Phillip Telfer, a former youth pastor, founded the ministry Media Talk 101 in 2005 with a mission to teach media discernment. His journey of public speaking and ministering to the youth of today has led to the production of the Captivated DVD, a thought provoking and inspiring movie that challenges the viewer to evaluate their relationship with media in their everyday life from a Christian perspective. The evolution of technology is explored as well as the science behind brain development and the effects of technology from a neurological standpoint.
Having raised seven children to adulthood and currently rearing a third batch in the emerging generation I can plainly see the dramatic difference in technology availability and use just between these two groups of children. It was noticeable between the first two age groups in our family, but it is glaringly evident between the last two age groups. I currently have children between the ages of four and twenty-eight. I have had to learn loads in the technology realm since my first B.A.S.I.C. computer class in junior high; nearly all of it in direct relation to raising children in a media saturated world. I still remember the scene in Back to the Future when Marty McFly travels back in time and the television is brand new. When he is asked if they have a television he replies that they have two. The reaction is that it's crazy. Of course no one has two televisions! Now, just look at the typical American home. We have two televisions, and that makes us odd; not because we have two, but because we have ONLY two. Most homes in the United States have multiple televisions. They are everywhere, and it is uncommon for the children in our home not to have televisions in their rooms. (Our older batches of children did have them in their rooms. Lesson learned.) In fact, as mentioned in the movie, there are more televisions than people per American household. Is it just me, or is that just plain crazy?
In today's world media encompasses so much more than television. We have smart phones, laptops, the internet and wi-fi, social media with Twitter and Facebook and a slew of others, i-pods and i-pads, x-box with wi-fi, and the list goes on. It's everywhere we go, and we even carry it with us. Am I the only one that finds it refreshing to eat in a restaurant that has no television hanging from the wall or ceiling? It's a wonder we can even sleep. How can we rest with this constant stimulation? Just in my lifetime we have progressed from a single, black and white (gasp), television, Atari (that we didn't get until I was in high school), and a corded phone in our home to multiple televisions, home computers, the internet, smart phones, and wi-fi. The implications of that alone is mind numbing.
As a parent that longs to provide an enriched environment for my children finding a healthy balance and relationship with technology can pose a great challenge at times. I thought I had it all figured out when my older kids were growing up, then the playing field changed. With the younger children now in my charge one of my biggest concerns in relationship to technology use is brain development. Through the interviewed experts in Captivated the Movie we learn that children under the age of two should watch no television and abstain from the use of technology like smart phones and i-pads and such. This is not the first time I have heard this concern mentioned. However, it is a timely reminder for me. I have seen the effect of the increased technology use on the wee ones in our home, and it prompted me to action. Watching the DVD was a healthy reminder and an encouragement that I really was taking a step in the right direction for the healthy brain development of my beautiful children.
I have seen the signs of addiction and withdrawal in relation to our three-year-old and my Kindle Fire. It still seems weird for me to call it that. I mean addiction? Really? Yes! The most disturbing fact that I learned while viewing Captivated the Movie is that video game addiction parallels gambling addiction. That is just frightening to me and a real incentive to remain conscious and purposeful in our use of technology as a family. Currently there are no dedicated gaming devices in our home, and I do plan to keep it that way as long as we can. Maybe forever. Is that possible? I am not sure, but I plan to do my best to provide an enriched environment that provides lots of physical activity in the outdoors with hopes that real life, live and in living color, will be more rewarding than a virtual "reality".
The personal testimonies in the movie are encouraging and offer a challenge. What about a media fast? It is suggested that we take an assessment of our media usage and determine if there is something that we are putting above all things that may be hindering our real life relationships as well as our relationship with God. If we determine that there is, then do a media fast. This can be done as an individual or as a family. It may not be easy, but it will surely be eye opening. It may even be life changing. Personally, my heart longs for the time when families gathered together in the evening and played music, sang, and read together. We have actively been working toward this ideal with more active time together doing hands on and involved activity and less time in the passive pursuits involved in the world of media. Viewing Captivated the Movie reinforced my belief that this is truly what is most important.
Through the various experts, personal testimonies, and the interwoven message of a life focused on a biblical world view, Captivated the Movie is a timely message for today's culture and a gentle reminder to use the bible as our spectacles to determine what is good and what is harmful. It is a call to accountability, and an encouragement to stand apart using discernment and wisdom. There are over two hours of extras included on the DVD with extended interviews as well as a word from the producer himself. Captivated the Movie is a wonderful resource for education within the home as well as ministering to friends and family. It is priced at just $16.95 with FREE shipping and the option to add a second for sharing for just $5.00 more making it an economical way to reach out to family and friends. We highly enjoyed it in our home, and I know others will surely be blessed my this ministry.
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