"Get out of the way, Dad"
My three girls gesticulated frantically as they tried to peer around me.
"Hello, girls, I'm back!"
"Hello, Dad. Now please get out of the way!"
I had just arrived home from work and my girls hardly noticed as they sat absorbed in the latest soapie, which I had now blocked as I stood in front of the screen.
"Sorry, girls, I am not getting out of the way. In fact, the TV is going off. Garbage in. Garbage out!"
Television had just arrived in South Africa and it was the obsession of everyone. So hooked had the South African public become that when the series "The World at War" was showing, restaurants, shows and cinemas closed for lack of custom. It was a necessary time in the history of a country where radio was the principal medium of communication and that was controlled by the totalitarian government. But it was a dangerous time. World views, value systems and graphic images were uploaded into the network and downloaded by vulnerable, impressionable minds. The public, already largely brainwashed into accepting racial prejudice and the injustices that accompanied it now had to deal with a new challenge to Christian values.
That challenge has not diminished. In fact, the struggle for the minds of impressionable people, adults and children alike, has intensified. And the adage, frequently quoted in the early programming days of those first computers, "Garbage in – garbage out" (what you feed in is what you get out) – still stands.
South Africa has the highest incidence of rape in the world, with around 65,000 cases being reported every year. That is nearly 180 a day – and those are the reported ones, so the number in reality is much higher.
There is still a media debate raging about the influence of violent and pornographic television programmes on these statistics, but to those dealing with the victims, there is little doubt about the link.
The Teddy Bear Clinic in Johannesburg, which deals with child victims of sexual assault, in talking about the worrying trend of child on child sexual assault has this to say: "Ninety per cent of young sexual offenders (7-14 years) have been exposed to pornography. This is a huge factor as the offenders act out what they have seen". And STOP (Standing Together to Oppose Pornography) says that the largest consumers of pornographic material in South Africa are children between the ages of 11 and 17.
I do not think that there can be any doubt that what is uploaded onto our airwaves and downloaded into our minds is profoundly affecting individuals, our nation and the world.
Hence it is thrilling to see the rise of Christian media to take back the territory that the enemy of our souls has exploited for so long. It is a vital ministry in our current communication revolution and needs our constant prayerful support as it encourages us to think on "Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy." (Phil.4:8)
By the way, when my daughter went to Varsity and a friend was talking about the gutter TV that she was watching, she found herself saying, "Garbage in. Garbage out!" I guess some of what I had downloaded stuck!
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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