A Whole New World: How Media Is Affecting The Youth Of Today

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As we focus on how the "whole new world" of today will affect our children, let us review some statistics.

A 1992 study found that an average child spent 25 hours a week watching television. It was estimated that by the time a child left elementary school, the child would have watched 8,000 murders and over 100,000 acts of violence. By the time the child reaches 18 years of age, 40,000 and 200,000 respectively. Shocked? Between 1998 and 2002 every time slot increased in violent content. Family hours (8PM ET) had an increase of violent content by 85.1%. Shocked now? During the next hour (9PM ET) violent content was 134.4% more frequent. What about now?

While violence on television and in society has increased, so has the frequency and availability of sexual content, innuendos, and violent and provocative images. Many studies have shown that the earlier and more frequent exposure of sexual content does increase the likelihood of earlier "sexual acts". Between 1998 and 2005 the number of sexual scenes on television almost DOUBLED. The study found that 70% of all shows include some sexual content. Looking at all the top 20 most watched shows by teenagers, 70% include sexual content, 45% include sexual behavior. Shocked again?

I know that most people do not like to read a bunch of statistics, but silence on issues like these must end.

Most 8-18 year olds devote on average 7.5 hours media in a typical day. Because they use more than one source of media at a time they actually consume 10 hours and 45 minutes of media (Kaiser Family Foundation). That's more than any other activity other than sleep (assuming they are getting 8 hours). More than half of that content contains sexual images or references.

67% of 12-25 year olds go to pornographic websites. 90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed pornography. The average age of first exposure to pornography is 9 years old (some say 8). 27% of 4-6 year olds are on the web and 35% of those go to pornographic websites. The adult industry says 20-30% of traffic is form children. 47% of children receive pornographic spam daily.

Please do not start screaming, "But wait! Not my kids! Our house does not allow that" 91% of first time exposure by a teen was during activities such as research for a school project or surfing the web for other information, while 62% of parents of teenagers are UNAWARE that their child has accessed objections material. The sad truth is, statistics do not lie. I say this attempting to warn you about the potential danger of the prevalence and availability of such content and the dangerous effects they bring. I have pages of more statistics that would surprise you, but obviously I've spent more than enough time listing just a few.

Does this mean we need to start panicking? By no means! Does it mean that we need to take time to teach our children about Christian living in all aspects of life, even if we do not think it is an issue they are dealing with--YES! We need to stay ahead of the media, technology, and this "whole new world". If they don't get information from you--the parent, the grandparent, the mentor--they will get it from the media or friends. The answer the media and friends will give most likely will not be the one we desire for our children.

Our children need godly parents who are living godly lives. Proverbs 22:6 reminds us that if we "train up a child in the way he should go even when he is old he will not depart from it". We also know the importance of teaching our children in the way of the Lord at all times (Deut. 6:6-7).

We must teach our children that the commandment found in Romans 12:1-2: "I appeal to you therefore,  brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by the testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." John wrote in 3 John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth". May this be true with you--do all you can to ensure that your child will be walking in the truth."

Let's face it:

Parents and grandparents, this isn't the age of curtain peep shows, plastic cover sheets, brown paper sacks, back rooms, or even secret subscriptions. It's just ONE CLICK AWAY or ONE SCROLL AWAY. You can have all the web filters you want, but there are ways around them (Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, Imgur, Vine and many other "social media sites" all could contain explicit content). 

The biggest thing you can do--stay connected, know what your child is looking at, review history and cookies daily or weekly (if erased you know something is up--only you can erase it), be on all social media sites your child is on and make them "friend" you or allow you to "follow" them (in fact my parents had the password to all my online accounts until I was "out of the house"), and above all TALK ABOUT IT. AWKWARDNESS is no excuse for INTENTIONAL IGNORANCE. Let us all strive to be lights pointing to the ultimate light--the darkness is becoming stronger and stronger the longer we hide our light.

Remember 1 Peter 2:21-"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps"

As always God loves you and so do I!

-Frodo

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Statistic Sources and more!

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