Be Careful Little Eyes What You See . . .

It’s a kids song, sung to a familiar lilting tune, but the words are so very significant if we stop to think about them. I taught this song to my kids when they were little, far to little to fully understand the implications. But these days they are 7, 10 and 13; and what they’re seeing and hearing is starting to concern me.

Have you noticed how graphic and intimate images and situations in the media have become lately? I know that they’re always pushing the envelope in the movies and on TV. That’s nothing new. But lately I feel that there is almost nothing you can watch or listen to or even anywhere you can go to avoid being bombarded with graphic images of a violent or sexual nature — and it’s not just images. It’s the words to the music too. The songs on the radio right now are horrendous. Have you listened to them?

I was at an elementary school dance last winter and my 7- and 10- year-old daughters were dancing to songs that proclaimed things like:

That magic in your pants, it’s making me blush
Looking for some trouble tonight
Take my hand i’ll show you the wild side . . .

But swimming in your waters is something spiritual
I’m gonna get every time you spend the night
Cause your sex takes me to paradise
Yeah your sex takes me to paradise . . .

Starships were meant to fly
Hands up and touch the sky
Let’s do this one last time
Hands up…(we’re higher than a motherf-ck-r) . . .

No, I’m not joking. I wish I were.

When I’m listening to the radio with my kids, about every other song causes me to turn the channel. Or all too often, I sit through it, wincing at the lyrics, wondering how much they are picking up and at one point I should just ban pop music from our home.

On Saturday, I took my 7-year-old daughter to the nail salon with me, and we got pedicures. The TV was on in the background and I soon realized it was quite a violent movie playing out on the screen — at 2:00 in the afternoon, mind you. One man was beating up another, blood streaming down his face, while an infant in a carseat looked on.

I hopped up and walked over to where my daughter was happily having her toenails painted and asked that they change the channel. They looked at me blankly and said, “to what?”

After I explained that I didn’t really care, as long as it’s appropriate for a 7-year-old, they shrugged and changed the channel to a cartoon. I went back to my seat, feeling a bit unsettled, this post forming in my head for the 5th time in a week.

Later that day we took our kids to see Oz The Great And Powerful. Hollywood couldn’t even leave this classic movie alone. B00bs were everywhere throughout the movie, cuz you know, witches would be sensual and provocative. When the one witch turned bad, her dress popped off, leaving her in a black bustier. When Glenda fell down the stairs, it was (I felt) unnecessarily harsh. Oz had to woo and kiss every woman he met.

I was so glad I did NOT have my kids at Les Miserables (the movie) when I saw it, as the prostitue scene with Fontaine was played out so very intimately on the big screen.

I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie, and my kids like to watch American Idol with me. You’d think a singing talent show would be benign, wouldn’t you? Not with Nikki Minaj as judge and jury. She can’t let a night go by without making a sexual comment to at least one contestant.  The sad thing is, I enjoy her perspective and her quirky personality most of the time. Why can’t they keep it clean? It’s on at 8PM, for crying out loud. And don’t get me started on Survivor . . .

A few weeks ago we took our 13-year-old son to a Sixers basketball game. It was his Christmas present from his Grammie. There were a couple of yahoos behind us cursing like sailors and whistling at the “dance team” like lewd teenage boys. When my husband turned around and asked them to tone it down, there are kids here, they acted like we were the idiots and proceeded to make fun of us the rest of the night.

And did I mention the “dance team”? They don’t even pretend to be cheerleaders anymore. They are there purely for the male enjoyment. I was incredibly uncomfortable sitting there with my son.

Then there are the video games. Have you seen Call of Duty? How realistic the images are?

This post has been stewing for some time. I’ve been wanting to write out my thoughts and feelings and concerns about what our kids are subjected to and how it must be affecting them.

And then Steubenville happened. I was blissfully ignorant of this situation until yesterday, when one could no longer be on Facebook without hearing about it. I haven’t seen any news coverage except for reading one NY Times article to get the facts.

