Concerned About Constant Media Use? ~ Media Talk 101 #Review
I’m already not your typical parent with regards to media; I turned the TV service off in our house over a decade ago when I realized that I was paying $40 a month for perhaps a nickel’s worth of shows I was willing to let my children watch. We went cold-turkey – the TV went off and stayed off that entire summer, without even the occasional movies and video games I’d eventually permit. I’d been strict with the TV as it was, it didn’t go on without my explicit permission, but there was still a week or two of pouting and asking. But after that, it was no big deal; it’s just the way we do things.
I haven’t been a fan of TV, “sitting and staring at the stupid box”, since I was in middle school, though I do enjoy non-violent games myself – because they require thought and active participation. So when we received the Captivated DVD from Media Talk 101 recently to review, I figured it would be sort of like preaching to the choir – that there wouldn’t be anything new or life-changing for us.
In some ways, that’s the truth. I’m not going to make any major changes in our household consumption of media as a result of viewing Captivated, primarily because of two points: I strongly believe in the value of teaching moderation in all things, and unless we run off to the wilds somewhere, media isn’t going to go away. We need to be teaching our kids to manage it appropriately, not to avoid it. And this is a position that Media Talk 101 seems to support, though there is quite a bit of discussion about breaking the “addiction” to media. (Using the word “addiction” in this manner is a bit of an irritant to me, but I’ll let it pass. I also have pretty strong opinions about addiction and willpower… and how a lack of one – or the false belief that one has it – leads to the slippery slope of the other). Second, much of what is suggested as possible solutions, we’ve already done.
The real value in Captivated, in my opinion, for those who are already living a lesser-media lifestyle, is to help clarify and reinforce WHY you are doing so… and give you the words to share that with others. Or, in the case of Captivated, a simple and concise way to simply hand someone the DVD and say, “You need to watch this”.
The greatest value, however, is to those who are feeling trapped, overwhelmed, or just plain unsatisfied with the media consumption in the lives and families. Though the Captivated movie is aimed at parents, it’s watchable by those of any age. There’s nothing here that I would consider harmful to younger children. Watching the movie together as a family is a great way to open up the lines of communication about media, and some of the statistics given are so staggering that may outright shock those who don’t think they need to make any changes into doing so. (Seriously, if teens are averaging those kind of texting numbers, and mine aren’t, that must mean the curve is pretty darn huge.)
The kids, however, were a bit more skeptical than I was. Their first concern was that it meant I was going to further restrict TV and computer use, which they’re well aware is something I’m constantly considering and known to somewhat randomly (in their opinion) inflict if I feel the need. For us, since so much of our schooling is done on the computer these days, it’s not really practical to restrict the computers or their usage more than they already are. It’s also not unusual for the kids and I to go a week or two without turning the television on, with the exception of school stuff. (Now, if I could get the guy to watch this movie and try it, I’d be in heaven. Not sure that’s going to happen. He’s definitely in the “doesn’t think it’s a problem” camp.)
There is one slightly frustrating thing about Captivated, for me. Because it’s Christian-centric, even though the majority of the material is not explicitly Christian, it’s not really appropriate to share with those of other faiths. It’d be a turn-off, so that they’d fail to get the important parts of the message. I really wish that there was a version that presented the primary purpose of the DVD (discernment in media) in a way that was open to everyone. I’d really like to be able to recommend this to every parent – it’s that important a subject for both our individual families and society as a whole.
My absolute favorite quote?
“There’s more TVs in America than there are toilets, which should give us some indication that there’s probably more sewage coming into our homes than actually leaving it!”
The Captivated DVD is $16.95 with free shipping, or purchase two – so you can give away the second – for just $21.95.