How much time is your family captivated by media (TV, Phone, Texting, Computer, Gaming)? I was convinced that my family is”captivated by media” when we watched the Captivated DVD by Media Talk 101 .
For Adults, but can be viewed by the whole family.
Retails for $16.95
DVD is 107 minutes long
Discusses the history of media and how it has changed, how it influences our culture and our worldview, how it can have an negative impact on our faith, and why we need to balance time spent using media with other positive activities.
My husband and I had already felt media had too much of our attention with ourselves and with our children and we were slowly making changes over the past year to fix this in our family. But watching the DVD really makes it clear to realize just how much my family utilizes media in it’s various forms, and the possible consequences, and perhaps even harm, of not balancing media usage more proactively in our life.
We have six kids. When our oldest two kids were young, we had very strict limitations on the amount of TV they saw. It totalled less than five hours a week for TV programs, and a few hours a week for movies. We only had six or seven TV stations on our old TV. We were always busy with farm chores, and a healthy food store to run, and there just wasn’t allot of free time left over. But when we moved off the farm for five years to NC, and as the children were getting older, there was less to do around the home, except for a couple of trips to the local park each week, a few clubs we joined, and weekend outings / field trips. When there was less to do, the kids became more vocal, and they demanded more time using the TV, and begged for gaming systems for Christmas and birthdays, etc. and I let go of many of those original restrictions. We also went from only a few TV channels to over 250 channels to choose from. We also gained high speed internet while in NC and learned how to do so much online. We even switched from paper banking to auto automatic electronic banking. We were suddenly living in the “modern” age. But I am not sure we did the right thing by allowing more of this into our life.
Technology has changed so much over the past few years that I can hardly keep up. The oldest two kids are now 13 and 11 and they have more knowledge about current technology than I do. They also have lots of scheduled TV programs, movies, and computer games they enjoy and they are able to verbalize their desires more so now than when they were little, and it has become harder to restrict their use of these sources of technology, for better or for worse. And the younger children are observing them and following in their footsteps too. It is amazing how much the younger children look up to the older children and model their choices from them too.
This past year we moved back to Indiana to a farm and to start over homesteading and reaffirm our goals for raising our family. We knew media had taken a bigger chunk of our family’s focus and we wanted to get the kids out of the subdivision and back on the farm. We want to raise the kids out on the farm so they can learn about caring for livestock, learn how to work the land to produce crops, learn how to build things, and teach them about raising their own food.
We didn’t feel we had that freedom while living in the subdivision, because it had “rules” that limited animals, go carts, building things, noise level, etc. One subdivision we lived in didn’t even want our van parked in our driveway (it was too large), or the work truck my husband drove they forced us to cover up the company logo everyday when he got home. The other subdivision we lived in had a problem with even riding bikes or playing outside, as it sometimes resulted in grouchy neighbors complaining about kids playing to loud. Several times our children and the kids across the road from us were playing innocently and were yelled at by a neighbor who didn’t like kids. She would complain her dog was napping and the kids had disturbed it, especially on nice days when she had her windows opened. If her dog noticed the children outside, then she would yell at the kids. She raised a special breed of dogs for show and if it got anxious, it made her mad at the kids. She didn’t want them riding their bikes near the culdasac near her house. It was discouraging. We kind of lost our freedom when we moved to NC and we wanted it back. We saw what was happening with too much time on their hands for media and too little freedom to do things outside.
It has been very challenging to try to get the kids refocussed off media. Somethings make it even more difficult. For expample, we just went through a very long harsh winter. We were cooped up inside for months and it is boring! When it is zero degrees outside, nobody should be outside. So media continued to play a big role in our daily activities through the winter. I often tell the kids we are having an “electronic free day” and I hear lots of grumbles and complaints, but soon after they realize I am serious, out comes the games and dice and soon lots of laughter can be heard around the table.
We homeschool, and though we have used textbooks and workbooks etc, many of our curriculum products we have used this past year have been done on the computer or it uses the computer in some way. We have never had a year that used this much computer, but it worked out this year that we were given several online subscriptions for curriculum. So even if I want to restrict using the computer for a few days or for a week, I feel defeated at times, because we need the computer to complete the school work we are working on.
For us as parents, we are captivated by media too. My husband constantly uses his smart phone for work, emails, texts, news, and contacts. It is a computer in his pocket and he is efficient to pull it out when needed and get his contacts made or answers found out. I am way slower than him, and prefer the computer rather than the phone. Over the past few years I have been the moderator on a few groups, and I write this website all of which have taken a lot of time. Though I have cut way back on the time I spend writing this past year so I can spend more time with my family. But I also check my emails and facebook each day and answer folks questions or pray with those in need. I talk on the phone, and text back and forth too with my husband when he is away from home. It is almost hard to remember when media didn’t play a big role in our life, and I have to ask myself “Are we setting a good example for our children to follow?”
Thankfully, winter is over, and spring is here and we can step away from media devices more. The past couple of weeks we have enjoyed walking around the yard and fields with the kids. And the kids have really enjoyed riding their bikes and playing outdoor games. This past Sunday afternoon, we made a picnic lunch and took the kids to the park after church. We had such a great afternoon together. We have missed being outside!
I love the way this young man explains why he went on a media fast and how it transformed his life. He has hit the nail on the head, and I hope every young person and parent will listen to what he has to say.
Here is a short clip explaining why over use of media is so dangerous to a developing brain for young boys.
Finally hear what this scholar has to say about making our relationships “robot like” and loosing the very essence of human relationships.
Watching the Captivated DVD helped affirm that our decision last year to reduce the amount of time our family spends using the computer and various technology media was the right choice. We are motivated now more than ever to get the children outside more, to enjoy the country life where we can have freedom for animals and outdoor hobbies and give our kids positive activities. Though this winter kind of set us back a little in these goals, now that winter is over, we can get back on track with filling our time with positvie hands on adventures. Less media time was and is the right decision for us.
Be sure to follow updates for Captivated and Media 101
If you would like to know what others on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about the movie Captivated and how this movie has impacted their family, be sure to check out their reviews.