By Ruth O’Neil
Not everyone agrees with me on what I allowed or did not allow my children to watch, hear, or read over the years. Not everyone will agree with you either. We make decisions to protect our kids and also to help them be wise about making their own choices.
Unfortunately many parents do not realize how prevalent the occult is and how much it is influencing our children’s lives. The occult can turn up anywhere, and it can be so subtle you will have trouble recognizing it. If adults have trouble recognizing it, how can we help our children?
Television in particular tries to hide the occult in humor. I remember one day I was folding laundry while my daughter sat and watched a child’s cartoon on TV. I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention, but then I heard something—although I can’t remember exactly what was said now, I do remember that I did not like it. It was very humanistic, bordering on Satanic, and encouraging children to look within themselves for powers, namely spirits that could give them power.
At that moment, after changing the channel of course, I prayed that God would open my heart to things I didn’t want my children to watch. And he was faithful in return. After a couple of years I was about ready to get rid of the TV altogether!
This doesn’t mean we can’t allow our children to watch TV or movies; it just means we need to be on high alert, watching for Satan at work. I realize there are shows that may be innocent, but sometimes it’s hard to draw the line. Not all the television shows we watch have to focus completely on Christ. There are plenty of good shows available, and retro shows can be found on DVD or subscription services. On the other hand, those shows should not take our focus away from God, and they certainly shouldn’t go against his Word.
I was babysitting for a friend of mine one day. Her daughter came and brought a library book with her. Since I love to read and want to encourage all children to read more, I asked her what it was about. I was shocked at her answer. It was certainly not an appropriate book for a young lady to be reading. It was full of sex, séances, witches, etc. When I asked where she got it from, the answer was, “The school library.” Sure enough, it was. I picked it up when she wasn’t looking to discover this was in fact labeled as a book for children.
The next day her mother called me. “I need to apologize for Kelsey bringing that book into your home. I had no idea what it was about; I just knew she needed to read a book for school. When I looked at it last night, I was shocked. I am so sorry!”
This was one parent who checked up on her daughter and what she was putting into her mind. More parents need to be like this.
A friend of mine told me a story about something that happened with her boys when they were little. They were innocently watching a children’s cartoon, which she had watched on several occasions to make sure it was wholesome. An ad came up encouraging young children to go to a website and enter a contest. The boys wanted to see what was there. My friend took them to the website and played some games for a while.
They were having fun when a link popped up on the screen. It was an invitation to play another game. Since the boys were having so much fun, she clicked on it as well. What came up was a site for followers of Satan. It was very dark and gothic and bordered on pornographic. Immediately she clicked out of that site and then blocked it.
For kids who are on the Internet without a parent’s supervision, this could have been bad. And we wonder what went wrong when our children make poor decisions. The Internet has many good things about it, but it can also be a danger zone for young, unsuspecting children. That’s why we must be online with them, teaching good search strategies and finding trustworthy sites together.
Bit by Bit
We can become deceived ourselves a little at a time. We may have ignored one thing because it “wasn’t so bad.” We may have condoned another thing because, after all, times are changing. Yet we can’t begin to rationalize sin away. Once we begin accepting little discrepancies, the bigger things don’t look so bad either. It happens so slowly that if we are not careful, we will change our way of thinking completely.
Now things aren’t so subtle anymore. Media portrays relationships, sexuality, deceit, substance abuse, and crime in a way that God certainly did not intend. Worse yet, they make sinful situations funny—another of those subtleties where Satan has gained a foothold. If it’s funny, it has to be OK, right? We now just accept these things as a way of life. We have become desensitized to many of the things that God clearly tells us are wrong.
How to Help
How can you become more involved and make sure your kids are not seeing and hearing things they should not be?
Watch shows together. When I was a child we had one TV, and it was in the living room. What one watched, we all watched. Today many kids have TVs in their bedrooms, where they watch what they want unsupervised. If this is the case in your home, many cable companies allow you to block certain channels or shows. Make sure you take the time to do this. Other options, such as Netflix, show you what has been watched recently. Check that and know what your kids have been viewing.
Go online together. This is a good idea, especially if your children are young. Here again, you can block certain sites from popping up on your screen if your kids use the computer on their own. Don’t be afraid to check the history on your child’s computer from time to time. If you don’t know how to do this, figure it out soon!
Give explanations. Don’t be afraid to explain to your children why you don’t want them to watch, read, see, or hear something. This works especially well with tweens and teenagers. They are old enough to understand your choices, even if they may not agree with them. Then again, if you can adequately explain your reasoning, you may be surprised to find that they agree with you. When it comes to younger children, give explanations suitable for their age.
What about you? If you are questioning something you are doing, watching, or reading, allow God to speak to your heart. Our children learn from our example. If they see us put a book down, turn the TV off, and refuse to watch a movie because of content, then they will follow suit. If you are unsure, ask God to open your eyes to what is not good, pure, or lovely; you might be surprised at what he reveals.
Ruth O’Neil is a freelance writer in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Christian Teens and Wicca
1. Make sure you and your teen know what Wicca is and what it isn’t. “The Hidden Traps of Wicca” by Catherine Sanders is a good place to start.
2. Don’t avoid the topic or ignore the warning signs. Dillon Burroughs and Marla Alupoaicei, coauthors of Generation
Hex, said: “A Barna Group study on the supernatural showed that fewer than 20 percent of teenagers are exposed to any kind of teaching involving the paranormal. So, we have to at least address it, not be afraid of it, because if we do believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the power that we have in us is greater than the power of the world.”
3. Know that there is hope. Watch one woman’s story about her journey from Wicca to Christ.