But this morning my friend Danielle’s well written post spurred me to write this post. Particularly this part . . .

Few stories in the news have turned my stomach like those I have heard surrounding the rape of a 16 year old girl by two teenage football players from Steubenville, Ohio.  As if the crime itself wasn’t horrific enough, the attitudes of those involved – both the boys committing the crimes, taking pictures of the young girl and sharing them via social media, but the number of people who KNEW, SAW IT HAPPENING, HEARD ABOUT IT, or SAW THE PICTURES and yet did nothing is, in itself, beyond baffling.  What is happening to teenagers that the line between right and wrong is no longer discernible?  What is happening in HOMES that we, as parents, are raising children without a CONSCIENCE?

I believe I may have the answer to her question. At least, part of it. Maybe a piece to the puzzle?

I cannot help but think of the graphic images and language that our kids are bombarded with while their young minds and consciences are  developing. It absolutely has to have a numbing effect on their consciences.

Doesn’t seeing violence on screens (movies, TV, video games . . .) makes it all seem not quite so real? Don’t you think it might eventually skew their perception of reality? Was everyone present at the Steubenville party so drunk that they weren’t horrified by what was happening? Or are kids losing touch with reality?

And if there is any truth to my theory, what are we as parents supposed to do about it? Our kids have access to the World Wide Web on their little portable devices. We’ve set up every security precaution that we possibly can, thank goodness for a husband in I.T. But still, when they’re not at home, we don’t have much control. I know they are seeing things that would have been completely out of question when I was that age because the Internet makes it all so accessible. I shudder to think that my son might come across that Steubenville video. I caught a link to it on a blog post that I read about the issue, and I stopped 5 seconds in because I don’t want those images in MY head. But my kids . . .

I want to preserve their innocence as long as possible. Not because I want them to avoid reality, but because some things they just aren’t mature enough to handle. I wish that parents everywhere would band together and protest this barrage of media influence, but I fear that all too many parents either don’t see a problem with their kids viewing most of this stuff, or like me, feel almost helpless to avoid it.

I know I can’t protect my kids from everything, and bad stuff happens, and even “good kids” end up doing unconscionable things, but I believe that situations like this should make us stop and think about what we are letting our kids do and see and hear.

Sometimes I feel so unequipped to parent in this digital age, and yet I know that I cannot give up. I have to keep pressing on, making the difficult decisions, often the unpopular ones. That’s my job, after all.

Comments

  1. valleygirl says

    Our kids go to a private Christian school, we only listen to the christian radio unless it’s a kids CD and movies are limited to Netflix most of the time (and it’s the kid stuff, hubby and I don’t waste time with TV unless it’s old re runs of sitcoms or the food channel). And yet I STILL worry about this stuff. It is real and it is out there. I think the real problem is our kids being raised without God in their hearts. He is the one that brings morals to the forefront, He created them afterall! Most kids nowadays are raised in school with parents just on the sidelines feeding them enough to keep them full but not nourishing their bodies and just barely doing their “job”. Not taking time to invest spiritually in them or really make heart to heart connections. You parent like that, you will see the results (or lack of them) when they are teens. Do I think my kids will be perfect teenagers? No but I strive to have an open relationship with them, pray with them, read the Bible with them to where they understand it for themselves. I guide them and teach them the best I can and am THERE. I trust all this will pay off in the long run but in the meantime I will for sure protect them from what’s in the world until I see they can handle it. Are they living in a bubble? Perhaps right now, yes they are. On purpose. So that I can formulate the foundations from which I want them to see life. Once that is established that bubble will slowly expand to capture the reality of our world. But not without my protection and oversight. We cannot let our kids just slip away into the world. They will never reach their destiny of who they were created to be because the world has no interest in them attaining that.

    • says

      We rethink our schooling decisions CONSTANTLY but right now my kids’ best friends are at church and in the neighborhood. School is the least of my concerns, but it is something that I’m re-evaluating at every turn, lol. And absolutely, as a believer, Christ has to be at the center of our conversations with our kids. And yet… I still feel like it’s a constant battle against the images, the lyrics, the themes… it’s everywhere. I would love to find Christian music that they like, but whenever I try, it goes over like a lead balloon. Sigh….

