Generally speaking, I am not a very healthy eater but I do make an effort to get some nutrients in to my body on a daily basis. I often read nutrition labels in order to know how much fat, sugar, sodium, etc. that I am putting into my body. I don’t by any means let label reading rule my life and will usually eat what I want. But, I am conscious of the whole nutrition thing.
What I don’t pay much attention to is how much media I consume.
I was sent an email this past week which informed me of a campaign to help make parents aware of how much media is influencing their children. I admit that my family is addicted to tv, movies, and internet. I sometimes spend hours on WordPress writing a new blog post and reading other people’s blogs. My husband & I sometimes spend hours on facebook catching up with friends and playing my favorite game. My husband and I sometimes spend hours on Netflix streaming my favorite tv shows over the internet. We have approximately 300+ dvds in our home that we have collected over the years. My kids (ages 3 & 2) watch movies daily. An occasional occurrence of any of these things is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem comes when we get into the habit of doing all of these things regularly.
Even more sobering is the realization that how much time I spend in the virtual world is drastically more than how much time I spend in the spiritual world. Instead of spending hours on the computer or watching movies, I could be praying, reading my Bible, or ministering to someone. Although I do all of those things frequently, how much closer could I be to Jesus if I did those things a lot more?
Here is the e-mail that I recieved:
“Nashville, Tenn. Dec. 15, 2010… After a season filled with record-setting cell phone and gaming gifts to teens and tweens, iShine is announcing the upcoming Dec. 26 release of the Family Media Diet Calculator. The calculator is a new tool providing customized awareness to families in regards to how much time they spend connected to media in comparison to the amount of hours they spend plugged in with real life interaction and content consumption.
By visiting http://www.familymediadiet.com, parents nationwide will be able to plug in amounts of time their families spend texting, browsing online, consuming television and more. They will then be able to print a free custom analysis of where their families are spending their time in comparison to their involvement in recreational and faith-based activities along with family time and reading. The campaign is not an anti-technology movement. It is about use awareness and being intentional about the content.
It is estimated that the 20 million tweens in this country spend 25 hours a week watching television and playing video games and only one hour in church. George Barna (The Barna Group), a pioneer in research on Christian culture, recently noted that kids spend more time absorbing media than anything else in their lives, except sleeping. A recent article in The New York Times titled “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction” (insert link –http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technology/21brain.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=technology) also discussed the effects of technology compared to focusing and learning.
“We as parents must be deliberate of what media our kids consume, understanding that it is forming the way our kids look at everything – self image, friends, parents, leaders, themselves,” remarks iShine Founder and Chief Creative Officer Robert Beeson. “If we as parents aren’t actively forming the person our kid’s are becoming – make no mistake – someone else is.”
iShine, known for bringing family-friendly media options through tours, music, television and radio mediums, is sponsoring the free Media Diet Calculator. The organization will also be releasing a new interactive Bible for tweens with Tyndale House Publishers in Feb. of 2011.”