Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Octavian Poenaru
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000474A
00:01 Do you know what the top ten strengths
00:02 of a happy marriage are,
00:04 and how media is undermining those?
00:08 Join us today on Issues and Answers
00:11 as we address this topic.
00:44 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn,
00:45 and we're so glad that you're joining us once again
00:47 for Issues and Answers.
00:49 Today we're gonna be talking about media and the family,
00:54 and what it is doing to marriages
00:56 and to familial relations.
01:00 So let me introduce our special guest.
01:03 We have returning with us Pastor Octavian Poenaru.
01:06 You are the pastor for the Colville Washington
01:10 Seventh-day Adventist Church
01:11 and then your second church is where?
01:14 Ione. Ione.
01:15 Yes. Okay.
01:16 Oh, we're so glad that you can return and discuss this.
01:20 Let me ask you a question. Sure.
01:22 How did you get into,
01:23 I mean you, I know you are a busy pastor,
01:25 but I know that you've done a lot of research on media
01:28 and that you actually go out
01:29 and speak at other churches from time to time,
01:32 doing seminars on this very topic.
01:35 What was, what drew your interest to this?
01:39 Well, it's a progression,
01:41 and probably the first things is that in my youth,
01:45 my dream was to study electronics,
01:48 then I was studying electronics.
01:50 My first training was in electronics then,
01:54 I had the passion
01:55 for the electric and electronic field
01:56 then and it's easy,
01:59 you know, in many ways I'm familiar with media
02:02 and my way of thinking is very pragmatic,
02:06 then I'm looking even in theology,
02:08 in theology even though I enjoy definitely the Bible
02:12 and the profound thinking and philosophy,
02:14 but I'm much drawn
02:15 to the practical aspects of Christianity
02:19 than probably I was always like this,
02:23 then one of the first classes
02:26 I took when I took my master in Public Health
02:30 at Loma Linda was Adolescence Health.
02:33 And I remember we studied with a professor
02:37 we discussed a lot about at that time
02:41 about the influence of media
02:44 in the family life and the youth life,
02:47 and then when I got my demean at Andrews,
02:51 we got into family life.
02:53 And you look at different angles,
02:54 then it was the combination I would say over the years
02:57 that drew my attention to this area,
03:00 plus that I think you can't escape
03:03 the reality around you if...
03:06 Wherever you go, you see people with electronic devices,
03:09 everywhere, and it takes most of the time
03:13 to basically a lot of us.
03:15 Yes, amen.
03:16 And you know there is something
03:18 that it has become so prevalent.
03:19 I was in the doctor's office here today
03:20 and it doesn't matter if somebody's in there
03:22 on medicate or if they're,
03:24 you know, what your economic status is,
03:28 they still have their smart phones and everybody
03:31 is on there playing games or they're doing something,
03:33 nobody is talking to anybody more it seems.
03:36 So how does media, we spoke last time about
03:40 how media is effecting the spiritual life,
03:44 how is media effecting the family life?
03:47 I'd like to read a favorite Bible passage
03:51 which actually had a great impact on my life
03:54 and it's in Joshua 24:15.
03:57 Those who read their Bible may be familiar
03:59 with this passage.
04:00 And it says,
04:02 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord,
04:06 choose for yourself this day whom you will serve,
04:09 whether the gods which your fathers served
04:12 that were on the other side of the river,
04:14 or the gods of the Amorites, in whole land you dwell.
04:18 But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
04:23 Joshua made this profound and fundamental statement.
04:29 I don't know about you,
04:30 you can choose these gods or the other gods
04:32 because there are many gods in the land of Canaan,
04:36 but Joshua says,
04:37 for me and my house which was to serve the Lord.
04:40 I think media has,
04:43 has changed dramatically the life,
04:47 the family life today.
04:52 And before actually diving in the subject,
04:55 I'd like to read a statement
04:58 which was made by Susan Greenfield,
05:01 she is a scientist, an English scientist
05:03 and she spoke a few times
05:04 in front of the English parliament,
05:07 and she says this,
05:10 "One of the most exciting concepts in neuroscience
05:13 is that all experience,
05:16 every single moment
05:18 leaves its mark almost literally on your brain.
