2016 | Week of April 18 | #1147
Technology and media. They’re everywhere, all the time. And it’s time families deal with them responsibly—for the sake of every family member.
I happily give credit for the following idea to my good friend Mr. Daniel Weiss, the Executive Director of The Brushfires Foundation headquartered in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Brushfires’ mission is “helping people discover and live toward God’s design for sexuality and relationships, and equipping them to spark change—lighting, as it were, brushfires, by serving others.” Brushfires pursues this mission through three primary goals. They seek to inspire, transform and engage people on God’s plan for human sexuality and relationships. I encourage you to check out Brushfires website at brushfiresfoundation.org.
My friend Daniel has a passion to help people. One of his concerns is helping families to handle the ever-present media that is consistently bombarding the hearts and minds of every family member. Recently, Daniel wrote a blog entitled, “Family Media Pledge.” He writes, “Families can join together to create a decent and healthy home environment. By taking a family media pledge, parents can model sound decision making for their children and open up opportunities to discuss appropriate and inappropriate media messages.”
Maybe Daniel is just nicer than I am. I would say that more strongly. Something like this: parents need to take very seriously the onslaught of the media and the messages their children are exposed to virtually every day—sometimes all day. In addition to modeling sound decision-making for their children and opening up opportunities for their children to discuss appropriate and inappropriate media messages, parents need to have a plan. They need to be—dare I say must be—purposeful, absolutely intentional, in this area. The stakes are too high not to be.
Daniel goes on to suggest that the family sign a family media pledge and gives a sample. “Our Clean and Safe Media Pledge,” says, “As a family, we commit to making clean and safe media choices in order to keep our home a happy and healthy place to be. We will do this by:
“1. Selecting books, Web sites, music, magazines, activities, and/or movies
that are in harmony with our family values.
“2. Being kind to ourselves and to others by not posting or forwarding anything
that could cause hurt, embarrassment, or offense. If we receive a
text or e-mail that makes us feel uncomfortable, sad, or scared, we will
tell a parent right away.
“3. Showing respect for our body and others’ bodies by not looking at or
posting nude or immodest images. If we accidentally come across something
inappropriate, we will tell a parent right away.
“4. Protecting identifying information by not posting phone numbers,
addresses, or personal information in places where they can be seen by
strangers. If we are unsure, we will ask a parent before posting personal
“5. Never meeting up with someone we have met online unless a parent
knows exactly where we are and someone accompanies us.
“6. Limiting our media use when it is late at night or we are home alone.”
I like this pledge. I like the idea that every family member signs it, that it is strongly “we” and “us” instead of “you,” recognizing that every family member is being held to the same standards and accountability. I like the fact that it encourages openness between parents and children. I like that it relies on everyone knowing what the family’s values are—which means some major thinking and praying on the part of the parents should have happened as they gather the family to discuss exactly what those family values are.
This world is no friend to families. It’s no friend to people who want to protect the purity of their minds and their bodies. Parents are responsible for protecting their children, as much as they can, against these assaults. Ignoring media and its powerful messages is not the answer. Hoping it goes away or somehow your children aren’t targeted or swayed is also not the answer. Hoping your children will somehow just do the right thing—always—won’t work either. This matter requires parental action—sooner rather than later. If you don’t like this pledge, then find another or write your own, but do something now to safeguard your children and strengthen your family. You’ll be forever glad you did.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”