      • valleygirl says

        Oh I wasn’t saying that everyone should do what WE do…I was just saying that even though my kids are in a bubble bc of the environments we have them in I STILL worry about these same things because you are right, they ARE bombarded by it. As far as Christian music, do you not have a contemporary channel? My kids love it and know all the lyrics to every song. But then again they know nothing different. LOL You can also try searching for artists that are “similar” to ones they might already know from songs they currently listen to. There are so many different genres to choose from. I think as Christian parents, we are already doing much more than the majority of parents out there. And I don’t say that to imply that moms and dads that are not christian are doing a bad job…just that the majority are not going to be concerned about the things that we are.

        • says

          I know you weren’t. :-) But it is one of those things that I’m always wondering, are we doing the right thing? I’m sure most parents wonder that sometimes, no matter which schooling choice they make.

      • says

        Have you tried Delirious or David Crowder Band? My two favorite bands, although neither is active anymore. The members of both bands have gone on to make other music, just not as a band. My kids like both. Lecrae is a Christian hip-hop artist. Plumb is a rock group with a girl singer. Barlow Girl might appeal to your daughters.

    • Susan says

      You should absolutely still worry about this. I have many many clients whose parents decide for some reason that public school isn’t working and those kids are plopped directly into your nice little Christian world bubble. Usually these are kids who are exploring lots of alternative types of things that you wouldn’t want your kids involved.

      I would agree with you that the problem is the absence of God in our homes and lives but don’t think for a *minute* that the girls I’m referring to in my posts below are poor little lost souls. The girls on Instagram posing in bikinis or in lewd positions with other pictures???? Guess where they are on Sunday mornings??? FRONT AND CENTER IN CHURCH!!! These are amazing athletes, honor society, mission trip going, Christian summer camp going girls.

      Do their parents think they have invested in their girls spiritually ? Ha..YES. They think they have little angel girls! Trust me on this one, those girls have their mommas fooled.

  2. Jane Bailey says

    I agree with you completely. As a mother two a six year old daughter and a two year old son I am amazed at how rude and unthoughtful our culture is. Maybe I am a little old-fashioned or it is my influence growing up in the South (Nashville), but I am distraught at the lack of awareness or concern people show regarding this matter. Most act like it is no big deal to have their children watch the popular movies and music. We rarely go to the movies, there is just not much that I would even want to watch for myself. I am suprised they’re are not better movies out for families or can we have just one or two about falling in love and STAYING married (not cheating, getting divorced etc.) Images are powerful, they can stay in your mind for a long time. And also it bothers me when we are at a restuarant or grocery shopping and the people next to us are cursing like it is no big deal. I just want to say Hey please be aware their are people here (and children) who don’t want to hear your conversation. It’s hard enough explaining to them that we do not take the Lord’s name. Can really relate, thanks for the post. My kindergartner comes home singing songs too and I hardly ever have it on a popular radio channel. Love your blog and recipes too!

  3. gayle says

    Last week I went to a talk in “screen time” led by a psychologist. He addressed the violent video games (even the ones with “little” violence targeted to younger elementary school boys) and television mostly. The phrase that stuck with me the most was: The brain learns what the brain does (if the brain is killing/hurting people in a video game…).
    The second item that resonated was that time spent in front of a screen is usually an “opportunity lost”: for time outside, with family, reading, with friends, etc. It definitely inspired me to be more aware of how much time my kids are spending on computers, phones, and t.v.

  4. says

    JL, I’m so behind in my online life right now, I’m only skimming. But … I do think TV and radio are simply NOT what they were when we were teens. I watched Brady Bunch and Bonzana, and listened to ABBA or Dan Fogelberg. So, we don’t have TV reception in our home. And we honestly don’t listen to music on the radio at all. It’s not even on our kids’ radar screen as “music option” — and 3 of our kids are in college. Years ago, my husband worked hard, as their buddy, to get them used to listening to our old music, and watching our old movies, and to some extent that stuck. Esp. with the music.

