Evangelist Billy Graham has warned parents to be aware of the impact TV and other forms of media may be having on their children, as what the world values and promotes often contradicts God's word.
Graham, founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrote in a recent blog post for the "My Answers" portion of his website that parents must make every effort to monitor the television and movies their child is watching.
"Raising our children is one of the most important responsibilities God gives us, and neglecting it or leaving it to others can be disastrous," Graham, 97, writes, referencing Proverbs 22:6, which says: "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
The evangelical leader goes on to encourage Christian not to "[lose] sight of the impact the media makes on our children today," as they will inevitably glean life lessons - whether good or bad - from such outlets.
"What impact will a steady diet of violence, sexual immorality, greed, and so forth have on them - especially if no one instructs them otherwise?" the Baptist minister asks, referencing 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 which states: "Hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil."
What then, can Christian parents do to ensure their child isn't being exposed to inappropriate material? Graham asks.
"First, commit your lives and your family to Christ. God loves you, and He is more concerned about your children than you are. Make Christ your foundation, and begin rebuilding your family on God's will," the evangelical leader answers. "Then ask God to help you give more attention to your children. Do things together as a family [...] teach your children how they should live (both by your example and your words) [...] pray with them [...] monitor what they watch [...] and seek out a church with an active Christ-centered youth program."
According to a March 2014 "Cross-Platform Report" released by the Nielsen media ratings company, children aged 2-11 watch over 24 hours of TV per week, while adults aged 35-49 watch more than 33 hours. The study also suggests TV time increases the older we get: the average American watches more than five hours of live television every day.
In a May 2016 devotional, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren wrote that families are boring and stagnant when they don't encourage growth, and suggested parents teach their children the three basic temptations of life so they are not swayed by what the world values.
"Awesome families encourage growth. They create an atmosphere of lifelong learning. They help each other develop. They encourage the discovery of each person's spiritual gifts and abilities," he wrote. "If you're not growing, your family is boring. You're just stuck in a rut. If you haven't learned anything new or developed any new interest in a long time, you're not growing!"
It's crucial for parents to teach their children what they should value: "It's important to teach our kids the three basic temptations of life so they are not swayed by what the world values," Warren said. "Those temptations have to do with how you feel, what you do, and what you get in life - basically sex, salary, and status."
"There are some things that you're never going to learn if you don't learn them in your family. You can't learn them at school," he concluded. "You can't learn them at work. You only can learn them in your family."