Solid evidence has recently been published indicating that a heavy diet of TV by children results in a huge increase in violent behavior. The study by Jeffrey G. Johnson of Columbia University started with 1000 families 17 years ago and compiled its conclusions last year. The study finished with reports on 707 young people.
"The evidence has gotten to the point where it's overwhelming," said Johnson, lead author of the study. Only 5.7 percent of the youths in the study who watched less than one hour daily at 14 years old were involved in aggressive acts between 16 and 22. Of those who watched up to 3 hours daily, 22.5 percent were involved in violent behavior. Over 3 hours the percent jumped to 28.8 percent. These figures include both girls and boys. Broken down to boys only, the top rate was 45.2 percent.
To make the study simple, Johnson did not try to detail the type of TV programming but only the amount of time per day. L. Rowell Huesmann of the University of Michigan said that the study expanded on earlier studies that had reached a similar conclusion.
The study also included young adults. For 22-year-olds who watched less than one hour daily the rate was 7.2 percent involved in violent acts by age 30. This rose to 17.8 percent with three or more hours.
"Our findings suggest that, at least during early adolescence, responsible parents should avoid permitting their children to watch more than one hour of television a day," Johnson said.
Someone has said that modern TV is like an open sewer pipe running into our living rooms. For a long time, we have been "entertained" primarily by sitting and watching people sin. Most of the TV shows glorify sinful and perverse behavior. It is presented in a charming way, with canned laughter in the background.
For parents who wish to maintain a wholesome home, there are no easy answers. Protection works in the early years but peer pressure is being applied at increasingly younger ages.
Solid modeling by parents of Godly behavior is essential for preteens. But sooner than you think, they must confront the world.
Author Rick Jones uses dozens of stories from his days as a youth counselor to open the eyes of young people. His first book, "Stairway to Hell", describes how Satan has invaded the culture setting deadly traps for teenagers. The book concludes with instructions for avoiding these traps.
Jones' second book, "How To Be a Successful Teenager", enumerates 18 secrets that the average teenager will not learn from the culture. Some of them expose Satan's secret deceptions that lead to destruction. Others are secrets that lead to joy, peace and eternal life.
Parents who read these books will have the knowledge to guide their children through the dangerous minefields of our culture. Youngsters who read them may see themselves in the stories of teens who ended up in disaster.
They will have no excuse if they ignore the challenge to be successful by accepting Christ and ordering their lives by the Bible.