There was a time when educators thought that a child was born as a blank page and that child became the result of the influences of its surroundings and what was put on that blank page. Now educators concede that children are born with tendencies, but the influences of the surroundings of children cannot be denied. Parents are charged with the responsibility of guarding the influences of the environment on their children.

There are many influences that can affect our children negatively. Occasionally there is a debate as to whether video games or movies can truly influence young people to be violent. Not only do these have a negative effect, but the child’s friends, and the family environment can also either positively or negatively influence children.

Millions of dollars are spent on advertisement on TV and other places to sell products, yet the same people who spend this money will often try to persuade us that media has no effect on children. If it didn’t affect the thoughts and preferences of those who watch the ads, I’m sure the people would not spend the money. Children who participate in violent media often become hardened to violence and lose a sense of compassion. The repetition of bad manners displayed and the violent behavior becomes acceptable behavior to children. In addition, the time spent on these negative influences is taking time away from any positive influence. Young people should be involved in positive learning activities to prepare them for the future.

Friends greatly influence each other. Some children are born with a tendency to lead; others are born with a tendency to follow. Parents need to encourage their children to lead others in the right direction if they have the tendency to lead. Parents need to be especially careful about the associations of children who tend to be followers. Children need to understand that true friends will not try to get them to do things that are harmful. True friends want the best for their friends and will not try to persuade them to do things that would hurt them. Parents would do well to place their children in groups of children where there are good friends to be made. Some organizations and churches provide good places to make friends.

The home environment has the strongest influence on the attitude of young people. What they hear in daily conversation and what they observe in actions molds their opinions and values. When young people feel love and acceptance at home, they are less apt to resort to drastic measures to get it elsewhere. Even if they stray from what they have been taught for a time, they tend to return to the values instilled in their young minds.

It is difficult to select proper movies or programs for children that will be beneficial to them. Focus on the Family that was started by Dr. James Dobson publishes a magazine called “Plugged In” that has commentary and help for parents in making the right choices for their children. Information can be obtained by going on their website on the Internet and simply typing in “Plugged In.” This magazine reviews and comments on movies as they become available as well as TV programs and other things affecting our young people. An informed parent is a parent more likely to protect his/her children from harmful environmental influences.