Like other forms of media, movies and television can offer much that is informative, uplifting, and appropriately entertaining. However, many movies and television programs can be spiritually damaging as inappropriate behaviors and viewpoints are depicted as normal and even desirable. Church leaders have warned families of the potential dangers in this type of entertainment, counseling them to avoid such, and have encouraged members to join others in speaking out against offensive programming.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
“The choices we make in media can be symbolic of the choices we make in life. Choosing the trendy, the titillating, the tawdry in the TV programs or movies we watch can cause us to end up, if we're not careful, choosing the same things in the lives we live.
“If we do not make good choices, the media can devastate our families and pull our children away from the narrow gospel path. In the virtual reality and the perceived reality of large and small screens, family-destructive viewpoints and behavior are regularly portrayed as pleasurable, as stylish, as exciting, and as normal. Often media's most devastating attacks on family are not direct or frontal or openly immoral. Intelligent evil is too cunning for that, knowing that most people still profess belief in family and in traditional values. Rather the attacks are subtle and amoral—issues of right and wrong don't even come up. Immorality and sexual innuendo are everywhere, causing some to believe that because everyone is doing it, it must be all right. This pernicious evil is not out in the street somewhere; it is coming right into our homes, right into the heart of our families. …
“The time has come when members of the Church need to speak out and join with the many other concerned people in opposition to the offensive, destructive, and mean-spirited media influence that is sweeping over the earth.
“According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the percentage of television prime-time shows with sexual content jumped from 67 percent in 1998 to 75 percent in the year 2000. Media with this kind of content has numerous negative effects. It fosters a callous attitude toward women, who are often portrayed as objects of abuse and not as precious daughters of God who are essential to His eternal plan. The long-cherished values of abstinence from intimate relationships before marriage and complete fidelity between husband and wife after marriage are denigrated and derided. Children and youth are confused and misled by the deviant behavior they see demonstrated by so-called stars they admire and want to emulate. In the moral confusion created by the media, enduring values are being abandoned” (“Let Our Voices Be Heard,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 16-18).
I should have had the lead in this movie, but my friend took that role.
My biggest babysitting challenge came while the kids were asleep and no one was looking.
One reason TV and the movies distort life is that many of those who make the films and sitcoms are out of touch with the fulness of the truth.
Given the tremendous influence the media has for both good and ill, how can parents guide teens to make wise choices without being heavy-handed?
A look at some of the messages television sends.