Just for Dads ~ February 2022
by Ward Williams
Executive director, Vineyard Family Services
photo by Photograph by Tim Mossholder/Upsplash
I have always loved listening to music and attending concerts. My favorite genre is country music—the older, the better—followed by classic rock, 80s pop, and then maybe contemporary Christian music. I recently watched the movie, The Jesus Music, which is a look back at the contemporary Christian music scene that began in the sixties. As I watched, I was amazed at how Christian music has put a stamp on so many moments of my life. I could remember where I was and what was going on in my life when different artists or songs were highlighted. Christian music helped to shape the way I thought about God, relationships, perseverance, purity, and even social issues we are dealing with today.
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that teenagers spend up to nine hours in front of a screen each day, and young children can spend up to six hours daily. As I thought about how much time I spent as a teenager listening to music and how much it influenced so many areas of my life, I wondered how the many hours a day of screen time that our children are experiencing are impacting and influencing their lives. What is going to stick with them as they become adults? During those nine hours of screen time, how much violence, profanity, inhumane thoughts, or negativity is being stamped onto our kids minds, souls, and spirits? It’s hard to predict what will stick in our brains as the messages heard and seen from media pass through and possibly take root. The Bible says in Luke 6:45, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
The amount of time our children spend with media has become a huge problem, and we don’t know all the effects that it will have on them and on society. I encourage you to look around when you are in public and observe how many kids—including very young children—are being entertained by their own private media device.
We need a well thought-out and deliberate plan to make sure that media, music, social media, or television is not robbing our kids of innocence or callousing their consciences long-term. We need to make sure that what our kids are reading, watching, or listening to benefits them and
gives them the necessary tools for the battles they will inevitably face. Music, arts, and other entertainment have always been, and always will be, an important part of happy human relationships. I don’t advocate fear of new forms of media, but as parents we must be an educated filter of what reaches our kids.
Ward Williams is the founder and executive director of Vineyard Family Services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.