Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission and founder of Movieguide, came to FCS to give a talk on entertainment media. His presentation touched on the influence of media, elements of successful films and how young people can be “media wise” in their entertainment choices.
The Influence of Media
By the time children reach the age of seventeen, they spend approximately 64,000 hours on entertainment media—over four times as much as they spend in school, with family and at church combined. The overwhelming majority of studies agree that entertainment media have an effect on children’s developing minds.
It’s no surprise that parents are concerned about the effects of media on their children. Many parents protect their children by using Movieguide.org to screen upcoming films. Movieguide provides an easy-to-read content rating, a short summary and a longer review. The guide is firmly based on a Christian worldview and covers any objectionable material the film may contain.
What Makes a Film Successful?
For thirty-five years, Dr. Baehr has advised professionals in the film industry. He knows that movie-making is more business than art. Hollywood trends are driven by money: filmmakers want to emulate successful films in order to make a profit.
The Christian Film & Television Commission, founded and chaired by Dr. Baehr, publishes an annual report on the year’s most profitable films. Every year the report finds that strong Christian-influenced movies outperform others at the box office. “It’s not too surprising,” says Dr. Baehr, “when you consider that 132 million Americans attend church every week, and only 25 million go to the movies.” Out of the top ten highest-grossing domestic films of 2015, nine had a Christian or otherwise positive worldview, and zero were R-rated. The box office returns send a clear message: moral movies make the most money.
Dr. Baehr emphasized to our students that they have power to influence Hollywood for good. Their choices in entertainment media send a message to the industry. Even the young can make informed decisions if they have the right resources and learn to be “media wise.”
“Media wisdom” is a critical understanding of the influence of media, the stages of human development, the grammar of entertainment media, and one’s own moral and spiritual values. Knowing the right questions to ask and where to find the answers is crucial.
For quality insights into today’s media and for more information about Movieguide’s internship opportunities, please visit Movieguide.org.