05:23 It is this evolving personalization of the brain
05:26 that we could view as the mind.
05:31 And it is this mind that could therefore be radically changed
05:35 by prolonged exposure to a new
05:38 and unprecedented type of ongoing environment,
05:41 that of the screen."
05:43 That's Hansard.
05:45 I read this passage a few times,
05:47 basically what she says is,
05:49 you watch whatever you watch
05:52 and what you put in front of your eyes,
05:55 it actually changes who we are, who you are fundamentally.
06:00 And it follows the principle of 2 Corinthians 3:18
06:04 that we become what we behold, but it also when you said that,
06:08 I was thinking that Paul said,
06:09 let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
06:13 So here media is changing us so much,
06:16 changing the way we think,
06:18 but one of the biggest problem it seems
06:21 is that it's the breakdown of communication
06:23 between the people
06:24 because everyone is so involved in media.
06:28 When it comes to family,
06:30 I'll divide the topic into one is that relationship,
06:32 the marital relationship, husband and wives,
06:34 and then as we as the family parents and children.
06:37 And probably the first concern, I have two major concerns
06:40 probably the first concern
06:41 is that it breaks the communication
06:43 between the husbands and wives.
06:45 Obviously we all enjoy,
06:46 I enjoy having a an iPhone and talking to my wife
06:50 and you see each other face to face
06:51 and keep in touch of messaging
06:54 and it's great, wonderful.
06:56 But at one point, I think with,
06:59 with the large segment of population
07:02 it goes on the other way.
07:04 And I read this funny, funny joke,
07:08 it's called Electricity Outage.
07:11 And it says, "I had an outage at my place this morning
07:14 and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD,
07:15 iPad and my new sound system won't work.
07:19 Then I discovered that my iPhone battery was flat
07:22 and to top it off it was raining outside,
07:26 so I couldn't play golf.
07:28 I went into the kitchen to make coffee
07:30 and then I remembered that this also needs power,
07:33 so I talked to my wife for a few hours.
07:37 She seems like a nice person."
07:40 That's a great one. Yeah. Yes.
07:42 Actually they did a national survey on 21,
07:48 more than 21,000 couples.
07:52 The purpose of this survey was to see
07:54 what are the key elements of happy families.
07:59 They came up with about 5,000 happy couples
08:04 and they looked into what were
08:07 the characteristics of these happy families.
08:09 And the number one,
08:11 the number one quality of these happy families
08:14 was the ability to communicate to each other.
08:16 Amen. Quality time spend together.
08:20 Having this very unique time
08:23 to speak to your husband or to your wife,
08:26 otherwise I believe the natural process happen
08:30 and that is of going further and further away.
08:33 Busy with jobs, business, going here and there.
08:37 I think that today society,
08:40 the way it's structured doesn't bring us closer
08:42 but pulls us away.
08:44 That means that they have to be very intentional
08:46 about keeping my relationship with my wife, with my friend.
08:51 And as it's in the spiritual life,
08:55 if there is no prayer,
08:57 there is no relationship with God.
08:59 If there is no communication with your spouse,
09:03 I doubt that there is a quality relationship
09:05 in that marriage.
09:06 A friend told me once,
09:08 her husband came in from work
09:09 to went straight to the television,
09:11 didn't talk to her and she said,
09:13 "I've never been more lonely than when he's in the room."
09:15 Yeah. Yeah.
09:16 And then another friend is having problems right now,
09:19 his wife is constantly on Facebook,
09:23 so there is no talk time
09:24 and you're seeing just between the television and the iPhone
09:29 and the Facebook,
09:30 I see two marriages that are being destroyed,
09:32 they're on the rocks.
09:35 The second concern I will have is the fact
09:37 that media makes us believe
09:42 that there is this idealistic marriage
09:45 and you have this unrealistic view
09:49 on how the way marriage should like,
09:51 or how my wife should be, or how your husband should be,
09:55 I call it forever young and forever in love.
09:58 You know, in the movies and this is,
10:00 you have this very romantic portrayal of relationships
10:07 which are not really realistic.
