Friday, August 08, 2008

Marriage, Sexuality, and TV

Television exerts tremendous influence over people in our secular world. Of course, at the same time, programs reflect ideas and beliefs present in society. Television shows often devalue marriage and portray unhealthy, destructive sexual attitudes and practices as acceptable and normal. Stories on television can serve to shape attitudes, influence lifestyle decisions, and validate harmful behavior. Therefore, television can have a negative effect on adults as well as children.

Check out the CNN article, "Sex beats marriage on network TV, study shows."

Notice in the article that a representative of TVWatch responded to the study by the Parents Television Council with this statement: "The Parents Television Council won't be satisfied with television content until they convince the government to enforce their personal, selective judgments." While the Parents Television Council does indeed seem to encourage people to work toward change through political action, the question of whether certain content should be shown on television is not merely a matter of "personal, selective judgments," although the process of determining good content involves the discernment and decisions of persons. Since television does influence people, content would be best determined by asking questions like these:

"What message promotes the nurturing of personal life, health, and relationships?"
"What message helps people acquire an accurate vision of themselves, other people, and the world?"
"What message shows that we genuinely care for those receiving the message?"

To some, the question of television content looks like a matter of opinion concerning views on morality, censorship, government intervention, freedom of expression, and choice. In reality, the questions of what should be shown and viewed on TV is not as much about opinion, ideology, and control as it is about truth, love, and spirituality. As we determine what to view and allow our children to see, may we discern wisely and avoid harmful influences.