Media consumption and its impact on children was the focus of a panel discussion on Thursday during the World Congress of Families.
Chairman of the Christian Film and Television CommissionTed Baehr led the discussion on how parents can create a “media-wise” family.
Baehr was joined by Pat Fagan, director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation; and Rich Melheim, founder of Faith Inkubators and RICH Learning Foundation.
“Great movies are great stories told well, have a positive worldview, and are spiritually uplifting,” Baehr said.
The panel emphasized the growing necessity for families to teach their children about media, both good and bad.
“By the time a child is 17, they’ve spent 60,000 hours with the media,” Baehr said, “Boys are fed large doses of violence; Sex is being pushed on little girls.”
Baehr said he supports the idea of other filmmakers creating quality Christian content that can be both uplifting and entertaining.
“Whoever controls the media controls the culture,” Baehr said. “Why should the devil make all the best movies?”
Hawkins described the dangers of pornography in regards to the family, and the threat of sex “mis-education.”
“I plead with you to try to do something about this,” Hawkins said. “We can protect our kids. We need to realize the dangers at our door.”
Fagan discussed the necessity of teaching children in the home about media, and how talking to children about what kinds of media they are consuming can be beneficial and educational.
“Train your kids’ imagination; forming the imagination is key,” Fagan said. “Family meals are critical. It is more important to spend time with children than to work. If you give your time, you give your love.”
Melheim also emphasized the importance of discussions with children, and spoke on the powerful effects of media on both children and adults.
“The media can amplify the message,” Melheim said.