    The culture can be terrifying to parents. I read recently that 1 in 4 women in South Africa, have been raped. When did rape become rather normative in life? Crazy. Oh, Lord, please take us elsewhere! I do think it’s still possible to raise children who are mostly untainted by such horror, but it takes much more work that it used to.

  5. says

    Hi, Jo-Lynne! I’m Courtney and I’m a new follower of your awesome blog! Thank you so much for sharing this post! I don’t have any kids of my own just yet, but I am the oldest of six kids (and I have two AMAZING parents). I also was a youth group leader for many years.

    I totally understand your concern with today’s media. Sex and violence are not only everywhere, but they are displayed in a very nonchalant way. My parents did their best to help us guard our ears and eyes – but there was only so much they could physically do. What really benefited us kids growing up were the conversations my parents would have with us about music and movies. They helped us understand how images and lyrics effect our mind and spirit, they empowered us to make good entertainment choices for our own benefit, not for theirs.

    I know things will only be worse when I have children, but I believe my parents method is still an effective one. It’s not just about censoring content (even though that’s very important), but it’s about having taking those moments when a distasteful commercial comes on the TV or a crude song comes on the radio to explain what’s really going on in those moments, thus equipping the child to make good decisions even when you’re not around.

    Thanks again for posting this great article!

    • says

      Thanks for that perspective. That is pretty much what we do, so maybe it will all work out in the end. I probably need to be more aware and have more of those conversations, but yes, ultimately it has to be THEIR choice to want to shut it off or walk away. I hope I can instill that in them.

    • Susan says

      I agree completely! Censoring everything and only allowing perfect, Christian themed stuff into your home sets your kid up for a culture shock. Talk about things, watch together….a much better approach than shielding them.

  6. says

    My daughter gets frustrated with me when I change a song on the radio. “Mom, all my friends like that song.” Oh well. But I agree. It is hard, and I don’t know what to do either. Just keep trying to do our best.

  7. says

    I am shocked they were playing those songs at your girls’ school! Did you say something to whoever was in charge?? My kids hear some popular music at school, but it is always the Kids Bop versions so the lyrics are edited.

    We are huge sports fans so we see lots of inappropriate commercials, unfortunately. We try to change the channel or talk about the situation. I think talking about why we have issues with content is as important as limiting exposure. My kids listen to Today’s Hits on Pandora at home, via the Blu-ray, and they will choose to skip a song on their own based just on the album art! It is a constant issue in our lives, but I think we are doing okay.

    Thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post.

    • says

      Ha. That would be one of my best friends. And really, they hear it in my car. I mean, sometimes I turn it… but still. I know they hear it. I just can’t believe it is out there. At all.

      And the album art… oh my word! But again, some of my own music is the worst. And we all share an iTunes account. I suppose I should edit my own playlists…. may be a good place to start.

  8. says

    Noone said this was going to be easy… and I now believe them!
    I have been able to turn my 10 year old to positive singers like Carrie Underwood recently but it feels like a pebble in a pond. It has led me to have to have many more talks earlier than I was planning with my 12.5 year old.

    I tell her ‘when that comes on TV and it makes you feel uncomfortable – it should’. Maybe it just helps me feel better.

    Some say this is all politically driven and I am starting to believe them.

    PS – hometown girl Angie Miller who grew up around the corner! has been an inspiration to me lately.

