Writes a weekly column, "Heart Beat," that appears on WorldNetDaily.com and Townhall.com
Radio commentator for Salem Communications
guest co-host of Point of View
Media appearances include CNN, Fox News, and national network news programs
Graduated Cum Laude from Troy State Univ. Alabama, double majored in Broadcast Journalism and Social Science
Wife & mother of 3 teenagers
CBN.com Rebecca Hagelin's weekly column "Heart Beat" explores social and cultural issues through the eyes of a mother. As a result, Rebecca started receiving letters from readers/parents saying that they needed help because they feel like their values are under attack. Rebecca says that this attack is a form of "cultural terrorism." Advertisers and the media offer highly sexual and violent images in their programming. They also are offering a new world view of families and reorganizing parental and gender roles. For example, fathers on TV are usually portrayed as wimpy and ignorant. The advertisers and media are hitting below the belt and into people's wallets. We live in a toxic culture. Overtly sexual images are in our faces and subtle to the point that we don't realize the number of trashy images we are bombarded with. Parents must understand that children are garnering a world view from these images. Parents have to fight the cultural invasion and make homes safe.
Also based on the e-mail she receives, Rebecca says there are three types of parents: parents too busy/absorbed in their lives, parents who feel helpless, and parents who succumb to a type of peer pressure from other parents who are not standing up for godly values.
Here are some interesting facts Rebecca found from the Kaiser Family Foundation: children are exposed to 6 and half hours of media a day; the No. 1 type of music is hip hop; No. 1 TV network viewed by girls is MTV; children are exposed to hardcore pornography on the internet. Rebecca says homes are the worst environment for children, right now they can look at porn on the internet in the sanctity of their bedrooms.
Some practical and immediate tips parents can take today are:
1. Get filter for the Internet resource. One site she suggests www.bsafe.com. It takes only seconds to download, and costs $50 a year.
2. If you have cable TV, get parental controls. Rebecca says this service is usually available for free from cable providers. She also suggests the website www.controlyourtv.com.
3. Be savvy – know your kids' entertainment – games, movies, etc. She suggests the website www.pluggedinonline.com – it provides free movie reviews
Rebecca says that parents have to step forward and protect their children. Parents need a godly world view to and listen to their instincts to protect their children, build character in their children, and commit to the daily battle (fighting these cultural invaders everyday). Mothers especially should pay attention to their instincts regarding their children and fathers need to be aware of the important role that they have.
Rebecca has had to do this many times with her own children. For example, one of her daughters was invited to a slumber party. Rebecca's daughter told her that they were going to watch a movie. Rebecca researched this movie on www.pluggedinonline.com and found that there was objectionable content in the movie. Rebecca called the mother of the girl that was having the party and Rebecca said that she wasn't condemning what the mother was allowing in her household, she just didn't want her daughter to see the movie. In talking further with the friend's mother, Rebecca found that the mother didn't realize that the movie had objectionable content.
Here are some steps Rebecca gives to parents:
1. (a.) Envision the type of teen/adult you'd like your children to become and work towards that.
(b.) Assess what messages kids are getting everyday.
(c.) Compare. This means to research what is out there and what other parents are doing with their children
2. Commit to the daily battle. A short sample prayer Rebecca says everyday to help in the battle is: Dear Lord, help me today to uphold Your standards. One of the keys is to be consistent. If parents must say no to things, it is good for parents to provide healthy, godly replacements and explain to children the reasons why.
3. Teach children that they have intrinsic value in God - For example, Rebecca tells her daughters and their friends that they don't have to follow the trend of dressing provocatively. They have too much worth and value in God to base their self-esteem on outward beauty and the world's standards.
4. Increase family time – quantity and quality time – cut out frivolous activities. Family members don't need to be involved in too many school, sports, church, etc. activities. It is important to build good family relationships and create a safe place in the home.
5. Be involved in your child's education every moment.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.