Television and Your Children

By Wayne Jackson

The most precious possession that a youngster has is his mind. The mind (sometimes designated as the “heart” in biblical jargon) is that element of the human being out of which “choices” emanate, and thus that which controls the direction of one’s life. Little wonder, then, that Solomon cautioned, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Christ himself warned that the vilest of evils begin in the mind (Mk. 7:20-23).

There is another proverb – not in the Bible, but nonetheless true – “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” “Twigs” should be “bent” in the right direction, or, as Solomon said elsewhere, "Train up a child in the way he should go. . . " (Prov. 22:6).

Training children is not an easy task. It requires patience, discipline, and perseverance. At times there will be a clash of wills. Domestic skirmishes may ensue, but godly parents must “hang tough.” Ideally, they should know what is best for their children, far better than do the children themselves.

Television is a wonderful medium of communication, valuable in many respects. It affords a wide range of educational opportunities – many of which one otherwise would never be able to access. But this “highway of information” is not necessarily a “highway of holiness” (Isa. 35:8). It also is one of the most dangerous venues of intellectual contamination.

Even organizations like the American Medical Association recognize this. The AMA has released a number of studies warning of various liabilities associated with a child’s over-exposure to television, e.g., in the areas of violence and sexual stimuli. The following are some of the guidelines that have been recommended by various professionals who are interested in the care and training of your youngsters.

  1. It is recommended that children not watch TV more than one or two hours, at the most, each day.
  2. Do not permit children to have a personal TV in their room; you cannot monitor what they watch when they are isolated from your supervision.
  3. Do not allow children to watch TV at meal times. Parents and youngsters should engage in meaningful conversation at these times.
  4. Do not allow your children to watch TV if they have failed to do their homework (either their school lessons or their preparation for Bible classes).
  5. Do not permit your youngster to spend hours playing video games. These will take their toll on their reasoning skills.
  6. Do not allow your children to watch TV without monitoring their programming. TV these days overflows with graphic lewdness and undisguised propaganda, the design of which is to break down moral barriers. The Bravo channel has an aggressive pro-homosexual agenda. Remember, the crop “harvested” will be the results of the “seed” that is sown, and your child’s mind is the “field.”

On the more positive side, encourage your children to read more. Introduce them to some of the older classics especially written for youth, e.g. Robinson Crusoe and Little Women. Reward them for reading good books.

With a scholastically sound, yet easy-to-understand version, initiate for them a reading program of short segments from God’s Word each day. Help them secure a small library of tools that will enable them to better comprehend the Scriptures.

Train these precious little minds in the right way while they are under your management. If you don’t educate them, someone else will. The day will shortly arrive when they will be on their own. If parents have not taken seriously their tutoring responsibility, serious consequences could occur, and years of regret will be your companion.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.