Darrow Miller and Friends

Electronic Stories are Influencing Your Children

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1 NIV).

The apostle James’s warning carries at least one obvious implication: teachers influence their listeners. This is especially true if the listeners are children, who of all humans are most malleable, most easily shaped (for good or evil) and whose potential still lies mostly before them.

In fact, Jesus himself has a warning for message abuse directed toward children: “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6 NIV).

All that to raise a question: Who is influencing our children? Who are their teachers? Whose stories are they hearing?

electronic stories are influencing our childrenIn an earlier day, teachers were respected community leaders. They used stories (as Jesus did) to transmit beliefs, to teach virtues, to build character. Stories are effective platforms to propagate truth. And lies.

To a great extent, our childrens’ story tellers today are entertainers, celebrities. For that matter, anyone with a video camera and an internet connection. Their ubiquitous messages via electronic screens wash over our society with words and images to lure and deceive.

Dr. David Walsh spells out some of the issues in the video below.

  • 68% of kids in the US have a TV in their bedroom (including 25% of kids under two).
  • The typical school-age child spends 44 hours every week in front of a screen (up from 28 hours just 15 years ago).
  • “Whoever tells the stories defines the culture.”
  • “The power of story hasn’t changed. What’s changed is who the story tellers are.”

– Gary Brumbelow


See these posts on related topics:

Enslaved to Our Screens

Stories and Sermons: Two Genres, One Powerful Effect

Les Miserables: The Power of a Story to Give Hope

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Gary is the Disciple Nations Alliance editorial manager. He manages Darrow Miller and Friends and serves as editor and co-writer on various book projects. For eight years Gary served as a cross-cultural church planting missionary among First Nations people of Canada. His career also includes 14 years as executive director of InterAct Ministries, an Oregon-based church-planting organization in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Gary is a graduate of Grace University, earned an MA from Wheaton College and a Graduate Studies Diploma from Western Seminary. He lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Valerie. They have two married sons and twelve grandchildren. In addition to his work with the DNA, Gary serves as the pastor of Troutdale Community Church.


  1. Jon Harmon

    December 15, 2014 - 10:04 am

    The same goes for electronics in the classroom.

  2. Mike Soderling

    December 16, 2014 - 6:28 am

    This is a critical issue that became apparent to me the last time I was in Guatemala. I am a board member for a small Christian school in the North West mountains. I was attending the years graduation ceremony and was seated, along with the other board members (I was the only foreigner), on the platform in front and had the privilege of passing out some of the diplomas. As one of the boys (about 11 years old) came forward I noticed his pants were hanging low (barely could keep them on), he was wearing his baseball hat on crooked and he had on a tee shirt with the image of some heavy metal band imprinted on it. And this in a small community more than 5 hours outside the capital! The youth in the majority world are gaining greater access to sources of information (and volumes of info) that their parents never dreamed possible and of which they know very little. What is the truth filter used by these youth? What are the lies they are seeing and hearing from unfiltered sources they encounter on the internet? How does the Church respond to this challenge? It’s a massive problem in the West but just imagine yourself a husband and wife struggling to survive in the majority world whose children are spending more and more time on the internet or accessing info via cell phones?