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Al Menconi
 You're here » Christian Columns Index » Guest Writer

Studies Show Entertainment Influences Us
by Al Menconi - (AgapePress)
August 17, 2006
Category: Entertainment
EARLIER THIS MONTH two major research studies were published that shed light on the dramatic effects of today's entertainment on teenagers.

The first was released by the RAND Corporation, an independent research organization that focuses on health care quality, costs, and delivery. They surveyed 1,461 adolescents ages 12 to 17 from across the nation in 2001, asking them about their sexual behavior and how often they listened to music by various artists. The participants were followed up one and three years later.

Among other things, they found that adolescents who frequently listen to music with "sexually degrading" lyrics are almost twice as likely to engage in sexual activities within the following two years as their peers who rarely listen to such songs or who completely refrain.

The second study released last week was from Wake Forest University, which was published in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics. They found that boys who watched wrestling were more likely to start fights with their dates, be a date-fight victim, or carry a gun or other weapon. They also said they drank alcohol or used drugs during their last fight, the researchers found.

For girls, watching wrestling led to higher rates of starting a fight with a date, being a victim of a date fight, carrying a gun at school, fighting, fighting at school, or being injured in a fight. And like the boys, these girls said they drank or used drugs during a fight, the study found.

In general, they found that the more children and adolescents are exposed to violence, the more likely they are to engage in violence.

So, what does all this mean? If we listen to sexy songs, we'll want to run out and have sex with the next person we see? Does it mean that wrestling is evil? Or watching wrestling will make us want to body slam our neighbor? Not necessarily.

These findings simply validate what we at Al Menconi Ministries have been saying for more than 20 years. The more negative entertainment you allow your mind to dwell on, the more it will encourage negative behavior in your life. Entertainment can't make you do anything. But these findings show that some forms of entertainment can encourage negative behavior.

They also validate Scripture that says, "Don't let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophy, wrong and shallow answers based on man's thoughts and ideas rather than what Christ has taught" (Col. 2:8). This verse not only applies to these research findings, it applies to all entertainment that is against biblical values.

Think about it -- what is today's entertainment but some man or woman's thoughts and ideas? When you add a tune to them you have rock music. Add a rhyme you have rap. Put them on video and you have a TV program, motion picture, or music video. Digitize them and put them in a little black box and you have a video game. God's Word says if we dwell on them they will undermine our faith and joy.

How is your faith in Jesus? Do you ever think you may have lost your salvation? How about the joy of your salvation? Do the love, joy, peace, and the rest of the Fruits of the Spirit radiate from your life? Did you ever think that maybe your entertainment choices may be undermining your walk with Christ?

It's not just sexy songs or body slams -- we need to understand that we are in a spiritual war and the entertainment industry is supplying the majority of ammunition aimed at our families. The above findings simply illustrate the tip of the iceberg. If that statement is true, then it's time to do something about it. The first place to start is in your own life.

Remember that the problem is not entertainment and the solution is not Christian music. The problem is sin and the answer is Jesus. This Challenge is simply a reminder to keep your mind and heart focused on Him.
Al Menconi founded Al Menconi Ministries in 1982 after several years of teaching. Today he is considered a leading expert on the influence of today's entertainment on the Christian family. His focus is to equip parents and leaders to communicate biblical values in the Christian home. This column, printed with permission, appears on his ministry website.

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