Thursday, August 13, 2009

Entertainment Culture II: The Cowardice of Christians

So I was reading over this old study by the Barna group and how Christian parents tend to buy questionable entertainment material for their own children, especially around Christmas time.  The study found that:
…the most widely purchased media by Christian parents in the past year were DVDs of movies and TV programs. More than three out of four Christian parents (78%) had purchased such disks for their teenagers and almost nine out of ten Christian parents (87%) had purchased DVDs for their children under 13. However, one-quarter of those adults (26%) did not feel comfortable with the DVD products they purchased.
The next most popular type of media content purchased for children by Christian parents were music CDs. About six out of ten parents bought these discs for their kids, yet one out of every three of those parents (33%) had concerns about the content. This was more evident among the parents of teenagers than among those who were buying music for pre-teens.
Slightly more than half of all Christian parents had purchased video games for their children in the past year, in both the pre-teen and teen categories. About four out of ten pre-teen parents (39%) were concerned about the content of those games, compared to nearly half of the parents of teen recipients (46%) who admitted to such concerns.
Similarly, about half of all Christian parents (51%) had purchased magazines for their children. Roughly three out of ten Christian parents (31%) were not very comfortable with the content of the magazines acquired for their children.
Computer software was bought by 36% of the Christian parents of pre-teens and 39% of the Christian parents of teenagers. Overall, one out of every four Christian parents who acquired software for their children (24%) was not comfortable with the software.
The least common media form acquired by Christian parents for their children were downloads for mobile phones. Just 3% of the parents of pre-teens and 19% of teen parents bought one or more downloads for their children. Overall, a large majority (70%) possessed concerns about the content of those downloads.
While the comfort levels are generally low, they should be lower.  When one-third of parents are uncomfortable about the stuff they buy their children, there is a serious problem among Christian parents.  If you have a doubt about the content of the media you are buying for your children, should you really buy it?  I know I would not and I would tell my wife that anything she buys that I find unacceptable would be returned.  When one spouse says no to a decision like that, then the other one should comply.
The next section of the study I found to be even more fascinating:
In examining the discomfort of Christian parents related to the media content purchased for their children, the survey data indicated that the parents least likely to buy such media resources for their children were fathers and Hispanics.
The Christian parents who were generally the least comfortable with the content of the products purchased were non-whites and parents involved in a house church. On the other hand, among the Christian parents most comfortable with the media products purchased were single parents, mothers and those who were least active in practicing their faith.
The research examined the media use of the parents interviewed. There was a significant link between parental media use and the level of comfort with the media resources purchased for their children. The more media consumed by the parent, the more comfortable they were with all forms of media they had purchased for their children.
The study also pointed out that parental concern about media content is significantly higher when the products purchased are for teenagers. Parents struggle to walk the fine line between buying things that are morally appropriate while being relevant to the age group.
In essence, single parents are more likely to outsource their parenting to entertainment and not take a second thought about it.  The content of most music, movies, and television shows is usually caked with secular humanism, so Christian parents, single or otherwise, really need to take a look through the content before they allow their children to have it.
This is one of my problems with my fellow Christians.  They will grip and complain about the various problems in our entertainment culture, but when it comes time to step up in their own household, they fail.  While I cannot say I will be perfect in this matter, I will at least try and make a conscious effort to keep any children God blesses me with in a household that honors Him.