Media Talk 101 sent me a copy of their DVD documentary, Captivated: finding freedom in a media captive culture. The documentary was made for adults, but is suitable, and I believe beneficial, for family viewing. The documentary itself is about 107 minutes with over two hours of extra material such as the movie trailer, Gospel for Asia promo, extended interviews and a word from the producer.
Captivated features 30 people representing a variety of ages, walks of life, expertise, and experiences with media. Their willingness to share their knowledge and personal stories really brought the documentary to life. Captivated has five “chapters” so to speak: Intro./Media Consumption, Content, Captivity, Battleground, and Freedom.
Phillip Telfer, writer, producer, and co-director, used his freestyle BMX skills to reach the unsaved, and has worked in some sort of ministry including music, working with the youth and pastoral for many years. In 2005 he founded Media Talk 101. You can tell he’s passionate about this topic (and ministry in general) from the DVD, and also from his websites.
The documentary starts out with an awesome media inspired opening credits segment. I loved the creativity. Then we get into a little about the history of communications (for example the telegraph) and technology, how it’s grown over the years, and the impact it has on us today. Media comes at us from everywhere: TV, computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. and with a variety of avenues such as shows and movies, video games, social media, and music. It’s safe to say we are bombarded on a daily basis.
One thing I loved about Captivated is that it doesn’t come against media as much as brings a caution. The speakers talk about how technology and media has it’s benefits, but also has it’s pitfalls. We need to approach it with eyes wide open, and keep it in perspective and balance. If we recognize the downsides, we can put media back in it’s place: as a tool not a lifestyle. We also have to remember it’s not just the amount we consume, but the type of media we focus on.
Captivated discusses the affect media has on our brains which I found both fascinating and a little disturbing. I’m not going to share that because I don’t want to give it away. But you’ll come away with a “yeah, that makes sense” moment. One result of such a media invested world is an overdeveloped reactive attention system and an underdeveloped focused attention system. Interesting, no? You’ll have to watch to understand that tidbit more.
Some of the negatives of media are that it can be addictive (ever see a teenager sleep with their cell phone? ever feel the pull to get on Facebook when you should do something else?), can create a disconnect with life (do you play any harvesting games or get outside and plant a garden? Just one example.), and it can hamper focus leaving people easily distracted or doing a poor attempt at multitasking. By the way, multitasking actually makes you lose speed, efficiency and accuracy. They shared the example of the telegram that came to the Titanic, but didn’t make it to the bridge, because of the many other telegrams fighting for attention.
These are but a few of the things you’ll find on this DVD. It goes into the impact on children and Christians, and how to take media fasts. Media fasts are great to break the addiction cycle, or just to step back for a bit and enjoy life more. I know I whine sometimes about not having enough time, but I’m betting a couple of media fasts here and there would free some up.
Again, they do not come at you with an “all media is bad-give it up” viewpoint. No, they simply share the impact it can have, and how important it is to keep it in its place, to evaluate what we are viewing and how much we are staring at a screen. There is a lot of really great information in this documentary.
I sat down and watched this DVD straight through with my teens, and we paused and discussed certain things as we went. I also went back through a second time to gather some notes for this review. And now, we are going back through slowly with the younger two, again stopping for discussions.
I highly recommend Captivated. Even if you don’t agree with everything, it will still teach you a lot, and make you look closer at your own media input, and that of your children. This is great for the single person as well as families. Watch it together for some great family conversations, and if you decide to do a media fast (whether short or long), it will give you some wonderful tips to get through it, and your children will be less likely to revolt. So will you for that matter.
Captivated DVD (free shipping):
for one DVD = $16.95
for two DVDs = $21.95 (special sale)
Plus, as you buy in quantity, the individual price goes down.