10:09 If you have a real life,
10:11 you have to wake up in the morning to work,
10:12 if you're a mother, have children,
10:14 have washes to...
10:16 Have dishes to wash and plenty of responsibilities.
10:20 You are not that romantic guy or that romantic lady.
10:23 I mean there is definitely place
10:25 for romance in marriage and don't misunderstand me.
10:28 But I think what you see in the movies
10:31 is not, is not real.
10:33 And we tend to believe well, my life should be like that.
10:36 Well, it shouldn't.
10:39 And as I'm saying, I think,
10:45 these virtual relationships
10:47 we have with other people on Facebook,
10:48 on social media also create this...
10:55 idealistic relationships or views
10:57 on how relationship should look like.
11:00 I remember reading one day on PBS
11:03 the comment done by one of the producers
11:07 Therese Borchard, and she asks the question,
11:11 does the internet promote or damage marital relationship?
11:14 And she says,
11:16 "Although the internet and social media
11:18 can foster intimacy in a marriage,
11:20 it seems to do more harm than good.
11:23 Of all the comments I've read,
11:25 90 percent of the opposite-sex relationships
11:27 that were damaging
11:29 to the marriage happened online."
11:32 And she...
11:33 Again this is one of Satan's subtleties, don't you think?
11:35 It's just like, he offers this temptation
11:39 and it doesn't seem all that bad
11:42 when people first connect with old friends
11:45 from high school or something,
11:47 and then suddenly
11:49 just because they're communicating and some often
11:51 and a little secrecy it becomes like a little real
11:55 and then they go over the line
11:57 and they're actually having emotional affairs,
11:59 if not leading to physical affairs.
12:02 Well, it happens, it happens in my periods,
12:04 in one of my districts that I had this couple,
12:07 I knew them well.
12:08 They both came from a very rough background,
12:10 but they were now committed Christian both of them,
12:13 Christians both of them.
12:14 And it happened that a husband had to go, it was winter time,
12:17 didn't find work in the place where he lived,
12:19 and he had to go work somewhere else.
12:21 Well, his wife was home, staying home, not much to do.
12:26 And somehow, I don't know exactly how did that happened,
12:28 she connected with someone, guess how?
12:32 Internet, chat room or some kind of communication.
12:37 I remember that...
12:40 I think the husband came and talk to me about this,
12:42 and I talked to this lady and I said,
12:44 "Well, maybe, maybe this is not healthy."
12:49 And she said, "Oh, I'm just teaching him
12:51 guitar lessons online."
12:55 I said, "It doesn't look too good to me."
12:58 And I said, "Just be aware."
12:59 And she says, "Oh, I know, I know, I know what I'm doing."
13:01 Well, the sad story is that marriage broke apart
13:05 because she developed a relationship with this guy,
13:07 and she began to send him pictures of herself and so.
13:10 You understand where she goes
13:12 and the marriage was completely destroyed.
13:16 And I remember the man coming to my home one morning
13:18 at 7 o'clock and this was a rough guy.
13:21 Big strong guy, but he came to our door,
13:24 rang my bell at 7 o'clock in the morning.
13:26 I invited him, we had breakfast together and we talk.
13:29 And then I said, "Is there anything I can do for you."
13:31 And he said, "Kill the internet."
13:34 That's what he said, I remember him saying that.
13:37 And I think this might not be...
13:41 I don't have percentages to justify what I'm saying,
13:44 but my concern is that media instead of bringing us closer
13:49 in many circumstances actually breaks the relationship
13:53 as far as the marital relationship.
13:55 But there are big concerns when it comes to children.
13:58 And I have a statistic done by Dr. Norman Herr.
14:03 He is a professor of Science Education
14:05 at California State University,
14:07 and he gives us a few statistics
14:09 which really, really amazed me.
14:11 He says this,
14:13 "Number of minutes per week that parents spend
14:14 in meaningful conversation with their children, 3.5."
14:18 That blows my mind.
14:20 That what he says,
14:21 "Number of minutes per week
14:22 that the average child watches television, 1,680."
