Moody Radio Interview

Our interview with Deb Gustafson of Moody Radio for the Quad Cities can be heard by clicking here.

Day 30: Family Media Detox

Here it is:  Day 30 of no tv, no movies, no video games, no mp3 players and no social networking.

What surprised us most?  Frankly, it was the lack of excitement exhibited by the children at the prospect of having their iPods, Gameboys, and NindtendoDS’s returned to them.  We were both expecting a level of anticipation akin to that of Christmas morning; we were pleasantly shocked by what actually transpired.

Even Gracie, our 13-year-old, who had been most vocal about missing her digital accoutrements, was not champing at the bit in the least.

Missy and I give thanks to God for all He has provided during this past month; He gets all the glory of any good that has come out of this experiment.

Day 29: Family Media Detox

Couples:  Once you take your own Family Media Detox challenge, you may be amazed by how much more time you suddenly have for meaningful time as husband and wife.  I don’t mean to imply that watching a television program or a movie together is necessarily “wasted time,” but in most cases, there are much more fruitful and substantive ways for the two of you to relate to one another.

Use this newly-liberated spare time to serve, enjoy, and re-discover your spouse.  Virtually every dimension of your marriage can benefit from a radical reduction in entertainment.  As you dial down the Facebook, TV, and video games, dial up the romance, the deep conversations, and loving gestures.

Don’ t be surprised if you find yourself experiencing a marital renaissance!

Day 28: Family Media Detox

As today’s video explains, our Craigslist ad finally paid off:  The TV was sold! A young fellow who looked like he may have been a college student outfitting his dorm room got quite a bargain.  But the transaction reminded of something that occurred years ago, when I got convicted that my huge collection of secular rock ‘n’ roll cd’s needed to go.

I had always loved rock (the edgier, the better) and I had amassed a remarkable library of music; if I were to deny that the sometimes satanic, always worldly content of those songs influenced me, I’d be lying.  My sins were my own and completely my responsibility, but the culture I embraced did nothing to discourage my depravity.

When I decided to get serious about my Christian faith, I realized that the “garbage-in, garbage-out” principle was most vividly played out in my own life through the music with which I saturated my brain.  I wanted to present my body as a living sacrifice of worship, I wanted my mind renewed, (Romans 12:2) and I wanted to “come out from them and be separate” (2 Cor. 6:17)

Much like we have done all this month with TV, movies, video games, mp3 players and Facebook, I felt I needed to get rid of that music for my own spiritual health.  But what I did was I took it to a music store that bought used records and sold my collection to them.  They, in turn, would re-sell it to other people who might be just as susceptible to its influence.  Only later did I recognize the folly of what I’d done.

The difference is obvious, of course – a cd of wicked music is always a cd of wicked music, but a television can be used to view “Facing the Giants” just as easily as “The Hangover.”

I just pray I haven’t contributed a stumbling block to someone else’s life by ridding my own life of one.

Day 27: Family Media Detox

Most of us have heard the term “vast wasteland” used to derisively describe television programming.  But do you know the origin of that phrase?

It comes from a speech given to the National Association of Broadcasters on May 9, 1961 by Newton N. Minow.  At the time of the speech, Mr. Minow was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.  It can be read (and even listened to) in its entirety at Americanrhetoric.com – and I assure you, it’s well worth reading – but at least read this excerpt for the context of the famous phrase Minow coined:

“When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.
But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.”

Nearly a half-century later, how much more vast the wasteland has become…Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Day 26: Family Media Detox

I’m no fan of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and I certainly don’t support intrusive, regulatory paternalism, but I know a lot of folks who would like to see fewer ads for Cialis, Viagra, and booze.  An excerpt from an article published on the Healthfinder website:

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t want children exposed to tobacco ads at all, and wants to limit their exposure to alcohol marketing and advertisements for erectile dysfunction drugs and other prescription medications.

Those are just a few of the recommendations in its new policy statement, “Children, Adolescents, Substance Abuse, and the Media,” published in the October issue of Pediatrics.

The AAP is targeting advertising because it works. Advertising may be responsible for as much as 30 percent of alcohol and tobacco use, the authors say. When Camel cigarettes started an ad campaign using a cartoon camel as its mascot, its market share went from 0.5 percent of teen smokers to 32 percent. And, exposure to tobacco marketing more than doubles the risk of a teenager starting to smoke, the paper states.

Alcohol ads are getting through to younger kids, too. A study of 9- and 10-year-olds found that as many kids who could identify Bugs Bunny could also identify the Budweiser frogs. In another study, 75 percent of fourth-graders could identify a ferret used in a Budweiser advertisement.

Some other highlights of the statement include:

  • Limit advertising and product placement for alcohol in venues where more than 10 percent of the audience are children. Alcohol use in teens shouldn’t be portrayed as normal in movies or TV shows, and no one should be shown as being “funny-drunk.”
  • The White House Office on Drug Control Policy should conduct anti-smoking and anti-teen-drinking public service campaigns.
  • Drug companies, public health groups and the medical communities should have an open debate on the necessity of advertising prescription drugs.
  • Ads for erectile dysfunction drugs should only be shown after 10 p.m., and they shouldn’t be overly suggestive.
  • Schools should try to incorporate media education into their curricula.
  • Parents should limit unsupervised media use.

Doesn’t our president smoke?  Just askin’…

Day 25: Family Media Detox

One of the questions that we are frequently asked is, “What’s next, after the 30 days?”  In other words, what will have changed?

If you’ve followed the blog, you already know that we are no longer a television household.  Sometime in week two we decided to rid our home of both TV’s.  One of them, however, will be housed next door at our church.  With that in mind, we have agreed that when times arise when we, as a family, desire to watch a video together, we can do so over there (The idea being that we will have made it a less convenient undertaking).  I am also proposing that the children will each get one hour per day of recreational screen time all their own (computer/video game/iPod).

As with all such rules in a family of this size, the big issue is consistent enforcement.    We would love to hear from you with your thoughts and suggestions!