Q: What limitations should we put on secular media?
A: Limitations are subjective. Because secular media is such a broad term, there’s no way to put limitations in a simple, neatly-wrapped box. The best piece of advice I can give is to just take baby steps. Become aware of what you’re consuming and how that affects your everyday life. Does that TV show make you more of a potty mouth? Do violent movies make you uncomfortable or afraid? How does the music you listen to change your mood? Once we realize that media does change us, we’ll be far more likely to identify when those changes are positive or negative.
Q: When it comes to R rated movies, how do I know when I should/shouldn’t watch them?
A: For some it’s violence and gore, for others it’s sexual content or language. Whatever it is that makes you tick, cringe, or walk out of the theater, come to terms with that and don’t force yourself to see anything your instincts tell you not to. We often convince ourselves that being old enough to watch an R rated movie means we can handle what’s put before us. This isn’t the case. Everyone is different and everyone needs to assess what they can handle. Don’t let others decide for you. Set the standards and let those be your deciding factor.
Q: When is ‘binge watching’ okay?
A: NEVER. Okay, maybe that’s extreme. But when you say “binge,” what do you mean? Four TV show episodes in a row? Five? Sixteen? Are these hour-long episodes or 30 minutes? There’s a difference. Are you binging when you could be doing homework or talking with a friend? Ask yourself why you keep clicking the “next” button. Are you avoiding something, someone, or are you using what you’re watching as a crutch? A lot goes into the decision to binge watch–it doesn’t just happen involuntarily. Binging can be fun and mindless, but be careful that mindless doesn’t turn into numbness.
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