(TV, Videos, Magazines, Music) -- I wrote this in 1992 when we had children at home. There is far more need to monitor media now than there was then. There are more ways you can use technology to help you be in control of what you and your family see and hear.
1. Whatever we experience becomes a part of us- we must use our agency to choose the good and avoid the evil and harmful
2. Each choice we make affects other choices- we must use our time wisely; when we watch TV all evening we may have just eliminated the time we could have helped children with homework, talked with teens, played games, studies scriptures together, read good books together and individually, served others and time to build our relationship as husband and wife- building relationships within a family takes a great deal of time - doing things together and talking
3. By not making conscious choices, we steadily loose the ability to choose- few people can turn on a TV "just to see what is on" and not stand there watching for at least a few minutes even something they don't want to see or that they wouldn't choose to turn the TV on for; we expose ourselves to sights, songs, messages that we wouldn't purposely choose just because it is there before us
4. As with a stinking smell, the more we are around offensive media the less offensive to appears to us- we are no longer shocked; we must keep conscious control of our choices or we will lose the ability to discern the evil- it takes determined effort to retain our sensitivity
5. As we lose our sensitivity, we slowly lose the Holy Ghost then find ourselves less able to choose between good and evil- our strength and effectively as servants of the Lord is lessened, our marriages, families and communities are weakened
6. Medias use our natural desires to sell their products- just as excessive sugar and/or salt is added to many packaged foods because people naturally crave these substances so is sex added to the media packages; just as we become desensitized to the sugar and salt and need it in larger quantities be be satisfied we become desensitized to the carnal elements in the medias
We find that TV monitoring is the most difficult for us. It helps us to look at the situation in a different context. We ask ourselves questions such as; Would parents go to a book store and buy just a bunch of books then leave them around for any of their children to read? Do parents say, "They need to know the good from the evil personally. We have no right to influence them besides just words can't hurt them. It's just a book. We are too tired to choose and these are on the 10 best sellers list. Its relaxing and they like it." No! Everyone is always concerned that children read "good books". Everyone knows that they will see plenty of the "bad books" and as parents we don't need to feel any compulsion to expose them ourselves. In fact is takes effort to keep the influence of the bad from overpowering the good. Parents are encouraged to give their children a "taste for the good " so that they will not be content to settle for less than "the best". We are seeing our children develop this feeling about good literature and believe if this can happen with words on a page, it holds even more true when dealing with the high impact media of television. Children need guidance that is why we are admonished as parents to help them choose the good from the evil. We do this by helping them to know and love the good not by intentionally exposing them to the evil.
Things which are not good for us either physically or spiritually are often tempting. We are not so naive as to set a large dish of chocolates on the table along with a bowl of fruit and expect our children to happily munch away on apples and bananas because we know that we have diligently taught them the "evils" of excessive sugar and eating sweets right before meals.
We simply do not tempt our children, or ourselves either. We decide what we will watch on TV before we turn it on. We choose videos carefully as we do music cassettes and the magazines we allow into our home. We have to make choices in life - we choose the best!
The world is becoming more evil each year how far do you plan to go along with it? Do you like where it will lead you? You have the right as parents to choose what you want to have in your own home. We try to protect children from the destructive affect of drugs. We must also protect our children from any things which might harm them. TV, videos, magazine and music can all damage our spirits and take away our agency. We can not all ourselves to be bullied into ambulating our parental responsibility to teach and guide our children.
SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
1. Use a TV guide to help make choices on what to watch- some even give ratings- some give descriptions and have pictures that we do not want to leave around the house so we quickly dispose of it
2. Use video guides and ratings to help chose videos; TV advertisements can give you a feel for the show
3. Seek opinions from people you respect about TV shows and videos
4. Preview magazines in libraries and doctors offices- does it have the type of articles and advertisements you want in our home? Have good magazines around- such as Church magazines
5. Avoid temptation- don't watch, read or even glance at something you know might hurt you spiritually
6. BE POSITIVE! Don't just shun the evil but CHOOSE THE GOOD
don't forbid children to watch something- offer something better to watch, read, or listen to
that will appeal to them and convey positive values
7. Sometimes when we are not certain a show will be good for our family, we retire as a couple to our room and preview it-
(often it only takes a few minutes to tell - don't watch either if it is not good for your children)
this gives us an at home date and allows us to record shows without the commercials or we can choose to leave out an offensive scene
8. Consider your children's recommendations on media- if you disagree clearly state why in a personal way- "it upsets me; its too negative, has bad language, too violent, degrades"
9. We have found when we something offensive and do not watch or listen to it, or allow the younger children to either, that the teen quits also after a while
10. Prerecord shows- this allow you to
a. cut the sound and fast forward through the commercials (many are very graphic) and offensive material
b. keeps you in control by helping you to
make decisions before you "get involved" in a show
choose the time you want to watch
choose only the best
c. provide more time as a family and a couple by shortening the time you watch
it cuts the time commitment of a ball game down to size (a four hour football game can be whittled down to an hour- wives rejoice!)
11. If you can not record a show then turn off the sound and talk during the commercials
12. Discuss advertising techniques together as a family
13. Record many shows from your educational channels - many shows are exciting and fun
14. Record older movies and classics- many will still have their appeal
15. Some libraries have videos that you can check out- even some free videos
16. Record some of the scientific shows and watch on Sundays
17. Keep recordings of your favorite shows and movies to re-watch at later dates- some musicals, science fiction and cartoons we enjoy many times
18. Have the Church scripture videos for children- allow the yearly rising youngster to watch on Sunday mornings
19. Check out church videos from your ward to watch on Sundays
20. Make special tapes for different children- sports, ballets, young children’s (a favorite was "Winnie the Poo" cartoons)
Limit watching time
21. We decided not to watch TV in the afternoons -
homework was not getting done, chores, music practicing
we were also concerned when children "couldn't play" because they "had" to watch a show we were concerned about our children becoming too passive
22. We record some of the after school shows on our "Saturday tape" - the younger children get up early and can watch this video on Saturdays- besides some after school shows, we have other fun cartoons from other times of the day during the week, often a Disney movie, and shows they enjoy from the educational channels
they fast forward through the commercials thus lessening their impact and allowing them to see more shows before their time is up a 10 a.m.
23. Beware of evil disguised in cartoon form- what values is it teaching? Would you let your child watch it if it wasn't a cartoon?
24. Protect younger children- some things hurt little children because they can't decern between real and fantasy- help them to feel secure
25. Set a good example- if you don't want your teens to watch it then don't either besides if its not good for them its not good for you
26. Listen to music of your own choice- pick cassettes (CDs) that you feel have a positive message or feel
if some songs on your tape offend make record your own cassettes using just the good songs from several cassettes
27. Provide fun alternatives to TV watching
basketball court, (flood it in winter for an) ice rink, balls, tree swinging ropes, games, Nintendo games (only those that require challenging thinking and are positive)
home projects and responsibilities (some may not be fun but they keep them busy), craft supplies, dress ups etc.
28. Limit the time you watch
not after school
ask before watch and what they intend to watch
home and school work done first
limit evening watching to an hour on week nights and a couple hours on weekends nights
29. Do not develop the habit of depending on TV to fill in your time for you-don't watch every day
as a parent provide active leadership
let TV and videos be only one option of what you could do
list things you like to do- parents encourage other
activities- have picnics, read, games, dance, talk, do projects, do sports activities together
30. Ask not just is it evil but; Is it uplifting? Does it make me a better person?