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Television

Do you ever feel that your family's entertainment choices fall a bit short of Colossians 3:1-2? (...Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.) Videos and cable TV offer a mind-boggling assortment of entertainment. If you're bored, just turn on the TV; instant entertainment! The problem is that we can ignore the subtle and not-so-subtle moral messages contained in such amusement.

The average American watches 1,000 hours of TV a year, or 19 hours a week. A child ready to graduate from high school has watched 18,000 hours of TV-two full years of his/her life.

Ways to cut back on television:

    1. Think about reducing your TV time to eight hours a week, even four.

    2. Pass out coupons to each family member for a specified number of TV hours. For each half-hour of TV a person wants to watch, he/she must spend one of the coupons. When the coupons are gone, no more television that week.

    3. If your children are old enough, hold a conference to develop family standards for acceptable TV programs. Then develop a list of programs from which your children can choose when they want to watch television.

    4. Watch television with your children so you can see what they are watching and reinforce or counter what they are hearing to keep it in line with your family values.

    5. Provide fun, creative alternatives. Have a family reading night. Read books out loud, including C. S. Lewis' Narnia series. Play board games or create art as other alternatives.

    6. Never watch TV during mealtime. Reserve that time for family conversation.

    7. Require your children to ask permission to turn on the TV set.

    8. Don't allow your children to turn on the TV without a specific program in mind. When they ask if they can watch TV, make your first question, What do you want to watch?

    9. Limit using television as a baby-sitter for your preschoolers.

    10. Take a six-month sabbatical from television. Store your TV in a closet and see what happens.