  9. says

    I think this post is spot on. My kids live in a bubble of my husband’s and my making, with support from family and friends. We watch Netflix only, and they are limited to three or four kids’ websites they can play games on – on a desktop computer, not on a portable device. We don’t have cable, and the only commercials they watch are the ones that play on nickjr.com or one of the other kids websites. I’m pretty annoyed that they have to watch a commercial to play a game, but so far the commercials have just been for toys. But I won’t pause to cut off a site if I see something inappropriate.
    Nothing makes me more unhappy than going out somewhere, like your stories about the salon and the basketball game, and having my kids exposed to inappropriate stuff by people who just don’t give a crap.
    AND THE MUSIC! Why does Kidz Bop exists? There is plenty of age-appropriate GOOD music STILL being written and recorded for children. There is no need to take songs written for older audiences and make a “kiddie” version. Makes me crazy.
    I’m trying to keep my kiddos innocent because our world thrusts things on them that they are too young to handle constantly. It’s maddening!
    I’m glad you wrote this, but I think there’s nothing to be done about it but to restrict kids’ access to stuff and constantly be on guard when you’re out and about.

  10. says

    I was in a store in the mall that carries clothes down to a 6X. My daughter (10yo) started singing along to the music and then just stopped. I am one of those people that truly just tune out music so wasn’t really paying attention. However, I looked up at her because she is ALWAYS singing so for her to stop mid-sentence is unusual. She had a horrified look on her face, and said, “Mom, we need to leave. This is NOT appropriate.” I then actually heard the chorus of the song, which was something about sex with multiple people, and agreed. As we were leaving, I stopped to inform the sales person (a teenage young man whom to this point had ignored us) that we were leaving because we were offended by the lyrics. He just looked at me like I was nuts. I would has asked to speak to management, but I wanted her out of there, and didn’t want her standing out in the mall alone while I asked to speak to someone. I will say that I emailed the company (not something I usually do, but it was horrible) and got a favorable response.

    I’m pretty sure that the kids working didn’t think anything of the music they were listening to for just the reasons you mentioned. They’ve become numb.

    We’re pretty strict in our house about what you watch and hear, and we’ve taught our daughter that if she’s uncomfortable, she needs to turn it off or leave the situation. I was really proud of her for being the one to say, “We’ve got to go!”

  11. says

    I can not tell you how much I connect with this post. I have boys, ages 8 & 9. My husband and I have worked hard to keep all kinds of inappropriate influences out of their path, but it isn’t possible to monitor all the time. They have picked up things here & there from their web-enabled devices and from being around other kids. The strictest privacy controls have allowed exposure to some unsavory content. The best kids have taught them new words, or filled them in on music lyrics they’d never know otherwise.
    I think all we, as parents, can do is try to instill our values and hope they shine through when the moment comes. Recently, at a family gathering, I heard all of the elementary school boys watching TV together. I was the proudest mom alive when I overheard my 9 year old son tell his 10 year old cousin to turn the channel because he was not allowed to watch the show his cousin selected. They argued, my guy won with the facts that the cartoon (yes, it was a cartoon- one of the many new inappropriate cartoons,) uses “bad words and talks about sex stuff.”
    I wanted to kiss him & shower him with praise but I never let him know I’d overheard, he would be mortified. It reassured me that we are doing OK as parents. I needed that reassurance in this super scary world our kids face.
    Thanks for posting about this. I wish more parents would simply open their ears and eyes to what their children see and hear every day. I’ll be following you!

    • Susan says

      See my post below. As the mom of a boy who will be hitting the tweenage years soon, you need to know that his fellow female classmates (and their parents, apparently) think nothing of posting almost nude pictures of themselves repeatedly on Twitter and Instagram. Guard their accounts and talk about it frequently .

      • says

        See, this, THIS is what freaks me the heck out. How am I supposed to protect my son with this stuff going on? Gah….. Fortunately I haven’t seen anything bad coming thru his FB acct and he has no desire to be on Instagram. But I know he’s only 13. There’s a loooong road ahead.

        • annie says

          Yes, it’s so terribly disturbing isn’t it? It’s multifaceted of course, but I hate that we (meaning are culture) are teaching our daughters that their value lies in their bodies and how much attention they can get from boys. And we are teaching our boys that they have a right to girls’ bodies. It’s quite a mess.

