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How to Influence Your Kids’ Behavior

For decades, law makers, scientists, parents and teachers have debated the impact of violent movies and video games on behavior.

In 1972, the Surgeon General actually issued this statement: “It is clear to me that the causal relationship between televised violence and antisocial behavior is sufficient to warrant appropriate and immediate remedial action. … There comes a time when the data are sufficient to justify action. That time has come.”” (Steinfeld, 1972).

Since then, many additional studies have reached the same conclusion, not to mention thousands of parents can attest to the evidence in their own homes.

Just last year, JAMA Pediactrics published an article on the subject. Among the highlights of their findings: “Violent video game playing was significantly associated with aggressive cognitions and aggressive behaviors among boys and girls.” (Medscape.org)

The findings are disturbing, and certainly there is plenty of Scriptural wisdom to not only support these statements, but also to combat the violent trend in our culture. What’s even more awesome, in the infinite effectiveness of God’s Word, the principles we find there to turn this tide, can be used to precipitate other positive changes as well.

Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

In order to avoid sin of all kinds, including violent behavior, Scripture tells us that we must instill God’s Word in our hearts and keep our lives according to His principles. But how do we do that? How do we wire our children’s minds with biblical truth? In the same way that their minds are consumed, indoctrinated by and even unconsciously controlled by movies and video games—we change what they see.

Applying what scientific research discovered about the impact of violent visual images on children’s behavior, it follows that true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy images will influence predictable, God-honoring behavior. (Philippians 4:8)

It seems that more than 2000 years before science started researching the connection between visual stimuli and behavior, God revealed the truth in His Word: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light … “ (Matthew 6:22).

If we want our children to grow up to love the Lord with all of their hearts, souls, minds and strength, and others as themselves, we must now select the things that will invariably program their minds and therefore future behavior.

Psalm 119:37 tells us, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

If we long for our children to have life—even obey their parents and celebrate long life—we must choose for them, at a young age, what to set before their eyes.

On April 1, 2015, The Bottom Line will launch a children’s site: Lambs of The Lord. We are so excited about this endeavor and the opportunity to partner with you, to set before your children quality, Philippians 4:8 images and content. At the same time, we join you in prayer for the next generation. May they choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19) by setting their eyes on worthy things—and find their life in God’s ways.

Join us at Lambs of The Lord! We welcome your feedback!

Have you noticed the impact of television programing and video games on your kids’ behavior? Has it been good or bad? What can you do today to help your children choose life?

About Abby Kelly

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  1. Wow, great roll-out for the children’s site!

  2. Thank you, Ashley! I’m really excited about LOTL, too!

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