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Published on March 27th, 2017 | by Clayton Hill

5 Questions To Ask Before You Watch TV or Play Video Games





Media brings the world to our fingertips, which has the potential to greatly affect our lives for good or for bad.

While Christians can use media to glorify God, here are 5 questions to ask before you consume media.

1. How is this influencing my behavior and attitude?

If your favorite sports team loses, what happens to your attitude? What if for the hundredth time you just can’t get past a level of a certain video game? Do you walk away feeling joyful? If you listen to music that has profane words in it, are you ever tempted to use them?

You might be thinking, “But it doesn’t affect me!”

What goes in, always comes out. There’s a reason that companies pay $3.5 million dollars for a 30-second commercial during the Superbowl.

In Proverbs 4:28, God says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Because media influences attitudes and behaviors, we should use it to influence people for good.

2. Is this a waste of time or money?

When my family sold all of our movies, we were shocked at how much we had spent on them! God gives us our time and money and we should use both to glorify Him. I think we should really consider if spending hours a day in front of a screen is glorifying to God.

Screen time for the average American child is 53 hours per week. That’s more time than you would spend in school! There is real life to live outside of media.

Think of what would happen if we took all the time we spent on unwholesome media and instead learned new skills and blessed others. Media is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great tool that we can use to reach out to thousands of people. (The Rebelution is a great example!)

But the amount of time and money you spend on it can be a waste.

3. Am I addicted to this?

Media has taken over many lives. The video game ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ sold 5.6 million copies in 24 hours. The average American teenager sends over 3,000 texts per month. Teens are connected to technology 24/7. How many times have you sat down to watch a 3-minute video on YouTube, and three hours later it’s time for dinner?

We need to fight all forms of addiction – including media addiction.

4. Is this morally degrading?

Why are we murdering people in video games when we believe in a God who hates murder? Death should be a sober and serious thing, not something to be taken lightly. Violent video games and movies are desensitizing teenagers.

Instead of playing morally questionable video games, why don’t we find ways to share the gospel and reach out to the lost? Ask yourself: “Am I entertaining myself with the very sins Christ died for?”

(Here is a resource that I found helpful in regard to video games.)

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Is unwholesome media pure or praiseworthy?

We are going to have to give an account for how we used our time. Will God say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” if we are using our time to be entertained by brutal violence?

5. Is this keeping me from standing apart from the world?

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As Christians, we are called to stand out from the world, not fit in.

But many Christians are watching and playing the same stuff as the rest of the world. If we are doing everything the world does, then how can the people around us notice a difference? Are we conforming to what Hollywood produces, or are we transforming Hollywood?

We need to consider what media truly is honoring to God and what is not and say “NO” to unwholesome media.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Could media be a weight that so easily ensnares us?

Don’t ask yourself, “Can I watch this?” but, “Is this helping me run the race set before me?”


Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

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About the Author

is 13 and lives in the small town of Rolla, MO, with his older sister and younger brother. Clayton's hobbies are raising pigs, mowing lawns as a side job, playing the violin, and reading. He aspires to be a farmer when he grows up. His family attends a small church in Rolla.



  • Sara Barratt

    Great article, Clayton! You made a lot of really good points! I think the one that stood out to me the most was your last question, “Is this keeping me from standing apart from the world?” That’s a great question to ask ourselves before we do many things, media and otherwise. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • cowboyclayt

      Thank you! So glad you liked it! :)

  • Erica Floret

    Wow, Clayton! This is great! All your points are really good! :) I really like the part where you said “Are we conforming to what Hollywood produces or are we transforming Hollywood?” Hollywood definitely needs transforming! :)

    • cowboyclayt

      Thanks!

  • Michael

    Amazing article Clayton! I didn’t know the average was that much per week, I use to go to school at least 3-4 hours per day(not counting Sunday or Saturday), I only go at least 1-2 hours a day.

    • cowboyclayt

      Thanks for the encouragement! :) My family watched a documentary on media a couple months ago and that is what inspired me to right this article. It is called “Captivated”. I would HIGHLY recommend it! Here is the link for their website:
      http://www.captivatedthemovie.com

      • Michael

        I watched the trailer and it sounded great!

        • cowboyclayt

          Thanks for looking at it! They have a couple of parts from it on the website as well if your interested.

  • Celestria

    I wholeheartedly agree with all of this!!!! Awesome job!! 😀

    • cowboyclayt

      Thanks so much!