14:27 So that means, can I just say something real quickly.
14:29 Sure, yes.
14:30 That means that the...
14:34 The influence that Hollywood is having over children
14:38 is what 500 and somewhat times
14:42 the influence that parents are having.
14:44 If they're listening,
14:45 if children are listening 1680 hours a week,
14:48 and only 3 or a 1680 minutes a week to TV
14:53 and 3.5 to their parents, that's amazing.
14:55 And I don't know where he has this statistic,
14:57 but I think that what he means by that
14:59 is meaningful conversation.
15:01 Meaningful conversation doesn't mean,
15:02 oh, have you done your homework,
15:03 have you done this, how was this?
15:05 It means meaningful, truly meaningful conversations.
15:07 Then he continues,
15:09 "The percentage of day care centers
15:11 that use TV during a typical day, 70 percent."
15:13 It means our kids, even in the day care center,
15:16 there a lot are exposed to media.
15:19 "Hours per year
15:20 that the average American school youth
15:22 spends in school is 900 hours in school.
15:25 Hours per year the average American youth
15:29 watches television is 1500."
15:34 Yeah, so nearly twice as much
15:36 compared to what they're being educated in school,
15:40 nearly twice as much they're getting their mind.
15:42 The plasticity of the mind is being shaped
15:45 by what they're watching on television.
15:47 That's amazing.
15:49 And I'm going to make probably very strong statement
15:51 here in today.
15:53 I cannot understand the parents, I cannot.
15:56 They're putting their in the hands
15:57 of the their little children the very powerful devices
16:01 like a phone or an iPad, I cannot understand that.
16:04 Without, it seems to me, without any kind of monitoring,
16:08 we are very careful with medicine, we put labels,
16:13 the safety caps, and we're very careful
16:15 that kids don't have access to medication.
16:20 But when it comes to what they feed their mind with.
16:24 When I think a lot of parents are careless.
16:28 When you give a knife or a smart phone to a child
16:33 with unrestricted access to data,
16:37 meaning movies or internet sites or games,
16:43 in my opinion the parent takes a huge, huge, huge risk,
16:48 and I cannot understand why would they do that.
16:52 I would call that child abuse.
16:55 When you give to your child or to someone
16:58 at a very early age and even to the...
17:03 It's hard for me to say, well, this is the age you should give
17:07 or you shouldn't give, I don't dare to say that.
17:11 But I think the parents take a huge risk
17:13 when they give to their children
17:14 these very powerful devices.
17:17 I saw children...
17:19 I remember one day I saw a girl,
17:22 she was there on a bench with a phone,
17:28 let's see, less than a foot from her eyes,
17:33 I mean her foot may be intently watching something.
17:37 She was just watching.
17:38 She was completely absorbed by what she was watching.
17:42 I passed by her and when she saw me
17:45 she kind of, was kind of,
17:47 I don't know she had a feeling of guilt
17:49 because she will take it.
17:50 I was just passing by
17:52 and she will hide it kind of then she would back,
17:54 go back and watch it again very intently.
17:59 And she was, she was in another world.
18:04 And then I was, I just wanted to do an experiment, I said,
18:07 "Well, how are you doing?'
18:09 ' She says, "Good. Very brief, short answers.
18:12 And what is that that you watch?
18:15 A movie.
18:16 I said, "What kind of a move?"
18:18 About a family.
18:20 And what happens in the family?
18:21 The parents are divorcing.
18:24 And I said to myself, why would the parent or a grandparent,
18:27 I don't know who would give to a child a phone
18:30 with the movie about parents who are divorcing.
18:33 I do not understand that.
18:35 Why do they have to go through this emotional trauma?
18:39 There is a wonderful book which I love,
18:40 it's called Child Guidance.
18:42 I recommend this book to every parent.
18:45 Was written by one of my favorite authors Ellen White
18:50 and she says this,
18:52 "What the child sees and hears is drawing deep lines
18:57 upon the tender mind,
18:58 which no after circumstances in life can entirely efface.
19:03 The intellect is now taking shape,
19:06 and the affections receiving direction and strength.
19:11 Repeated acts in a given course become habits."