          It is a long road, but you are a great parent. You will arm him with knowledge and information. He will find it sad that a girl will value herself so little that she needs a boy to validate what she looks like naked. And he will know that no matter how many naked pictures a girl posts of herself, that he does not have right to her body.

          It’s the parents that DON’T talk about it that scares me. It’s the boys who hear their fathers call women whores and their mothers say things like “Well why was she dressed like that? She was asking for it.”.

  12. annie says

    Hmmmm…I’m not certain I entirely agree that violence on screens/games is the cause of real life violence. I do think that screen violence can be a reflection of the American cultural fascination with violence, but that is different than it being the cause. Similarly, there is the whole virgin/whore dichotomy with the depiction of women in entertainment. I don’t think this is the cause of how our culture views women, but it’s certainly a reflection of it and can perpetuate it.

    Also, what happened in Steubenville is nothing new. This has happened, and will happen again, many, many times. Boys were doing this to girls in the whitewashed 1950′s. The only difference is no one had cell phones to take pictures and tweet about it. No one back then would even think to report it, and if anyone tried to it would quickly get swept under the rug and the girl would get the blame. Horrible violence has been perpetuated against women for eons, long before violent movies and video games ever existed.

    So in one sense, all this new technology is a good thing! It has the power to make people aware of things that are going on in the world that we would otherwise not have known about. And I’d say it’s a small advancement in our culture that the boys were actually convicted for what they did, although there is a lot of victim blaming going around.

    Anyway, it’s a tough one that’s for sure! I think the amount a parent chooses to shield their children is a personal choice. But more important than shielding or not shielding is TALKING. If your kids are younger talk about the differences between fantasy and real violence. Talk about how we want people to treat each other. If your kids are older talk about the reality of “rape culture” and what that means. And no matter your children’s ages, emphasize that absolutely NO ONE has a right to their body other than themselves, and that they do not have the right to mistreat anyone else’s body either.

    • says

      I do see your point, and I do realize that what happened unfortunately is nothing new. But that the kids around were so callous to it? I dunno… again, I know it’s happened for centuries, but I am really shocked that more of the kids present weren’t horrified.

      I think conversation is absolutely the most important thing, from a parenting angle. I expect that many parents shy away from it because they don’t know what to say (I know I do sometimes… I have to force myself to have the conversations, and I stumble through them, and I probably don’t have them enough.) But it is key.

      • annie says

        Sadly, I don’t think the callousness is new. Remember the story of Kitty Genovese? She was killed in the courtyard of her apartment building in 1964. She was screaming for help, and many of her neighbors heard her, but no one helped her. It’s so horrible of course, and very interesting sociologically. This case is where the idea of the “bystander effect” comes from. In a crowd, everyone thinks someone else will step forward. And there is a huge social pressure that until “someone” does step forward, no one wants to be the first one.

        I’d like to think that a lot of the kids at the parties that night were bothered by it, but the social stigma of being “the one” feels pretty big. Also, they were all underage kids drinking and none of them wanted to get in trouble.

        And of course that leads back to the whole talking thing. I would hope that my kids would never be a such a party, but if they are one day I want them to have the inner confidence to step up and say “This is wrong!”.

          • annie says

            It really is. And perhaps I’m wishful thinking that some of the kids were bothered by what they saw. Maybe they weren’t? Maybe they all really do think that a drunk girl is a free for all. It’s such a disturbing story all around. The victim received all kinds of threats for going forward with the case. There are plenty of people who believe she is less important than the boys who raped her.

  13. Susan says

    Very good post and very important to take to heart and to initiate discussions with kids. I’m a mom of a 13 year old girl and I can tell you that the root of the problem also lies in the images girls place of themselves on social media. I check my daughters Instagram account very regularly and she knows not to take or post pictures of herself or others in bathing suits, etc. BUT OH MY WORD THE GIRLS WHO DO THIS!!! Where are their mothers and fathers???? Do they not ever check ? I’m certainly not a prude but your daughter should NOT be posting bikini pictures for their peers and the world to see. Is it no wonder that boys who are exposed repeatedly to seeing these pictures don’t think it is much of a jump to post nude pictures ??

