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R-rated Movies and Church Attendance

12.12.2013 posted by AwanaYM


According to a study conducted a Baylor University researcher:

Viewing R-rated movies leads to decreased church attendance and lessens importance of faith among young people, but it does not influence whether they have doubts about their beliefs.

Lots of variables in this study, but the researchers do seem to be concluding that the act of viewing R-rated movies has a tangible impact on whether young people show up at church and/or the level at which their religious faith continues to matter in their lives.

And, according to a story on Time Magazine’s site, the content in PG-13 films is often only very slightly less violent or sexual as that in R-rated movies.

According to the researchers who conducted that study, “evidence shows that adolescents do engage in clusters of risk(y) behaviors. … Youth, particularly those with impulsive sensation-seeking tendencies, may be at elevated risk for unhealthy behaviors as a result of their media exposure to problematic content.”

What, if anything, should we try to do about that? As youth leaders, we’re not in a place to forbid our students from watching anything. And many parents are simply baffled about if and how to protect their kids from the onslaught of movies, TV shows, games and books that are all just a click away now.

It seems clear that we need to be talking with our students about media choices and why they matter. When should they say no to viewing something, even if nobody else seems to be? How should they process viewing something they wish they had not watched after the fact? How does what we consume in our entertainment come out in how we think, speak, act and pray?

The truth is most of us have not resolved these questions for ourselves and so, maybe, we avoid talking about them with our students. But they (and we) need help finding wisdom in these areas.

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