  • cowboyclayt

    Quick question: Is this inspiring anyone to let go of some of their media? I’m just curious. :)

    • Pieter

      Well since you asked.
      A was a big clash of clans player until a few months ago, but I decided that it simply took way to much of my time. So I gave that up (but not because of this article though) but this article did inspire me the decrease my use of the web, I am a frequent user of Facebook, as well as other pages (The Rebelution for example) but like you said, is this helping me running the race set before me? Even though these things may not be wrong, I think that I’d best decrease the amount of time I spend on my phone…
      Sorry for my English, its not my mother tongue.

      • cowboyclayt

        I am very glad you were able to give up Clash of Clans! I am not on Facebook because it usually only builds shallow relationships and not deep ones. (I don’t think its bad I just think it should be used a different way) 2 Timothy 2:22-24 are my favorite verses! :) An idea on how to decrease time on your phone… what I do is I have 30 minutes scheduled into my day for internet time. Just an idea! (I don’t have a phone and I know it would be a lot harder for me if I did). Your English is fine! :)

  • Nelani

    Great job, this is such a sensitive issue in today’s culture. What should or should we not watch. What should we play or not play. Every parent seems to have a differnt opion on the matter. And there arnt too many verses about it, my favorite to remember is Matthew 15:11.

    • cowboyclayt

      Thanks! Have you watched captivated? (See one of my comments/replys below)

  • ZeePt3

    Great article Clayton! It’s kind of sad to see how much time I waste staring at a screen. I could be reading instead! Really well written as well. Thanks for writing!

    • cowboyclayt

      Thank you for the encouragement! I can’t take all the credit for the way it was written though! Jaquelle really helped me out! She did a great job! I don’t know if you’ll see this Jaquelle, but thank you for taking the time to help me!

  • Jules K

    Great article Clayton! It really made me think! I like how you asked the question: is this keeping me from standing out in the world?

    • cowboyclayt

      Thank you! I am glad you liked it!

  • Jonathan Staebell

    That was a very helpful article, thanks Clayton!

    • cowboyclayt

      Thanks! Glad you liked it!

  • Paul

    Instead we should turn off the TV and read a story about how a jealous God drowned men, women, children, unborn children, and nearly all living things on the planet. These are the king of stories we should fill our minds with because they are about good things, not murder. Murder is bad, that is why God never murders anyone.

    • cowboyclayt

      Yes, the worlds best book is the bible! And we should seek after it like gold. Unfortunately, there are a lot people who don’t even read the bible unless it is sunday.

      • Paul

        Yes I agree, we should all make a reply that ignores what the other person says. I also like that you mentioned that Alah is he one true God, good point.

        • cowboyclayt

          I don’t think I mentioned that Alah is the one true God. Can you tell me where at? I mentioned that God is the only God.

          • Paul

            Explain to me how you know the Bible is the world’s best book.

          • cowboyclayt

            Because it is God’s word!

          • Paul

            What evidence do you have to suggest that the Bible is God’s word? To my knowledge, every religion that has a holy text claims that the text is “god’s word”. So why do you believe that the Bible is God’s word but that the Quaran is not?

            Also, which books of the Bible are God’s word? Is the Book of Enoch part of God’s word? What about the Gospel of Mary? The only reason these books are not considered “God’s word” is because “man’s word” said that they don’t belong.

            Just because the Bible says it is God’s word doesn’t make it God’s word. I could write my own book and say God wrote it, but that doesn’t make it true. So why do you believe that God wrote the Bible especially considering that we know that people wrote the Bible? Did God move the authors fingers in just the write way to make the word “his”? And if so, then what was the point, he should have just done it himself. Also, if God wrote the book, how come he doesn’t seem to understand how the laws of nature work?

          • cowboyclayt

            We should open a discussion question for this! Then we could see what everybody else thinks. Would you mind? There is a LOT of evidence that the Bible is God’s word. Have you ever heard of the audio series, “Jonathan Park”? There are most of the answers to your questions in the series and they explain a whole lot more. I would encourage you to get some of them. I think the best one to get would be “The whispering sphinx”.

          • Paul

            You can open a discussion about this, I don’t mind and quite frankly you don’t need my approval to do so.

            I don’t care about a LOT of evidence. Just give me ONE piece of evidence. Thank you for referencing that audio series (I haven’t heard of it) but go ahead and just tell me ONE piece of evidence from that series.

          • cowboyclayt

            I am sorry Paul, but the way you are asking questions is not right. This is not the place or the way to debate this. Other people already have in a better way. Your questions are good and Christians should be challenged about their worldview, but again, this is not the way or place.
            As a final word, here is the evidence you wanted me to give you.

