Tuesday 1 April 2014

Captivated DVD-a review

On line communication is something that affects all our lives so I was interested to have the opportunity to review Captivated DVD by Media Talk 101.

Captivated Movie Review
Captivated is a documentary about the media and its use. The slogan for the company is Teaching Media discernment in the light of following Christ.

Captivated Movie Review
Captivated is a film which poses the question 
Do we have a technological utopia or a virtual prison?

I guess that is a question that is relevant to all of us. Like many parents, we have been a bit overtaken by technology. When we were first married, almost 25 years ago, we didn't have a computer nor mobiles. Just before our first child was born, over twenty years ago, we acquired a computer to use as a word processor. We didn't have internet access and didn't have mobile phones. In fact, having mobiles seemed worldly and unnecessary. Of course, working as a doctor and with other people looking after our children, I rapidly had to change my mind about a mobile. Later, we discovered that we needed the internet. Up to this time, we were rather pleased that we didn't have a television and we continued TV free but our children learnt how to access BBCiplayer and on-line programmes. Yes, we didn't have a licence so couldn't watch programmes as they went out but that didn't stop the children watching many other programmes. Somewhere along the line, they discovered computer games too.

The process continued: Grandma moved in with us plus television and of course, a licence. So now, the children could watch live programmes. 

Lets be honest, I struggle to manage as a carer, cleaner of a large family home and gardener of a large suburban garden. Yes, I do involve the children but there are parts where they can't be involved and yes, the computer is a useful babysitter. Like most families, our children's technological abilities have outstripped those of the parents.

Over the years, I've become uncomfortable with the amount of time spent on computer games and programmes and less keen for the children to watch unsupervised. Yes, we have rules and computers in public ares of the house. I had reduced the younger children's screen time fairly dramatically, with a fair amount of work, but then Grandma was in hospital and subsequent to this we have had multiple professionals come to see Grandma and me. Particularly at these times, I have been grateful for educational computer programmes but this has also tended to mean that in breaks the children drift into more TV. OK, generally fairly innocuous but I certainly haven't had time to supervise all this.

On a more positive side, modern media means that I can go upstairs or to church and know that if Grandma falls I can be contacted.  My husband works from home for a virtual firm. This just wouldn't be possible without the internet. If one of the children is ill and we miss a service, we can watch the live stream.

So Captivated seemed an important film for me to see. This film is primarily aimed at adults but would be suitable viewing for the whole family. I watched it on my own. 

The 107 minute film draws out various facets of the media and concerns about them, for example, the multitasking, the content of media and its potentially addictive nature. It makes the important point that the aim of many films, particularly, and other forms of media is to change worldview. Obviously, this is something for us all  to consider and an important concept to introduce to our children. It points out that angry music, for example, becomes addictive and encourages angry thoughts.
The film includes interviews with ministers and others who have a view on the media and also with people who have confronted their relationship with the media and reduced it. This reduction in the use of the media has often been via the use of a media fast. This was voluntary in most cases but there was an example of a boarding school where the children had to give up their phones.

My Thoughts on the film
It seemed a little ironic, that this was the second film that I had watched this year (the first was a documentary on CS Lewis).

The first portion of the film came over as quite negative. In many ways, the media age is something that can be positive or negative, from a Christian point of view, in much the same way that the printing press can be positive or negative. There really wasn't discussion,in the main film, about the positives: God's Word going out on the internet, the Bible having access to places where it would otherwise be forbidden and talking to isolated friends and family. 

The parallel between excessive media use and gambling was both interesting and compelling. Yes, addiction probably is the right word to use.

The best part of the film was at the end where there was discussion about how to manage a reduction or more discerning use of media. This was helpful and extended beyond the sledge hammer approach of a media fast which really isn't of value if the family income depends on the internet. This latter portion made the point of stating that each of us must consider, before God, our use of games, programmes and so on.

  • Encouraging thought about the right use of social media.
  • Challenges about whether the programmes/films/games that we watch are God glorifying.
  • Not considering the positive uses of the media. Media is a vehicle but the problem is the content. For balance on this it is worth watching the extended interview with Dr David Murray in the extras.
  • Over reliance on media fasts which would be impractical for many families. A boarding school was shown where children have to hand in their phones. As a parent, I would struggle having a child away at school who was unable to use their phone to contact family.
Captivated DVD is available at $16.95 (about £10.22).

I would recommend this DVD for parents to watch and consider. I don't agree with every detail but the right use of media is an issue that needs to be considered, both individually and as families.

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