- The Washington Times - Monday, April 26, 2010

Culture Challenge of the Week: The War on Children

Everywhere around us a battle is raging for the hearts, minds and attitudes of our children. And this struggle is most intense within the safety of the American home.

Its a subtle battle, even hidden from those who would rather not see. Many parents prefer to think of entertainment that comes into their homes as “happy and harmless” because it provides quiet respites in the midst of our busy, complex lives. With stressful workdays, its such a relief to be able to have Johnny or Susie disappear into another room to play video games, surf the net, and watch television and movies of their choosing. At least they are safe within our four walls and not getting into trouble, right?

But for the parent who dares to look beyond the Hollywood glitz and happy marketing themes that accompany every television show and movie, an ugly pattern emerges that pretty much explains why this generation of pre-teen girls are so sexual; why crude and rude behavior and language has become the status quo; and why even the youngest of children seem to lack respect for their parents.

In her new book, “The War on Children,” researcher and family advocate Karen L. Gushta describes the war in detail, and even lays out the enemy’s battle plans as well as their weapons of choice.

She skillfully documents how entertainment teaches our children that “there is no absolute truth and no ultimate moral values.” Of particular interest is Chapter 4, which outlines the roles of the liberal courts in providing authority and ammunition to the enemy: “They Banned Prayer and Protected Porn” explains how it all got so bad, so quickly. And Chapter 5, “Heroes and Heroines: Virtue and Vice Redefined” gets to the heart of the psychological warfare being used to twist good and bad, to turn truth into lies, and to pervert justice.

How to Save Your Children and Win the War

It’s pretty simple, actually — I call it deliberate parenting.

The first step is realizing that the world has changed. Gone are days of pleasant entertainment designed to foster strong moral values and strong families. Even Disney cannot be trusted. It has become the No. 1 producer of sexual role models for our young girls — they have become masters of deceit in creating seemingly innocent, fun, cute starlets that our little girls love to emulate, and then morph them into trampy women whose lives center around their sexual power.

As Ms. Gushta explains, it actually starts with very young children, “The media have continued to push the boundaries in childrens entertainment. Today it often wears a patina of childish play and silliness, but underneath, its humor is strictly adult, as signaled by the trademark of double entendre.” She also warns, “However, its not just sexualized content for which parents must be alert. They must also be on the lookout for the worldviews that are subtly slipped into the story.”

The second step is to stop being so lazy when it comes to entertainment. Take the time to read honest reviews of programming content by visiting sites like MovieGuide.org and PluggedinOnline.com. Stop depending on shows that self-proclaim they are “family friendly” and instead, watch programming yourself so you can decide what is truly family friendly. Install a reliable Internet filter, and view your child’s Internet history.

Most importantly, replace much of the time they are spending consuming entertainment with time spent with you. Talk to them about your values, and how your desire is for them to be young men and women known for their goodness, grace, purity and love for others. Paint a vision of the type of human being you want them to become, and deliberately remind them on a daily basis of the high value God places on them as individuals.

When left alone, your children will be manipulated and consumed by the selfish and narcissistic values pervasive in todays entertainment arsenal. With your daily, deliberate assistance, they will become wise, strong warriors who are equipped to recognize the lies and defeat them at every turn.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [email protected]

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