Research has shown that the average teen absorbs between 7-10 hours of media every day. Just like a good diet helps our body to be healthy, taking in good media helps our soul to be healthy.
But how do we do that?
It would be impossible to list all the television shows, movies and songs that you might see or hear even in this one week. However, they will all contain messages-either positive or negative-about your beliefs.
Media is enjoyable, but it may seem like a chore to be constantly listening to what is being said. However, these messages shape how we see the world, each other and our relationships. Just like we wouldn’t eat stale food if we don’t want to get sick, we shouldn’t consume harmful media that might harm our souls.
The best way to monitor this is to form our conscience-our ability to tell right from wrong-through listening to our parents, teachers, pastors, youth ministers and other role models as well as studying further what we don’t understand. It’s also important to pray and receive the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation often. This is a chance to receive God’s forgiveness AND get the strength to do the right thing in the future.
Part of being an adult is doing what’s right not because you might get caught, but because it’s what’s best for you-spiritually, physically, intellectually, creatively, and emotionally (SPICE). Your parents won’t always know what you’re watching, listening to and reading, but by paying attention to the messages you take in, you’ll be able to ensure that you develop your SPICE attributes in a positive way.
Does this mean we can only read the Bible and listen to “church music”? Those are good things to do-but there are also many good messages and lessons to be learned from other sources. Consider each of the SPICE attributes and how they can be helped or hurt by messages in the media.