Helping Teens Make Responsible Media Choices

The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding | How To Use Your Head To Guard Your Heart: A 3(D) Guide To Making Responsible Media Choices

The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding has put together a new guide to help teens evaluate the media in their lives. The guide is called: How To Use Your Head To Guard Your Heart: A 3(D) Guide To Making Responsible Media Choices.

The 3(D) Guide allows you to teach your students how to move from being “mindless consumers” of media, to an approach of “mindful critique” as they learn how to filter all media through the lens of a Christian worldview. Because teenagers are at a developmental stage where intellectual and cognitive abilities are taking shape, the 3(D) Guide is a tool that allows adults to walk alongside students as they begin to develop the ability to think for themselves.

The 3(D) Guide teaches students 3 Media Evaluation Steps:

  1. Discover: Discover the message and worldview communicated in the piece of media.
  2. Discern: Evaluate attitudes, values, behaviors, beliefs and worldview elements in light of God’s Word.
  3. Decide: Make God-honoring decisions regarding their media use, consumption, and habits.

This looks like great material for youth groups, small groups or youth retreats. The cost is $15 for a pack of 10. You can download a free leaders guide here. You can also download a free media survey to get a handle on how your teens utilize media in their lives.

HT: Stand to Reason

Related posts: Taming Technology in the Home series

4 Comments

  1. 3D says:

    The conundrum of sola scriptorium-based faith, such as evangelical Christianity, is that the faith-community explicitly defines the parameters of “God-honoring decisions”, while asserting that God, rather than the community, has deemed them to be so. It’s a tough nut to crack, when you claim that all truth arises from an individual’s direct interaction with scripture and the divine, but then assert that only particular responses to scripture are correct.

    Ethical behavior is one of the most important things we teach our children. But — with all due respect, Ray, and in a spirit of dialogue — I’m not sure evangelical Christians are in a position to guide either us or our children on how to act. Evangelicals carry a lot of baggage.

    I say all this because my daughter, today, said she wants to attend an evangelical youth group with her friends. And I’m afraid of what the group will preach to her.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    3D – You raise an excellent point concerning the difficulty the faith community faces in interpreting appropriate standards for the community from Scripture. As an evangelical Christian, I base my faith in the authority of Scripture, but I do not claim to be an infallible interpreter of Scripture itself.

    You’re right – the evangelical church does carry a lot of baggage in this area, especially as it relates to cultural involvement. There was a time when churches openly taught that it was a sin to dance, play cards, or go to the movies. As Larry Norman used to quip: “That’s why they call it the cinema (“sin”-ema) – so you’ll know!” Nowadays there are probably very few churches that broadbrush these things as sin.

    I think the best evangelical communities approach guidance concerning behavior not explicitly addressed in the Scriptures with a sense of humility, allowing their people to follow the dictates of their own conscience and graciously giving freedom for others to do the same. Evangelicals usually call these areas of Christian liberty.

    As far as whether evangelicals are in a good position to provide guidance on ethical behavior, I will say this for us: we do take the Bible seriously, and when we do it right, we honestly try to discern what God is saying through the Scripture rather than twist it according to our own preferences.

    That said, there is a wide spectrum among evangelical churches, and if my child was going to attend a youth group at a church, I would want to know what the church teaches and how they approach the Scriptures. I would also want to know whether they are coming from a legalistic standpoint or an atmosphere of grace.

    But even if I may quibble with another church on minor points, I would guess that most evangelical churches are going to teach my child that God loves them and Christ died for them while at the same time encouraging my child to trust Christ, love God, love other people and live a morally upright life. If they define the morals of that life differently than I understand Scripture, then that is something that I would discuss with my child as a parent.

  3. 3D says:

    I spoke with the youth minister and talked with him about his group. I even read to him your paragraph about legalism vs. grace. He said they were a grace church — and they don’t preach politics. OK. So, I’ll let my daughter go, and actually, she’ll probably enjoy it.

    Thanks for replying – 3D

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    3D – Hey, that’s awesome that you called the youth pastor and spoke with him first. I hope it all works out well for you and your daughter.

    We don’t preach politics at our church either – even if I get into it from time to time on my blog! When I was a youth pastor, I was careful never to get into politics with the youth at the church out of respect for the church families and the different political positions they might take.

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