While shopping at the mall, 16-year-old Sarah strolls into Abercrombie and Fitch to peruse the racks. On her way out, she passes a giant poster of a sexy young couple caressing each other’s bare skin, with lips so close they’re almost kissing. She drives home and parks herself on the couch, grabs a remote, and turns on MTV. The song “Glad You Came” pounds through the speakers, and the music video flashes scene after scene of arousing images, all centered around the attractive male band members partying, finding a hot girl, making out or even showering with the girl, and, Sarah assumes, sleeping with her. The looks on their faces the next morning reveal no signs of regret or negative consequences.
After an Axe commercial, where bikini-clad women almost remove their tops, Jersey Shore comes on. She witnesses drunkenness, sex, provocative clothing, materialism, and overall bad decision-making. She knows it’s stupid but she can’t stop watching. Once it’s over, she turns off the TV and heads to her room to grab the newest book in the Gossip Girl series she’s just purchased. Mere pages into it, she is bombarded with tantalizing tales of teenage girls drinking, doing drugs, blowing money, and having sex.
What do you think Sarah assumes being a teen is all about? Being a sex object, perhaps? Having careless fun until she’s too old to look good anymore? Can you identify with her?
Immorality in our world has become so commonplace that sometimes, I think we don’t even realize. Or maybe we don’t stop to consider about how it’s affecting us. It’s hard to go against the flow of society when it’s all around us, isn’t it? Obscene images, indecent behavior, degenerate role models, perverse messages. Even media that isn’t blatantly immoral, like The Disney Channel, in the very least makes teens doing “bad” things seem normal.
So what are we to do? We can’t stop everyone from producing immoral media. And who would want to? I’m only in my upper 20’s. I understand the draw of this type of programming and books. But what if there were more positive alternatives? I know there are books, TV shows, songs, and movies that have positive messages and that aren’t harmful for a teenager’s moral well-being. But they are few and far-between, and I feel like many of them lack the intrigue that’s offered by the more inappropriate media.
This dilemma was my biggest motivation for writing Shadow Eyes. I wanted to offer you guys something positive you could emulate. Something that offered an appealing reality that promoted healthy messages on relevant issues. Something that revealed what was truly behind immoral behavior – evil.
As a high school teacher and youth sponsor at my church, I have a strong passion for teens and the issues and struggles you all deal with. You may not want to admit it, but you need positive role models. And you sure as heck need alternatives to what the media is currently offering you.
As Dusty wrote about, we are constantly bombarded by sin through media. Before purchasing a song on itunes or watching a new TV show, think about this verse: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ” -Philippians 4:8
Check out our Ultimate Summer Reading List to find some good options for this summer.