Does media violence matter?

Most people instinctively realize that exposing children to violence is unhealthy. And if it is not good for children, it certainly can't be all that great for adults. Yet despite such common sense, every form of the media is increasingly targeting youngsters and young adults with images of carnage and gore. Even mainstream news organizations are presenting footage so graphic they are warning viewers that they might want to turn their sets off. Those who express concern about this are often marginalized in public discussions by being labeled religious or right-wing extremists, or they are accused of attempting to censor others' right to free expression.

But if you are a parent or if you are striving to practice Christian healing—or seeking it—let common sense and spiritual sense prevail. The child who no longer winces at cartoon violence, the teenager who calmly accepts ever more violent shootouts, accidents, and martial arts sequences, or the adult who watches sports more for the brawls than for good play is decidedly worse off than his counterpart who has been spared this deluge of violence. If we are troubled by the callous disregard people have for each other today, we won't cultivate callousness in our children. If we want to be responsive to the healing Christ in our own lives, we won't allow the influence of violence to make us callous and thus unresponsive to Christ, Truth.

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Editorial
Time for contemplation
May 30, 1994
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