Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plugged-In Parenting Review

Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids with Love, Not War

Author: Bob Waliszewski

I really enjoyed Plugged-In Parenting.  We have struggled in our home to maintain a sense of appropriateness in the face of the media culture.  This is especially true for our older teenagers who sleep with the TV on, own IPods and spend a great deal of time on social media. 
There have always been rules in the house.  Movies, games or songs with inappropriate content are strongly discouraged.  However, parents can’t watch their kids 24/7 especially when they get older and more independent.

Bob Waliszewski addresses both the impact that negative media can have on an individual and the fact that parents will fight push-back when attempting to keep their kids from being exposed to those films and lyrics that “everyone” listens to these days. 
While Bob offers examples of extreme cases where violence has been the result of media influence, he also address the smaller nuances that can result from allowing our minds to be affected by what we watch, play or listen to.  Kids or teens especially can be influenced to believe that smoking, drinking or promiscuity are socially acceptable for everyone. 

I appreciated that Bob not only pointed out the problem, but offered some solutions.  ClearPlay is a product that allows families to download filters for popular movies or programs removing objectionable content seamlessly while keeping the story intact.  Further, Bob suggests creating a family constitution that defines the family stance on what is appropriate in media and what will not be engaged in by family members. 
I admit I felt overwhelmed by what I read.  Negative messages comes at a family from all angles, even when watching appropriate programming, a commercial can throw a monkey wrench through suggestive selling.  While we do monitor our children’s media, how does one reign back in teenagers who are “doing their own thing”?   

Focusing on what God would find appropriate helps.  Bob focuses on this aspect throughout the book.  We can get busy in life and forget to run things through our God filter.  I think that’s what it all boils down to.  This book helped remind me about how important it is to be in the world, but not of it.  We are going to make a pact as a family to renew our God filter and monitor more carefully the media we let in. 
If you are interested in Plugged-In Parenting, you can read a chapter here.

*** I received a copy of this book free of charge from Tyndale for my honest review.

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