WASHINGTON (May 10, 1999) -- A 10-point Family Guide for Using Media to help families view media critically has been issued by the U.S. Bishops' Administrative Committee.
The document was authorized by the more than 50-member committee which speaks for all the U.S. bishops when the entire body of bishops is not in session.
The user-friendly document is an eight-panel brochure and updates a 1993 document from the Bishops' Communications Committee.
The ten points to consider when viewing media include the following:
- Respect Life. Is the taking of life portrayed casually and without moral consequences?
- Respect Human Beings and the Family. Do the media glorify attitudes such as excessive consumerism, promiscuity or other exploitative relationships, prejudice or violence?
- Apply Gospel Values. Are compassion, reconciliation, thanksgiving and moral responsibility affirmed?
- Use your intelligence. How are you and your family reacting to your media choices? Are you benefiting from them?
- Talk Back to the Media. Get in the habit of using television, film, and other media to start a dialogue. When media are interactive, you can engage in actual dialogue. When they aren't, you can contact networks, local stations, and newspapers to compliment or complain that media are or are not helping you as a parent.
- Set Your Own Agenda. Choose the media that serve your needs rather than just tuning in or logging on.
- Look at the consequences. Help your children recognize the difference between fiction/fantasy and real life, especially when it comes to depicting violence, sexual activity, and lavish lifestyles that have no visible means of support.
- See the Whole Picture. When using media, be willing to ask what aspects of life are being neglected, when issues are being ignored, and whether bias or manipulation is involved.
- Be Alert to the Effects of Advertising. Parents need to ask whether their families are consuming what they need or what the media make them think they need.
- Talk to Each Other. How can your media usage improve family communication and enrich your conversation? Look for a way to balance media involvement with other family activities.