  14. plymouthmom says

    All the talking, restrictions, guidelines, encouraging, and monitoring might make a small impact. But the one thing that is sure to make the biggest impact is prayer. I have 14 & 13 year old sons and an 11 year old daughter, as well as a 2 year old daughter. My husband and I have been purposeful about passing on our faith to them, praying that their faith will become their own. We just have to trust the Lord, remembering that He created them. He knows every hair on their head, knows every choice they make, every thought they have, and He knows their futures. We have worked hard to help them make choices that are a reflection of a high view of God rather than a world view. Of course they have made both good and bad choices, but I am reminded to be constantly praying. It’s the only way to have peace. I also think we as parents have become a bit desensitized to culture, myself included. I’ve had to reexamine what I watch, what I listen to, how I dress, what I read, etc.our kids are watching, and all our talking won’t mean much if we are being hypocritical.

    • says

      All very true… thanks for the reminder. It’s so easy to throw my hands up and assume that we are all going to hell in a handbasket, lol. I know that I have become desensitized, unfortunately, even though I do try to monitor what I watch and read and listen to. I just can’t imagine where I’d be if it had started at their ages, ya know? I hate that they see and hear so much. But of course, prayer and trusting in God and passing that on to them is crucial. I have to trust that it will be enough.

  15. says

    Very well said my friend. As homeschoolers I know we have a bit of an advantage over what they are subject to but it’s still very hard. Music has such power and when I realized that my youngest (7) was singing more secular songs then worship songs, it was my fault. I have found myself playing more upbeat secular songs when I clean and in turn he’s singing them loud and proud. I even see it in my daughter (19) since she’s gotten her ipad that she seems to know about every singer and actor and movie that’s out and about, so I know she’s exposing herself to that and that’s hard to monitor. I try to hold her accountable with certain things but there comes a time when she is going to have to stand on her own two feet.
    It all boils down to parenting being very hard and sometimes we have to give up things just to protect our kids. We don’t have cable or iphones or things like that and we don’t watch anything at home that we wouldn’t want the kids to see. We use http://www.kidsinmind.com and http://www.pluggedinonline.com to check movies before we watch them.
    The fact that you are bothered by these things means that you’re on the right track and care deeply about the welfare of your kids. Kudos to you for writing this and sharing your heart.

  16. says

    Yes, yes, and YES!!!

    It’s almost unbearable, isn’t it? Sex and violence are everywhere and taken to such extremes. It’s difficult with kids. My son is 13 and my daughter is 11. I try not to be crazy. They need to learn to live in this world and walk the straight and narrow on their own, but come on. It’s just too much at too young an age. Some days I have difficulty processing it all, so how can I expect my 13 year-old to navigate these waters. It’s hard.

    The music is shocking. Seriously. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. Continually.

    My kids also have no Christian influence to speak of. Our situation is grim. We pray constantly for the Lord to open doors so we can change things, so we can improve our situation for our kids. We pray for them and we take one moment at a time.

    Sorry for such a lengthy comment and thank you for writing this post. It’s good to know there are others thinking about these things.
    ~FringeGirl

  17. says

    Oh boy. Raising kids in this day is certainly a challenge, one for which I feel completely ill-equipped most days. But as I’m watching “The Bible” on The History Channel, I’m reminded that parents have faced seemingly insurmountable odds for centuries. What we are seeing today is nothing new to God and nothing at all that He can’t handle.

    Of course I have a few thoughts. :) First, I think Annie (above) and I would be good friends. I agreed with everything she said. Second, I worry about kids who are raised in a bubble because the “bubble” is a false reality and I worry about what will happen when these kids meet “real” reality. Will they be too shocked to handle it? Will they rebel? Conform? Hopefully they will be just fine and my fears will be unwarranted.