            Five different writers in Scripture said the same thing, “For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” It was God, not man, that decided what to write in the Bible. Man just did the writing. God told man what to write.
            Evidence for the Bible can take many forms. There is physical evidence. We have copies of the manuscripts, (like the Dead Sea Scrolls) and throughout history these copies show that the Bible has been transmitted accurately. Despite common skeptical claims that the Bible has often been changed throughout the centuries, the physical evidence tells another story. The New Testament records are incredibly accurate. There are minor differences in manuscripts, called variants, but none of these variants impact or change key Christian beliefs or claims.
            Other physical evidence includes archeological finds. The Archaeological Study Bible presents many articles documenting how archeology has over and over again proven that the Bible DOES correspond to historical reality. The Bible is remarkably self-consistent, despite having been written by more than 40 different writers on 3 continents over a timespan of about 2,000 years. And ALL the prophecies regarding Jesus Christ have been fulfilled.

            I hope that you will keep searching for answers to your questions because there are answers.

          • cowboyclayt

            Here is a link that might help:
            http://therebelution.com/blog/2017/03/three-reasons-we-can-believe-the-bible-is-true/

            Not sure if you already read this, but if you already have please read it again.

          • cowboyclayt

            We should treat the Book of Enoch (and the other books like it) in the same manner we do the other Apocryphal writings. Some of what the Apocrypha says is true and correct, but at the same time, much of it is false and historically inaccurate. If you read these books, you have to treat them as interesting but fallible historical documents, not as the inspired, authoritative Word of God. It might be a great book, but because there is no evidence that it is the Word of God, we don’t want to make the assumption.

            God told the men who wrote the Bible what to write down. He could have written the Bible himself. However, He chose to have multiple write it. And he did write the 10 commandments on stone.

            What do you mean when you say that, “God doesn’t seem to understand the laws of nature?”

            What evidence do you have that the Quaran is God’s word? The Quran has changed a LOT of times. Which one is correct? Why does it keep changing?

          • Paul

            What did it look like when God told people to write the Bible down? Was he literally speaking to them? How would you react if you met someone today who said Zeus spoke to them and instructed them to write a book which you must believe in or else you are going to Hades. You would say the person is mentally ill and is hearing voices in their head. So why do you believe someone who claims to have heard God speaking to them through a burning bush?

            So you are saying you do not believe in the Book of Enoch because there is not the same amount of evidence to support that book as there is to support the canonical books of the Bible. So what you are actually saying is that you choose to believe the books that have the most evidence. So you determined which books to believe in based on numbers. James got 36 points and the Enoch got 32 so you decided to be a only read the book of James.

            Why do you say there is NO evidence to believe in the Book of Enoch? How is it any different? Because it doesn’t fit with your desired version of who you want God to be?

            But if God wrote the Ten Commandments then he did a really poor job. Most people today could do much better. I mean first of all he said all sorts of stuff that we shouldn’t do, like that we should not murder. Yet he doesn’t give us any actual tips or guidelines on HOW not to murder, just that we shouldn’t do it. Also, he said not to lie, which isn’t even wrong to do. Everyone lies everyday and this is actually beneficial for us and generally not harmful. Depending on the circumstances, lying is wrong, but most of the time it is not. For example, when someone says “how are you?” and you say “good” but you actually are only “fine” but you said “good” because you were meeting someone for a job interview, it was a lie to say “good” and it was beneficial to say “good”.

            There were several commandments that God forgot to add. He should have said “thou shall not abuse children” and “thou shall not harm another human being” and “thou shall not own another human being as ones property” and “thou shall not take advantage of another human being” and “thou shall not discriminate against another human being based on race, gender, or sexual orientation” and “parents must be respectful toward their children.” So even if God DID write the Ten Commandments, he didn’t do it very well.

            God doesn’t understand the laws of nature. Some how he created day and night before the sun and moon. He thinks bats are birds. He thinks insects have four legs. Jesus thinks the mustard seed is the smallest seed. He thinks he created a firmament over the earth. He thinks stars are able to fall from the sky and land on earth. He thinks he formed the Earth before the Sun. He thinks he created plants before animals. He thinks he created dinosaurs with humans. He just doesn’t understand nature even though he supposedly created it.

            Also, the Quaran MUST be true. Muhammad wrote the Quran even though he was illiterate. It was an obvious miracle and therefore the Quran is the true Word of God.

            Which Christian God do you believe is the correct one? The Christian God has changed a lot and keeps changing. Which Christian God do you believe is the correct one? Why does God keep changing?

