You’ve probably heard Jim Rohn’s quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

And you know what? I’m going to go a step further. I believe it applies to whatever “entertainment” you allow into your realm of influence.

Into our children’s influence.

It matters.

I don’t tend to write opinion pieces. I’m firmly an “I know we all have differences and believe we can love and be kind to each other anyway” kind of gal.

But this morning I got an email from our school district in response to a post shared widely on Snapchat about “shooting up schools.”

And you could say I’m a little exhausted with being mentally exhausted over the health and safety of our children a year and a half into all that Covid has brought to parenting, just to go right back to our “normal” worries over our kids at school—shootings.

It reminded me of an article I saw last week on a parenting website addressing children watching Netflix’s intensely violent Squid Game. It reminded me of a separate article, in The Washington Post, about children playing Squid Game at recess.

And it reminded me of comment after comment from parents hopping on to say they let their children watch this. Often, the reasoning being, “We can’t shield them from what’s out there. They may as well see it with us. All their friends have already seen it anyway.”

RELATED: Teen Girls Are Slipping Their Social Media Info Into Pants Pockets At Stores in New Concerning Trend

So here it is . . . my opinion:  What goes into their stream of influence matters.

So much.

And instead of throwing our hands up in the air as if we can’t do anything about it, let’s do the hard work.

I want to raise kids who understand their minds and hearts are theirs. They don’t owe Snapchat, or Netflix, or the latest trend, or anyone/anything else unfiltered access to their soul.

It’s OK to say no. And to say it confidently!

I want us as parents to have the tough conversations. Let’s teach our kids that everything they choose to let in will influence them in some way.

That doesn’t mean we can or should shield them from everything. It means teaching them to be the gatekeeper, the decision-maker, about what they allow access to their influence.

Helping them to understand that while there are all sorts of dark and disturbing options on the buffet of entertainment, they don’t have to put it all on their plate and internalize it. Whatever goes in is going to impact them in some way as it’s digested.

RELATED: Dr. Laura Berman Fights For Social Media Change After Teen Son’s Overdose Death

And, they absolutely don’t have to choose whatever their friends are choosing. That it’s pretty awesome to confidently say, “No man, I’m not putting that in my head.”

(Side note—Yes, I’m talking about older kids there. Older kids who we’re trying to train to become more independent with their decision-making. If we’re talking little kids, you’re the undisputed gatekeeper.)

Are we looking at our kids and wondering why they’re so anxious? Why they’re not sleeping? Why they’re struggling with behavior? Why they’re withdrawn? Why they’re mimicking violent shows during “play” at recess? Why we’re getting emails from the school about social media-driven shooting concerns?


Yes, I’m wondering why.

Why are we doing this to our kids?

I know there’s no shortage of everything out there. I know we can’t shield and protect them from it all. I know not every issue we run into with our kids is because of media influences. I know we need to raise kids that know and are prepared for the “real world.”

But also, we don’t have to hand over our kids to whatever the world decides to serve up.

We can teach our kids that what goes into their soul matters.

RELATED: The Most Important Word We Can Teach Our Kids To Say is “No”

And that all their lives, they have power in that choice.

That if they’re going to become what they consume, then CHOOSE wisely.

I want them to understand that what they surround themselves with impacts how they feel, how they act, how they engage in relationships, how they live, and how they love.

I want them to understand it matters.

I want us to understand it matters.

Because it matters.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Emily Roussell

Emily Roussell is author of the tender children's book for new babies and moms, ‘Rock You Tonight.’ It reads like a lullaby, while telling the story of a tired and distracted mom who slows to fully embrace the wonder of and love for her baby. This book was penned when her first children, twins, were just months old. Life was exhausting, upside down, and …blissful. Find it in hard copy or kindle edition on Amazon! Emily and her husband gratefully enjoy a happy circus of life with four children. You can find her at

“Active Shooter” Video Game Release Canceled, Proving Again the Power of Parents

In: Journal
"Active Shooter" Video Game Release Canceled, Proving Again the Power of Parents

Parents. In case you don’t already realize it with every ounce of your being: YOU HAVE A VOICE! Times are uncertain lately, to be sure, but we can—and do—make a difference when we come together and advocate for the best interests of our children. This last week alone is proof of that, as parents have stood together to demand change in inappropriate movie, app, and video game content. Last week, several articles circulated the internet regarding the kid’s movie, Show Dogs, whose questionable content had several parents raising their eyebrows in disbelief. As the news of the inappropriate content picked...

Keep Reading

13 Reasons Why I Can’t Stop Thinking About “13 Reasons Why”

In: Grief, Kids, Suicide

My husband and I recently watched the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. For those unfamiliar, it is a show about a high school girl who commits suicide and why she does it. She records 13 tapes explaining the reasons why she decided to take her life, and we hear it all along with the characters on these tapes as they discover what part they played in her decision. Spoiler alert: she was bullied, sexually assaulted, traumatized, and raped. It’s pretty awful. Many times I turned to my husband and said, “Why are we watching this?!”, a few times in-between heaving sobs. ...

Keep Reading

The ‘Skull Breaker’ Challenge is Spreading on Social Media—And Kids Are Getting Hurt

In: Kids
Three teen boys doing the skull breaker challenge

A viral challenge called the “Skull Breaker Challenge” that originated on TikTok is landing more and more kids in the hospital with serious injuries—and now school officials are sounding the alarm to parents and educators.  The challenge, also called the “Tripping Jump Challenge” is a prank where two people ask a third to record a synchronized jump for social media. They jump once in tandem, then on the second jump, the two people on the outside sweep the legs of the middle person out from under him. The resulting undercut usually causes the person to fall flat on his back...

Keep Reading