Entertainment + Teens= An EXPLOSIVE Equation?
Entertainment is one of the most influential powers in the world today, and teenagers are mainly the ones affected by it. The reason is simple: we have grown up in a technological era—an age where we have more contact with celebrity gossip than we have ever had. We have easy access to the tabloids, television sets, magazine covers, internet blogs, and movies, which are screaming to be read and watched, and are plastered with images of these celebrities who act bad to be cool. Some, like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan, who lead a life of parties, indulging in short-term relationships, drugs, and alcohol, are influencing their young fans—even though they think their (celebrities) lifestyle is not ideal.
What’s more troubling than that is the subtle messages being sent to society, which tend to go unnoticed. For example, there are film directors that produce films that change societies attitudes and opinions on certain subjects: gay relationships are okay or having an abortion is a woman’s right. There are other influences that are even more sinister. Like, entertainers who claim to be Christian, while they are a part of occult groups, such as the Illuminate—an evil force whose main goal is to corrupt the minds of the next generation.
Now, in an age where we have more contact with entertainers, we are faced with a question: what are the effects that Media have on us, and why? And why is the formula of teens and Media an explosive equation? We found our answer during an exclusive interview with Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Senior Pastor, Bob Coy. Read the interview below and then watch the video interview online at www.theccamessenger.org.
C.M.: It has been said that entertainment has a big impact on teens, but how exactly can entertainment influence thoughts and actions in us?
P.B.: It was a few years ago when the movie Broke Back Mountain was released, and it had a homosexual plot. You find yourself in the experience of the movie, really valuing the love relationship between two people. Now after that movie was released, I overheard a producer say, “we are going to change the way America feels about homosexuals one movie at a time.”
See, if we can take a character and build a sense of sympathy, what he believes, how he thinks… It’s the same case with the Philadelphia story. You have somebody with AIDs. We’re focusing on his homosexual behavior, we’re sympathetic about his sickness, and now it influences and affects the way we feel about that part of society.
C.M. Usually things that teens see in movies and magazines, we expect for them to be the “norm”. So how does entertainment shape teen’s norms and habits?
P.B. You would assume watching a lot of the movies about teenagers that everybody is a drunk and everyone likes to party. Statistically speaking, that’s not true at all. In fact, statistically speaking, it’s just the opposite. Fewer kids are getting ripped on weekends. So, see, it’s the way movies have shaped our view on society.
C.M.: From the 1950’s to the present, entertainment has changed drastically. How has the escalation of sexual innuendos, violence and bad language in books and films affected our society?
P.B.: It’s an odd thing, I was sitting at a traffic light just yesterday with my son; he’s 15 years old. And from the car next to me the song that was playing through his radio was very profane, a lot of curse words. And I didn’t pick up on it at first, but my son did, and he said, “Dad, did you hear that?” What was really interesting to me was the look on the guy’s face; probably a 40-something year-old-man was unchanged. When I looked and turned my head to—in a sense think visibly about his music—I think what is has done, it’s not only given us greater expression in profane ways, but it has also desensitized our reaction to it.
C.M.: So is it naïve to say that the tolerance level has also been affected?
P.B.: Absolutely! I see that in everyone’s language. In other words, that day when somebody says curse words aren’t curse words is the day that everybody is using curse words to describe everyday things. And in an everyday world that I’m living in, it’s happening everyday.
C.M.: Even though there are negative affects due to entertainment, are there any positive effects? What can teens learn from media and entertainment?
P.B.: One of the coolest things happening right now is Social Media. And if a kid can say something positive, powerful, or provocative, or practical, he can get out his message unlike any other time in human history. Obviously, you have a camera behind your head. It’s an SLR but has a video component to it. You have resources like you have never had them before, to access points
of life that have never been accessed before. So you
can change the way people see what they see
C.M.: How do you feel different book series such as Twilight and Harry Potter affect teens minds?
P.B.: I think that the content of something that someone becomes a fan of, of course influences the way they feel about that content. As in the case of Harry Potter, I think I saw kids at younger ages playing with sorcery, magic tricks, and potions. I mean—it just became the norm. On Halloween, kids dressing up, casting spells…there is always an obvious result of whatever we see in Media, and although there will be some that say that Media reflects society, I tend to believe that it is shaping society. Because, sometimes it happens in someone’s mind first, and then it becomes the media of which we live later.
C.M.: What are your thoughts on entertainers such as Lady Gaga who proclaim to be a Christian, but are actually part of the occult groups, such as the Illuminate?
P.B.: I didn’t know Lady Gaga claimed to be a Christian, first of all. I would like to know what church she goes to. I would like to call her pastor and talk about a lyrical content! Over the years, just so your generation understands, there has always been someone. And whether it be your generation, my generation, or the generation before mine, there has always been someone pushing the envelope. And saying or making claims about their faith that is in my opinion, the best attempt for the enemy to warp the shape that is defined by the Word of God.
So, if the Bible is our guide, whether Lady Gaga, or in my generation, Madonna, or whoever, they have opinions and those opinions we need to appreciate. Recently, I did a little video blog about how much I like John Lennon’s music. I just don’t like his theology. “Imagine there is no heaven.” No, there is a Heaven! So, I appreciate musicians for their music, and then I can choose lyrical whom I really admire. But when it comes to theology, I will stick with pastors and preachers that stick with the Word of God.
C.M.: How should young people empower themselves to guard their lives from this evil influences?
P.B.: I think first of all, see it as an opportunity to expose yourselves to what is happening in the real world. Don’t taboo it, and stay so far away you’re not aware of what’s happening amongst your peers and in your own generation. Be very, very careful how you digest it, though. I would look at media at the same way that I look at food. There are some rich foods; there are some sour foods. And then, there are some poison foods. Be careful… I don’t want any poison in my life, so I’m very careful not to digest a whole lot of poison media.
C.M.: Is there anything you would like to add?
P.B.: Only I would say to this generation of media believers, there has never been a time like this before. Use it to the best of your ability to glorify God. Because I think the church and the real world beyond the church is looking for inspiration. They are looking for creativity. As Christians, I believe we’re so close to our Creator, that we’re the ones that should be coming up with fresh ideas, innovative thoughts, new ways to communicate truth. That is my prayer for your generation!