Movieguide®’s Ted Baehr Teaches Media Wisdom in Greece
By Ben Kayser, Managing Editor, and Tom Snyder, Editor
Movieguide® Publisher and Founder Dr. Ted Baehr spoke earlier this month on the importance of teaching children to be media wise at the 11th Annual World Public Forum, Dialogue of Civilizations, in Rhodes, Greece.
The Rhodes Forum brings together public figures and statesmen, academics, religious figures and representatives of the arts, mass media and business spheres from all over the world to protect the spiritual and cultural values of humanity and to create a space for “constructive dialogue” among the major civilizations of the world.
“The United States of America and Europe are on the edge of a cultural collapse, brought about, to a large degree, by the mass media of entertainment centered. . . in Hollywood,” Dr. Baehr told the Forum’s participants.
“The mass media. . . is redefining the norms of morals and morality that are characteristic of all civilizations,” he added.
However, Dr. Baehr also noted, “The good news is that there are effective ways to teach your children to be media wise and to transform the mass media of entertainment.”
He listed five keys to teaching families and children to be media wise:
Understand the influence of the media on your children.
Ascertain your child’s susceptibility at each stage of cognitive development to different stimuli in the mass media of entertainment.
Teach your children how the media communicates its messages.
Help your children know the fundamentals of morals nad morality that are characteristic of all civilizations.
Help your children learn how to ask the right questions to the issues presented by the mass media of entertainment.
For the last one, Dr. Baehr explained, “For instance, if the hero in the movie your child is watching wins by murdering or mutilating his victims, will your child be able to question this hero’s behavior, no matter how likeable that character may be?”
He concluded, “Cultural and media wisdom involves educating the heart so that it will make the right decisions.”
After years of presenting mostly Muslim, Hindu, atheist, and politically correct opinions, Dr. Baehr said the Rhodes Forum is now including some Christian viewpoints like his.
As a result, the Forum’s Declaration at the end of the conference called for “urgent action to end the persecution of minorities across the world, including Christians in the wider Middle East.”
The Declaration also stated, “We promote the contribution of marriage and the family to society and the economy, including family businesses and small- and medium-size enterprise.”
“We pray that all the members of the Forum will recognize the importance of protecting society’s children and grandchildren from the negative impacts of the mass media and realize that freedom and faith in God is the answer,” Dr. Baehr said.
Dr. Baehr’s lectures, speaking engagements, classes, and workshops are supported in part by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
The John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org) funds independent research and public engagement to pursue big questions and discoveries on life’s purpose, human potential, and ultimate reality. The Foundation’s motto, “How little we know, how eager to learn,” exemplifies our support for open-minded inquiry, commitment to rigorous scientific research and related scholarship, and encouraging civil, informed dialogue among scientists, scholars, theologians, and the public at large.
Dr. Baehr is chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® (CFTVC) ministry and director of its family guide to movies and entertainment, Movieguide® (www.movieguide.org). CFTVC and Movieguide® are an international non-profit ministry, advocacy group, and watchdog dedicated to “redeeming the values of the entertainment industry by influencing industry executives and by informing and equipping the public about the influence of the entertainment media.”
Each year, Movieguide® sponsors the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, also supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, featuring the $100,000 Epiphany Prizes for Inspiring Movies & TV, the $50,000 Kairos Prizes for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays by First-Time and Beginning Screenwriters, the $50,000 Chronos Prizes for Inspiring Screenplays by Established Filmmakers, and the $50,000 Friess Foundation Free Enterprise Prize.
The Awards honor the producers, directors, writers, and studio and network executives behind the best and most family-friendly and faith-friendly movies and television programs. The Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry shows that family-friendly and faith-friendly movies and TV programs make the most money or earn the highest ratings.
The 22nd Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry will be held Friday, Feb. 5, 2014, at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
For more information, visit www.movieguide.org or call 1-888-248-6689.