1.Cost. DVDs can be expensive, big-screen theaters charge a fortune, and owning movies invites the temptation of time wasting in watching them over and over. Purchase only the very best and wait for sales. And keep the content impeccable if they’re going to be watched more than once. Remember that sound and visuals together imprint deeply on the brain, behavior and beliefs.
2.Time: We all need time to unwind (especially guys, who build up much-needed testosterone after a long day at work by focusing on TV or a hobby – again, considering the content). But the screen is an easy default, like a “glass teat” that we hook up to and find comfort. Consider how much time in front of the TV is OK and what time you might be missing in conversation or other relational pursuits when viewing in an unlimited manner.
3.Content: The “opiate of the masses” keeps us entertained, but can fill our hearts with deadly material that affects us spiritually and intellectually. It makes disobedience funny, violence less of a big deal, and hyper-sexuality natural. It can communicate hundreds of falsehoods in a single show, whether it’s the unreality of three layers of makeup or the belief that a great car will complete your life. Our language is often affected by the language on TV or in a movie. Our theology is affected. Our sexual restraint and honor is affected. Just as “you are what you eat” applies to food, “what you are is what you watch” applies to viewing, like it or not. Test: If your pastor was in the room, would you still watch what you’re watching? Your mother? Your child? Learn to use pluggedinonline.com to preview movie content quickly, and teach your children to do the same, for your family’s mental and emotional health. Don’t suck it down just because it’s there.
4.Sedentary habits: Health problems and weight issues are constant battles for Americans. Screen viewing has much to do with that. How often does your family walk or throw a ball or take a bike ride? Make the choice to do something active instead as often as possible, and save the TV as a treat instead of a staple. Did you know that depression is often linked to the number of hours spent viewing? Get up. Get out. Get busy. Live fully, not virtually.
5.Intellect and imagination: Because TV and movies are such an all-encompassing slick package of entertainment, they can make our brains passive and lazy. Books allow our brains to picture everything, which is why reading is so much healthier. Have you thought about reading together? Laughing together and blowing off some steam through the drama of different character voices is incredibly enjoyable and makes way better memories than a movie. Start with some of Shel Silverstein’s funny poems, or The Chronicles of Narnia as kids age. Idea: Require a number of age-appropriate books to be read before a movie is earned. Play word games, or games that require imagination or activity, like charades. Who is going to be the next great Disney imagineer if all of us are just sitting in front of the screens and staring?
Movies and TV are part of our culture, and they most likely always will be. That’s not bad. But we must set boundaries to guard the precious gift of life and actively living it. We weren’t created to live vicariously. We were created to live OURSELVES, and that’s a beautiful gift, not ever to be taken for granted just because we were given brains amazing enough to invent technology. Protect your family by starting a discussion about those boundaries and practicing them TODAY.