5 Tips for Exercising Media-Wisdom in 2020
By Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor & Allyson Vannatta, Staff Writer
*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2019 and was revised for 2020.
Are you looking to build healthy habits this year? As you ponder potential new year’s resolutions and goals for the next 360+ days, consider the role the media plays in your everyday life, and you’ll begin to see that media-wise habits may be a key to a healthier, happier life as you start the new decade.
Below are five habits you can practice with your family. If you’re already implementing them, leave a comment below and let us know how it’s affected your family for the better.
“And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,” – Philippians 1:9-10 (CSB)
- Start a dialogue with your family about what they’re seeing
Creating a safe space to talk about what your children glean from the media is crucial to helping them become discerning adults. As they grow, there will be a point when “I told you so” doesn’t work, so in order to prepare them for life, let them know that you are interested in how they consume and interact with the media.
Not only does this demonstrate your interest in your children’s thoughts, but it also gives you an opportunity to show them how to learn from the good in media and to reject the bad.
- Stop what you’re watching if it’s inappropriate
At many theaters, you can walk out of a theater and get your money back before the movie credits roll (I worked for a major theater company where this was allowed). You have the ability to click stop on your mouse or remote control if you’re streaming a movie.
In Hollywood, your dollars show your support of that specific movie or show. If you’re feeling uneasy about what you’re seeing or know that it directly conflicts with your Christian beliefs, respond to that by choosing to forego those movies or shows.
Know that you as an audience member don’t have to be subjected to anything you don’t want to see.
- Pray specifically
Know that you serve a triune God in heaven who wants to hear what’s on your heart.
As you wade through the media waters, don’t forget that the Holy Spirit is available to you through prayer and truly willing to lead you to answers about the media. In times where you might be questioning, trust that God wants what’s best for you and will guide you accordingly.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” – John 16:13 (ESV)
- Stay up to date on streaming options
Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, and Apple TV+ are just a few of the streaming services on the market right now. 2020 is set to be another year of new services launching from Sony Affirm Television, HBO Max, Peacock and more. Since each one offers thousands of titles to choose from, whether it’s original programming, vaulted content or a show that’s airing on TV right now, it’s important to know which service will best suit your family. Since these services are at your fingertips, the easiest way to stop what you’re watching is to turn it off and pick a new title.
This leads to the final point…
- Check Movieguide® reviews
If you’re reading this article, it’s probably safe to say you care about the content you and your family are absorbing, and for that, we applaud you! Movieguide® reviews give you specific insight into a movie or TV show’s worldview, foul language and overall quality.
As you soak in the last few days of vacation and perhaps consider seeing a movie, click here for our reviews that will detail what you need to know before you go.
For an in-depth perspective on this topic of discernment, check out The Media-Wise Family by Dr. Ted Baehr.