    The fact is, the world is harsh, rude, and very, very sinful. And so am I. Which brings me to my third point: I think we have to remember who we are and who God is. You see, I am just as sinful as the person singing those disgusting lyrics. My kids know it because they see it in me daily. And when I try to shelter them, setting up an “us vs. them” mentality regarding the world, I set myself up to be a hypocrite because even though my sins are different, they are still sins. So, as a sinner, I need to remember who God is–a savior who loved His world enough to die for it. For me and for Nicki Minage and for those boys in Stubbenville. God is also holy, and He demands, rightly so, holiness from me. So, when I talk, talk, talk to my kids (and I do–I drive them crazy with the talk!), I talk about how a holy God demands holiness from me. How, if I’m listening to an inappropriate song, it hurts God and that hurts my relationship with God. If I’m on an inappropriate website, God sees it too, and that hurts my relationship with Him. Etc. . . .

    The world is our reality. It’s a scary place, that’s for sure, and as a parent who is just about to launch her oldest out into this big, scary world, I pray I have prepared her well. What I do know is that she is aware of what’s out there, she is sensitive to her relationship with her Savior, and she knows what He expects of her. What I know as her mom is that He goes with her and that He’s big enough to handle whatever comes her way.

    (Sorry for the length–I’m kind of passionate about this parenting stuff!)

  18. lisa says

    I am astounded that you did nothing about the inappropriate lyrics, and believe that by your silence you are condoning it. Having navigated two boys through high school and beyond, I would not have bothered with contacting the teacher to listen to his/her defensive statements (i.e., “none of the other parents complained”). My husband and I would have been sitting in the superintendent’s office at 8 am asking why these lyrics are appropriate for tax-payer supported schooling at any grade level. I would not have hesitated to point out the potential negative publicity that this could create if it were posted on the web that the school approves of such lyrics. I think that sitting around bemoaning the lyrics teaches our children to passively accept all that given to them, whether right or wrong. It is your responsibility to take action and be an example to your children. Some people may get intimidated by the idea of contacting a high level but my perspective is that these people work for me, the tax-payer, and they put on their pants one leg at a time also.

  19. says

    I totally feel the same way about this issue. I appreciate this post. Its good to know that there are many parents out there being protective like I am. Great post! :)

  20. Tracy says

    I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts on this subject. But I’m curious about what you think of Survivor. I ask this because I watched it last season with my 7 year old (TOTALLY because of Lisa Whelchel!). We had discussions about modesty at the beginning, and I explained it’s not ladylike to flaunt ourselves around in bikinis. We talked also about one’s character and the lying and deceit that goes on in the game for money. But aside from the obvious boobage, I’m not sure what else you object to. Could you please explain more? I would love to hear your perspective and will use it to weigh in again if we ever choose to watch it again.

    • says

      The bikinis, the people walking around in their underwear, and last week there was an awful scene with one guy calling the other a b*tch about 50 times, no exaggeration. I think I’ll be banning that show from our home next season. And probably American Idol too.

      The one I do still enjoy is The Amazing Race. It is *usually* okay for the kids and I think it’s cool for them to see different parts of the world.

  21. says

    I think it is time for mothers everywhere to say this! The images my 5 year old sees just in commercials and billboards astounds me. Not to mention going to the mall!

    Psalm 101: 3 – I will set no wicked thing before my eyes…

    I think even us need to be very careful what we are putting in. Phil 4: 8 is a great verse for us all.

    I have been feeling convicted about what she sees on Disney channel even. And this is supposed to be for kids? I might have to make some painful changes (painful for her).

    Thank you for this honest post. I really appreciated it!

  22. says

    I love that I’m not the only one going what the heck? This is supposed to be ok for my kids?!? I tend to be pretty strict when it comes to netflix, dvds, pandora, etc. Mr. Right tends to be a bit more lenient on the music than I am. I even at times question some of the shows on the Disney Channel which is my daughter’s favorite. I don’t understand how people are ok with all the insinuations, the lyrics, the dress, on these so called children’s shows and music. I don’t mind if my kids don’t listen to Christian music but it’s still got to be appropriate for their age. It’s very hard at times to find a good balance.

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