Engaging Culture

The Impact of Too Much Media

Television use is now at an all time high in the United States.  In a typical home, the TV is now turned on for 8 hours and 18 minutes per day, and is actually being viewed more than 4 of those hours.  By comparison, the average American gets only 6 hours, 40 minutes of sleep every night!   That much time viewing television has consequences.  With kids, more than 170 studies going back over 28 years have concluded that
heavy media exposure  increases the risk of adolescent obesity, smoking, sex, drug and alcohol use, attention problems and poor grades.  And with adults,  the news isn’t much better.

That’s why when I watch the news about the current financial crisis in America, I worry about the negative impact it must have on people who watch it so much.  Anyone watching  4 or more hours of TV a day is going to have a skewed outlook on life.  So to avoid the negative news from the media overwhelming you, just remember:

1) Don’t overreact.   When the news is negative, too many people panic, and make decisions they regret later.  Is this financial crisis serious?  Yes.  But it’s not time to freak out.  Things change, but it never hurts to remember your priorities.  Either we live by priorities or by pressures.  This financial crisis might be God’s wake up call to remind you of your original vision and purpose.

2) Get Back in Balance.  Are you still learning, giving, and moving to the next level?   Maybe it’s time to cut back on TV viewing and return to the basics – studying, supporting ministries that matter, and sharing my faith with other people.  Live your life outward, not inward.

3)  When You watch TV or other media, make sure it counts.  Stop wasting your time watching mindless TV and start focusing on programs that matter.  The best television can actually enhance your life and bring your family together.

Real friends and relationships feed your spirit, so re-think how you use the media, and reconnect with friends and family.

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  1. The only cure. . .Domination! Phil Cooke’s point #3 I mean. Stats like this make someone that God’s put in media feel like a bad guy. So to cure the “bad program” watching, (watching of any kind will inevitably happen) let us (Christians) flood the airwaves, theatres and news outlets with programs, films and headlines that showcase Jesus and His Kingdom’s work on Earth.

  2. I’ll go even further with a suggestion, here. On days of special occasions, don’t even watch the news. Turn it off and ignore it. I’ve been in many pleasant situations where someone just happens to turn on CNN, or something similar, and all of a sudden, we’re spending the next 2 days glued to some story "of great importance". And it stifles our joy, and starts to dominate every conversation. Sheesh!!  

    So, yes! TURN IT OFF. Whenever you can. and TIVO, or set-up the record mode. watch it later! Go have fun doing something else. Go to a restaurant with friends, go hang-out at the beach, write a new song, go serve the poor…

    The TV will ALWAYS be here when you get home. 

  3. PC, some good thoughts, hey you omitted (read books!) like your latest 🙂 … OK, so I am really curious about #3 for you personally. Care to share the shows you follow and the ones you find are “programs that matter”? Could be the subject of an interesting poll for the site, i.e. to see what shows are really being watched by the “Christian” readers here.

  4. So true!!  I am a personal coach for dentists – we have clients that are thriving right now and those who are struggling.  The line in the sand is most definitely their frame of mind.  Garbage in, garbage out. Too much focus on those things we cannot control can sink our ship.  It’s unfortunate that their is more faith put in the media than in He who is ultimately in control of all things.  What a blessing it is to know that it’s already been figured out, long before we were ever around!  Balance in our lives is crucial if we are going to weather any storm.

  5. You could also get your news from more positive websites, or more neutral sources. (like our website). I worry about the impact it has on our minds too, I really do.

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