Guest / Limited Access /
Are Secular Television Shows with Moral Messages Good for Christian Children?
Illustration by Amanda Duffy

They're Neutral

Carla Barnhill is former editor of Christian Parenting Today and author of The Myth of the Perfect Mother (Baker, 2004).

Before I rail about morality on television, let me be completely clear: I love television, always have, always will. But when I watch most television shows with my mommy goggles on, well, it's quite a horrific view.

I am an easygoing parent, but media is the one place I tend to skew toward the restrictive end of the permissiveness spectrum. There's something about a visual image that sticks with us in a more lasting way than a conversation or even words on a page. You can't unsee something, so my husband and I tend to be very protective about what our kids watch.

But here's where I tend to differ from many Christian parents I know: I'm not protective because I fear the moral damage television might do to my children. I'm protective because I want my children to stay children and not have to watch people being killed or hurt or harassed. I don't want them to see how awful people can be to each other—not yet. I'm protecting their outlook on humanity.

For us, the deal breakers are things like violence and sexual overtones. I have put the kibosh on Glee unless my teenager watches it with me so we can talk through the more suggestive storylines. But Wizards of Waverly Place? Dinosaur Train? The kids love them, they're sweet, and someone always learns a good life lesson—and that's enough for me. I'm not all that concerned about my kids finding an overtly Christian worldview on a TV show.

I find that so many evangelical parents tend to treat things like tv—and music and the Internet—as though the people creating ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Go Figure
Recent stats on church life, the Bible, and spirituality.
RecommendedResearch Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
Subscriber Access Only Research Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
A study of 250 congregations suggests that youth and young adults want substance rather than style.
TrendingOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Editor's PickHow Science Became a Weapon in the Mommy Wars
How Science Became a Weapon in the Mommy Wars
Peer-reviewed research intensifies parenting debates… and can leave us even more confused.
Christianity Today
Are Secular Television Shows with Moral Messages Good for Christian ...
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.