19:16 What the child sees and hears is drawing deep lines
19:20 upon the tender mind,
19:21 which no after circumstances in life can entirely efface.
19:26 I think I am a, I am...
19:29 I have experience in my own life this because I...
19:31 When I was a child, I was, I watched movies
19:34 and the impact of those movies
19:36 probably are still on my life today.
19:39 And these were somewhat wholesome movies
19:43 back in that day.
19:44 You may call them today...
19:48 General audience movies and everybody can...
19:52 But they're not. In my opinion they're not.
19:57 Another concern is that,
19:59 we expose our children talking about too fast.
20:02 They're too fast too old, too fast too old.
20:04 Too fast too old, too fast too old.
20:07 And focus on the family.
20:09 Dr. Dobson started this program and talking on media,
20:14 he has a very powerful statement and he says,
20:19 "You can't walk through the grocery checkout aisle
20:23 without seeing the latest shenanigans
20:24 of youth celebrities.
20:26 Media push young starlets to move beyond
20:29 "precocious and cute to sensual and sexy."
20:32 All the while,
20:33 impressionable tween fans stand by in wide-eyed wonder,
20:39 wanting to be just like them."
20:41 Yes, they want to emulate this.
20:44 And it's not, they're pushing now
20:47 these kids, 15, 16 to play different roles
20:53 and to be there and it changes,
20:56 it completely changes the minds of our kids.
21:03 In the same focus on the family,
21:05 there are few guidelines.
21:07 One of them is know your kids.
21:11 And I'd say pray and play.
21:13 Pray and play with your children.
21:17 I think they will enjoy much more
21:19 the time we as parents spend with them in playing
21:23 than just letting them watch something
21:25 while we watch something else.
21:29 I think the investment,
21:31 the investment in playing with our children
21:33 is absolutely worth the time and the energy.
21:38 I like to play, and I always love to play.
21:42 And when I had our son, I play with him,
21:45 hide and seek and just invent, whatever.
21:47 It doesn't matter what you play,
21:49 just play with your kids,
21:50 they'll teach you what to play with them.
21:52 And take away the computer games,
21:54 I mean just throw them away I would say.
21:57 Bring some science, some history
22:00 if you really want to help them develop intellectually,
22:03 and take time to play with them.
22:06 I remember our son growing up when he was seven, eight,
22:09 we lived in Norway, we'd go out skiing,
22:11 cross-country skiing a lot.
22:12 We moved to California then.
22:14 I remember, I'll always make time to play badminton.
22:17 When he would come back from school,
22:18 we'll play badminton everyday, almost everyday,
22:20 we played badminton,
22:22 and it did good to me, it did good to him.
22:26 He as all the kids faced challenges
22:30 from the peer pressure and others,
22:33 but I think, I believe the fact that
22:35 we took the time to pray with him as a family,
22:39 and the fact that I took time to play with him,
22:40 it was worth in time.
22:44 We still have a good relationship
22:46 and fortunately he's doing well for now.
22:48 Praise God.
22:51 Another recommendation done by focus on the family,
22:54 know their hangouts, know who their friends are,
22:57 know who they are with?
23:00 Where do they spend their time?
23:02 What are they doing while they are there?
23:05 And I have to say this, I have to give this example,
23:09 even I can be embarrassed by this.
23:11 At one point in our lives, we had a friend of our son,
23:17 the same age with him coming and visiting and...
23:20 I don't want to give too many details about this,
23:23 but I remember that he would say,
23:27 well, dad, can I go and spend some time to this kid's home,
23:31 I say, well, I was very reluctant,
23:35 and I said, no,
23:37 I don't think so, but he insisted.
23:38 I said, okay, you go
23:39 and from time to time he would go.
23:42 And I'm gonna say this because
23:44 I think a lot of parents, for the sake of parents
23:47 one day I came home and I found him
23:49 on our computer watching something
23:51 which I was not happy about.
23:56 And I said how, who taught you this?
23:59 Where did you get this from?
24:00 And he told me, from my friend.
24:04 Then being very much aware, where your kids are,
24:07 what are they doing, what happens to them,
24:10 I mean it's your...
