No one would debate that today’s teens are glued to their screens… especially that small one they carry around in their pocket. The question is, can we use this to engage them in meaningful conversation?

Just because today’s teenagers aren’t clocking big hours in front of their traditional television doesn’t mean they aren’t clocking hours watching movies and TV shows. They’re just watching what they want, when they want it. In fact… a new report from Ericsson reveals that today’s viewers spend an average of six hours per week streaming on-demand movies and TV. The report discovered that young people age 16-34…

  • do 53 percent of their viewing on smartphones, laptops and tablets
  • smartphone on-demand viewing has increased 71 percent since 2012
  • among teenagers specifically, nearly two-thirds of total TV and video viewing happens through smartphone, tablet or laptops.

So if young people are binging on Netflix and Hulu (a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon), the question we might want to ask ourselves is, “Can we use this to springboard conversations about truth?”

Sure, many of us probably already use their love for entertainment media as a conversation icebreaker or an excuse to play fun movie trivia games. But are you also using this as on opportunity to dialogue about what they are gleaning from these media sources?

Here’s four questions you can ask teens about what they see and hear in entertainment media:

  1. What did they just say?

This is a question that simply asks young people to identify what they saw or heard. Today’s young people often let dialogue, images or lyrics roll right past them without pondering what they are absorbing. This question helps them recognize what they just saw and heard.

  1. What did they mean?

When you innocently ask this question, you’re now asking them to interpret what they just heard. This prods them to not just recite, but interpret. This might be the first time they ever pause to think about the meaning. Then ask them…

  1. Is he/she right?

Now you’re bringing morality into the picture. This question asks them to think about the messages their entertainment media is communicating and compare it with their personal values.

  1. What does scripture say about this?

This nudges young people to look to scripture for truth. Kids might not always know where to look, so help them. Suggest a passage and then ask simple questions about that passage, questions like: What did that passage say? What does that mean? How can you live that out this week?

Are you using entertainment media as a springboard for conversations about truth?

How can you do this in the next week?

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