A 2010 study by the Kaiser Foundation found that the average 8 to 18 year-old spends nearly 54 hours a week with the media of our culture—more than a full-time job’s worth of time spent with cultural influences.
Compounding that, this study found that parents, in general, have done a poor job of not only limiting the amount of time spent with media, but they also have been equally poor in limiting the type of content their children and teens ingest through the media.
The study went on to show that fewer than half of all 8 to 18 year-olds say they have rules about what TV shows they can watch (46%), video games they can play (30%), or music they’re allowed to listen to (26%). Half (52%) say they have rules about what they can do on the computer.
This research hits us with two troubling truths. First, our children spend an inordinate amount of time with cultural influences. And second, many parents are not working to filter that influence in any way, shape, or form.
Now, there was one ray of hope from the Kaiser Foundation study. It is this. Parents with rules about media have children who spend almost five hours less a day with the media of our culture. This cuts out over 30 hours of the media’s influence.
The message we can take from this is clear. Since the culture’s messages are increasingly undermining the message of Christianity, parents must be ever-vigilant in not only limiting the time with the cultural media but also limiting content.
More than that, parents must work to fill their children and teens with the message of Christ. A couple hours of Christian education a week—on Sunday morning and Wednesday night— cannot compare with the amount of time spent with cultural media. Therefore, parents must be diligent in daily providing their families time with Christ.