24:11 I believe it is my responsibility as a parent,
24:14 100 percent of the time,
24:16 I need to know where my child is
24:17 and what is he doing where he is.
24:20 If you think that I'm paranoid in controlling,
24:22 forget about that
24:23 because our kids are exposed today
24:26 to so much and so many influences that...
24:31 And I have plenty of examples to use.
24:32 And you have to also remember that
24:34 even if they're going, maybe it's a Christian family.
24:38 Some parents don't parent in the same style,
24:41 so they may be a Christian family
24:42 and they allow internet in their kids' room
24:45 and children, may be their child
24:47 has not been supervised the way he should
24:50 and introduce to such stuff.
24:51 Another advice that's given, know their friends
24:53 and have access to their private lives,
24:55 email, Facebook accounts.
24:57 As a parent I think that up to the age
25:00 when they would be adults, 18.
25:03 We as parents, we need to have, we need to have access
25:06 to their means of communication.
25:07 You need to know the password of their emails,
25:10 to have access to their Facebook accounts
25:11 to see who are they talking to, what are they talking about.
25:15 I know that they are smart enough
25:16 and they can fool you, I know that.
25:19 There's applications,
25:20 there's apps where they can hide things.
25:22 They can, yes, I know that, but at least as a parent
25:26 and I'll try to explain to them,
25:27 I don't this because I want to invade your privacy.
25:30 I just love you too much.
25:32 And may I say just something
25:33 that I heard a parent say recently,
25:34 they were having some problems because they found their child
25:37 had gotten involved in something
25:39 so what they did is
25:40 they take the cell phones at night.
25:44 There's a certain hour, 8 o'clock
25:46 and the parents plug them in, in their room
25:49 and they will not allow their kids
25:51 to use it during night, that's not a bad idea.
25:53 Yes, yes.
25:54 There are some home life guidelines,
25:55 seem to have few minutes left.
25:57 Have a program,
25:59 have a daily schedule and routines.
26:01 I think that's very important.
26:04 Have a set time and place for worship,
26:05 family worship.
26:07 Have a set time for family life or family fun activities.
26:10 Spending time with our children,
26:12 going outside in the nature, playing with them.
26:15 Have clear home rules and guidelines,
26:17 a few but very clear and with clear consequences.
26:22 Keeping our kids busy.
26:25 It is also very important, the leisure time that kids have
26:28 too much time on their hands, they, we know that,
26:31 I know that by experience, you get into foolish things.
26:35 Idle hands are the devil's workshop.
26:37 FBI has guidelines
26:41 and I'm going to read them quickly.
26:43 You can find this in the website
26:47 with www.fbi.gov.
26:50 A few of them says, let media for later in life.
26:54 I was surprised that this people,
26:58 they said let media for later in life.
27:01 In other words,
27:02 don't introduce it too young to your children.
27:03 Right, right.
27:05 And you may say, well, how long my kids have to wait?
27:08 Well, it depends very much on your lifestyle as a family.
27:11 But number one,
27:12 have let media for later in life.
27:14 No media in the bedroom.
27:16 You mentioned no media in the bedroom of kids.
27:18 No media for them. No private media for them.
27:21 Computer in the living room
27:23 to be used only with adult supervision,
27:24 screen to be in a visible position at all time.
27:27 Internet connection to be limited then,
27:29 a controlled password for the network
27:32 and have access to their social media.
27:34 And this is from the FBI, they see all of these,
27:37 so these are wonderful tips,
27:39 and thank you so much for sharing them with us.
27:41 Thank you for having me.
27:42 And I should call you doctor but I don't,
27:45 but thank you so much, Octavian,
27:47 for being with us.
27:48 For those of you at home, I hope that we've discussed
27:51 a number of things very rapidly,
27:54 but I hope you took some good notes.
27:56 If not, you can always get a copy of this program,
27:58 but we also want to invite you to join us next time
28:01 as we're going to be talking about the effect
28:04 that media has on our health.
28:07 We pray that God will bless you,
28:09 and we thank you for joining us today.
28:12 Look forward to seeing you next time.