If I'm asked to come and speak on a particular topic, it's usually the effect of media on the teenage mind. I've been teaching pop culture and the Christian nation for almost 15 years now, and I've seen some interesting behavioral shifts going on as we've watched the Harry Potter series explode, the Twilight franchise evolve, and even the Disney channel's machine producing music acts like Christina Aguilara, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and the Jonas Brothers.
It all seems so innocent to listen to or watch, but when the Bible says, "take captive every thought" (2 Corinthians 10:15), there's a reason.
This morning, that reason is confirmed once again.
The Washington Post published an article this morning, Click Here for the news story, detailing the effects on the brain when we digest such media with dark overtones.
When asked, "Are kids’ brains really changed after they read the "Twilight"
saga or "Harry Potter"? What does change mean, anyway, in this context?
Maria Nikolajeva, the first director of the Cambridge/Homerton
Research and Training Center for Children’s Literature,
dedicated to studying children’s media said,
"We have always known that encounters with art and literature affect our
senses. We feel joy, sorrow, fear, anxiety, grief. We empathize with the
characters. We learn from them about ourselves and about other people.
What we know today from neuroscience is that there are spots in the
brain that are responsible for these feelings, that it is possible to
identify parts of the brain affected by reading or watching a film.
Adolescent brain goes through a significant and rapid change; everything
that affects it leaves deep imprints. Very dark fiction creates and
amplifies a sense of insecurity, which is typical of adolescence; but it
can also be a liberation, when readers "share" their personal
experience with that of fictional characters. So yes, all readers’
brains are changed after they have read a book, but teenage brains are
especially perceptive and therefore vulnerable."
The article goes into more detail, but the point I would like to make today is, We've got to take seriously the ideas and the way we process those ideas through whatever Worldview we subscribe to. It's not merely entertainment to sit back and watch a movie, listen to a new artist, or read a book with certain overtones.
Here at our place, Camp KIVU we spend a fair amount of time watching movies, listening to music, and working through various ways we can process the ideas being presented. I believe we can walk through the messages artists try to present and help teenagers and college students ask hard questions about what seeds are being laid through a particular work.
What a blessing! To wake up this morning and have a Cambridge study being done on how to help train kids in media understanding!! Once again, it confirms the work we're doing with teens and college students is important and vital for this age.
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