I would recommend Bob Waliszewski’s “Plugged-In Parenting: How To Raise Media-Savvy Kids with Love, Not War.” I was fortunate enough to be provided a copy in a special pre-release directly from Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes. You can purchase a paperback copy for under $12 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Plugged–Parenting-Raise-Media-Savvy-Kids/dp/158997624X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311136396&sr=8-1) or directly from the publisher at http://mediacenter.tyndale.com/1_products/details.asp?isbn=978-1-58997-624-5.
My favorite chapter was titled, “Is This Stress Necessary?” In it, the author addresses several myths as they relate to “the impact of entertainment, the nature of biblical discernment, and the parent’s role” (Waliszewski, 8).
* Media is important: There are real and lasting consequences to what we see and hear.
* Discipleship is crucial: It is not enough for a student to say “yes” to Christ…they must be joined on the journey by those who can be trusted.
* Children and students need to be given examples: Righteousness must be taught and caught as it pertains to what is good and pleasing (edifying and encouraging).
* Parents are the primary disciple-maker for their children: A youth ministry and local church should and could partner with the home (but do not expect the pastors and leaders to do all that it takes to lead the family).
* Just because you made (or are making mistakes) does not mean that your students should be allowed to do so: Have the difficult conversations at age-appropriate moments.
* Start the conversation: Don’t wait for a window (create one).
* Your student will not necessarily pull away (they might even lean in): Teach them the difference between self-control and self-righteousness.
One of the author’s illustrations really made me consider my choices. He writes, “[Some] parents don’t seem to think sexualized entertainment is a problem at all. A Lakewood, Colorado, man was sentenced to four years probation and 50 hours of community service as part of a plea bargain for ‘contributing to the delinquency of a minor.’ His crime? He hired a stripper to entertain his son’s friend – at the boy’s 12th birthday party…What if this father had taken the kids to the same nudity (or worse) at a movie theater? There would be been no outcry, no arrest, no sentencing” (53).
The Bible warns, “My son, do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck” (Proverbs 3:21, ESV). This conversation makes me wonder if the pendulum has swung too much from one side to the other. Maybe our generation has reacted (rather than responded) to legalism that lacked love that we now find ourselves in a (Christian) culture of liberty without responsibility. And if we are not careful…the next generation will be corrupted as a result.
Official Book Description: This book comes at a time when parents find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They want to protect their children from the increasingly violent and sexualized content of movies, TV, the Internet, and music as well as cyber-bullying and obsessive cell phone texting. But they fear that simply “laying down the law” will alienate their kids. Can parents stay connected to the media while staying connected to God and to each other? This book makes a powerful case for teaching kids media discernment, but doesn’t stop there. It shows how to use teachable moments, evidence from research and pop culture, Scripture, questions, parental example, and a written family entertainment constitution to uphold biblical standards without damaging the parent-child relationship.
Official Author Description: Bob Waliszewski is a parent and former youth pastor. He’s also director of Plugged In Online, which is visited about one million times each month by people looking for detailed, trustworthy information on today’s entertainment. Bob’s weekly Plugged In Movie Review is heard on nearly 600 U.S. radio stations, as well as in about a dozen other countries.