel said...

Thanks for this great post. My wife and I need to start talking with my 9-year-old daughter about why we have the filters, and your policies > principles > Person is a great framework for that discussion.

Mike Fortune said...

Glad it's helpful. I borrowed the 3P's from Josh McDowell