“Guard your gates,” I say as I log into our Vudu movie App. My kids shield their eyes from the various movie covers depicting innocent cartoon heroes to horror flicks as I quickly find a movie for the family. From the time my kids were mere toddlers (now 19, 12, and 10), they turned their heads or bury their heads into the couch cushions or leave the room because they know it means there is something violent, graphic, or too mature for their little eyes on the screen. It’s the same for music, the news, or comments made by strangers in the store. Guarding their gates began as a way to protect their little eyes and ears from the media. It comes from the passage Luke 11:34 -36

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”

But, I can’t always guard their gates. Media violence is everywhere: video games, commercials, movies, television shows, and music. It seems that nothing is safe or sacred for our children.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation of more than 2,000 children, ages eight to eighteen suggests children are spending an average of 7.5 hours on media a day. What is this doing in terms of media violence? How do you know if your child is being affected by media violence? Here are four signs.