Our children are watching who we place upon the pedestal. And if we are not careful, they may one day desire to emulate the same.

We should not want our children trapped in sin and darkness. We should not want our children lusting after things that are fleeting. And we should not want our children making excuses for mediocrity and sin. We should want our children to know what true greatness is. We should want our children to exalt Jesus and him crucified and resurrected. We should want our children to think there is a difference between those who die with honor and those who throw their life away, living in the pleasures of sin for a season.

Remember the children’s song, “O Be Careful, Little Eyes”?

“O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see”

We could take away a great lesson from this simple song.

Christians should take to heart the word from the Apostle Paul: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Paul also warned us in Ephesians 5:1-21 to be careful what we see… what we say… what we do… and what we think. He said, “Don’t live as unwise people but as wise. Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” But are we being careful about what we see? And just as importantly; what are children see and hear?

Entertainment Through Violence?
Children’s greatest exposure to violence comes from television. TV shows, movies edited for television, and video games expose young children to a level of violence unimaginable just a few years ago. The American Psychological Association says the average child watches 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school! That number more than doubles by the time he or she reaches age eighteen!

At a very young age, children are seeing a level of violence and mayhem that in the past may have been seen only by a few police officers and military personnel. TV brings hitting, kicking, rapes, stabbings, shootings, and dismemberment right into homes on a daily basis.

The impact on children’s behavior is predictable. Two prominent Surgeon General Reports in the last two decades link violence on television and aggressive behavior in children and teenagers. In addition, the National Institute of Mental Health issued a 94-page report, ‘Television and Behavior: Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the Eighties’. They found “overwhelming” scientific evidence that “excessive” violence on television spills over into the playground and the streets.

Imagine a twelve year old child spending six hours a day at the local movie theater and allowed to watch whatever movie they wanted, regardless of the rating. No normal parent would ever permit that! Yet, nearly half the twelve-year-olds watch an average of six or more hours of television per day with little or no supervision! This would mean that a large portion of young people fit into the category of heavy viewers. Their view of the world is profoundly shaped by the TV programs they watch.

The Bible says, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). If your child hangs out too much with bad influences, there is a good chance that they will be influenced for the bad.That is why so many parents forbid their children to hang out with others that would influence their children for the bad. And yet,these same parents will allow their children to be influenced six hours a day by what they watch on television. Many children may not be able to stand against this type of influence, because their character is not well formed yet. It is still being actively developed and easily influenced. What our children watch on television may not seem important at the moment, but we need to ask, “Is my child being negatively influenced?

Some kids are natural leaders; while others tend to be followers. So who are they following? I believe we should raise our children to influence the world not the other way around. It will take a lot of work, but the results will be mature well-adjusted adults who are teaching their children the same thing.

Television viewing affects both adults and children in subtle ways. And we must not ignore the fact that televised imagery does affect our perceptions and behaviors. Our world view and our subsequent actions are affected by what we see on television. Christians, therefore, must be careful not to let television conform us to the world, (Rom. 12:2) but instead we should develop a Christian world view and teach the same to our children.

When you consider the magnitude of the challenges that are facing America today, it becomes obvious that America is in desperate need of healing and true revival. But it’s not just mind-numbing television shows that influence our children, but children watch and learn from their parents and other adults. So we too, need to get a good reality check and watch what we’re doing!

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