          • Paul

            The Ten Commandments should have said “thou shall not abuse children” and “thou shall not take advantage of another human being” and “thou shall not own another human as thine own property” and “thou shall not treat another human differently than thyself even if that other person is a different race, gender, or sexual orientation than thyself.”

            So I just added some commandments that God, in all his infinite wisdom, neglected to add.

            God doesn’t understand nature. God thinks bats are birds. He thinks the stars are countless. He thinks the stars will fall from the sky. God thinks rainbows didn’t exist before the flood. He also thinks that clouds cause rainbows. God thinks that plants were made before animals. God thinks the earth was made before the stars. God thinks insects have 4 legs. He creates people who are homosexual then punishes them for being created homosexual. In this way, he has no understanding of DNA. So God, the supposed creator of nature, doesn’t understand his own design. I understand how nature works better than God.

          • cowboyclayt

            These are great questions that christians should know the answers to. However, are you really interested in knowing all the answers to these questions?
            I can happily find the answers and give them to you but the comment section of an article isn’t really the best place to have a debate. I feel like you are just being antagonistic and are just twisting my words around. If you really want the answers to your questions, read the Bible and look up your questions online. A couple of great websites are,

            https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-message-of-islam-vs-the-gospel-of-jesus
            answersingenesis.com (In regard to evolution)
            http://www.icr.org/article/sunlight-before-sun/

            And many more like these will give you answers scientifically and biblically.

            And if you don’t have a Bible, you can look up verses on biblegateway.com.

          • Paul

            I am not twisting your words, I am challenging your world view. It might feel like an attack, but realize that I am not attacking you but rather I am challenging your world view.

            I am interested to know if you have answers to the following questions:

            1. Can you give me just ONE piece of evidence to support your claim that God exists.

            2. When God “wrote” the bible, what did that look like?

            3. What made you decide to believe in Christianity as opposed to Islam?

            In regards to the websites you mentioned. All of them are Christian run websites. The reason I bring this up is because you can find the Muslim equivalent of all those sites with similar headings such as “Islam vs. Christianity”. They will explain why Islam is correct and Christianity is incorrect (I am not saying this claim is true, but that the website will make the claim). So basically what you need is a non biased source that isn’t run by a Christian or Muslim organization to have more authentic research. What you are falling victim to with the websites you mentioned is called Confirmation Bias. It is nearly impossible to avoid all bias, but you should do your best by not researching just the Christian sources.

            Also, I have a Bible. I have read the Bible. Have you read the entire Bible? Do you know what it actually says?

    • Paul, at Clayton’s request, I’ve deleted your and his comment thread. Your comments were unhelpful and downright unkind. Clayton was tremendously respectful to you, and I’m not sure why you felt the need to attack him. This is a place where young Christians come to be encouraged in their faith. If you want to disagree, you’re welcome to, but please do it graciously.

      • Paul

        Interesting. I specifically told Clayton that I was not attacking HIM but his world view. I don’t see how it is unkind or unhelpful to challenge a persons world view. If I was being unkind to HIM then sure. But I specifically said that I wasn’t being unkind to him but that I was challenging his world view. This isn’t a very good place for a discussion if all you are hoping to get is people saying “yep I agree” all the time. People are going to disagree with your ideas and you should be ok with that. We learn and grow only when our current ideas are challenged. I don’t see how it is helpful to not let me offer up a challenge. I offered him 3 questions each of which were a question about his world view and not his personal character. I feel like it is not unreasonable to accept a response to those questions without them being ignored through a deletion of the comment. I am forced to assume that since he was so offended by my three questions then he must not have a proper response prepared for them.

        Also, I didn’t see any “tremendous” respect from Clayton. He was not disrespectful, but that doesn’t mean that he earns the compliment of being TREMENDOUSLY respectful. Don’t make the assumption that he is an EXTREMELY respectful person just because he is a Christian. In fact, according to scientific studies, Christian nations are LESS moral then secular nations.

        • Paul, I have no desire to argue with you, since you are clearly set in your beliefs and demonstrate a lack of openness to discussion. I wish you well and ask that if you comment here again, please remember that these are teenagers and they deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, no matter how much you disagree with them. If you don’t, I will unfortunately have to block you. Thank you.

          • Hannah grace

            Jaquelle, Thank you fro grace and respect,even when people aren’t being so to you! It is very encouraging

  • Hannah B

    Very good post Clayton! I’m sending this to my 13 yr old brother.

    • cowboyclayt

      Thanks! Glad you like it!

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