Billy Graham warns parents: Children are 'deeply influenced' by TV and movies

Billy Graham advised parents to protect their children from the effects of the TV shows and movies they watch, which he said can "deeply" influence them.

On one of his website's columns called "Answers," he addressed a concern from parents who did not pay much attention to the shows their children are exposed to.

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"I admit we never paid much attention to the television programs and films our children watched, but I'm beginning to wonder if we made a mistake. I guess we thought they'd learn how they ought to live by watching us, but now I'm not so sure. Have we missed something?" the parents asked.

Graham was quick to warn them that children today are "deeply influenced by television and films," unlike children who grew up years ago. The media has a great impact on young people, and parents should not overlook this fact, he said.

He explained that although children learn by seeing the example of their parents, they also absorb the things they see on TV and can sometimes use these as a basis to judge between right and wrong. With movies and TV shows showing unbiblical values, the children's sense of right and wrong can become skewed.

"What impact will a steady diet of violence, sexual immorality, greed and so forth have on them — especially if no one instructs them otherwise?" Graham wrote, adding that the Bible specifically commands God's people to "hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil."

A study on the impact of media on children and young people, published on Pediatrics and Child Health in 2003, said that TV can have positive and negative effecs on children, particularly those that contain violence, offensive language and sexual immorality.

The study said that exposure to violent TV shows has a relationship with violent behavior in young people. Too much TV can also affect children's learning abilities and cause obesity, according to the researchers.

So what can parents do? Graham tells parents to commit their families to Jesus.

"God loves you, and He is more concerned about your children than you are," he said. Jesus and the will of God should be the foundation upon which every family is build, he added.

Graham also urged parents to ask for God's help in paying more attention to their children. He encouraged parents to have activities with their kids, to monitor their TV exposure, to pray with them, and to teach them right from wrong both by their words and by their example.