rebelling against low expectations

How do you handle inappropriate public content?

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MEGAN WRITES: What should we do when inappropriate content is playing on a public television (like in a restaurant)? My family averts our eyes, but it’s often difficult when there are numerous televisions in all directions! Is it inappropriate for us to approach someone ask them to please change the channel? We realize we aren’t in any place of authority in the circumstance, but we also don’t want dirty thoughts in our minds! What should we do?


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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected]

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  • This is definitely a hard thing to deal with! It seems like when there’s something bad playing on a public tv, you’re typically surrounded by them!! One thing that helps me is to focus on whomever I’m with. Another helpful thing for our family is to avoid restaurants with tv’s. In-n-Out typically doesn’t have tvs. We typically get take out wherever we go, and then we can decide what we watch on our home tv.

  • You should pray for God to keep your thoughts pure despite what your seeing. If you ask Him that whole-heartily He will and what you are seeing wont affect you. 🙂

  • Good question, my family tries to always avert our eyes as well but it is hard. A few times though we’ve asked to change the channel when something was on that the 5-year-olds didn’t need to be staring at, sometimes we do need to do that and it’s okay if it’s something that’s really distracting and inappropriate for you and your family, God tell us to guard our eyes and hearts (Proverbs 4:23-27), sometimes that means just doing what you gotta do, even if it means just up and leaving.

  • If it really is inappropriate, chances are that you are not the only customers there that don’t want to see it. I would just ask politely if they could change the channel. Though where I am usually what’s on TV in restaurants is sports or news, so I don’t really have a lot of experience with this.

    • Most of the time the resaurant we go to has news or sports as well…AND we sit where the TV is out of view…..but this time, every table was full and we got placed RIGHT in vision of all 3 TV’S and it was playing horrid music videos…. =P Thanks for your advice! =D

  • In that case, unless you know the owner well, I wouldn’t ask that. It can be a little rude.

    Than at that point I would think that you could either avert your eyes and focus on something else like your food, or if you cannot, just don’t go to that restaurant.

    That’s what I would do.

  • I honestly don’t see anything wrong with asking them to change the channel. The TV’s supposed to be for you, you’re the ones giving them money, so why not?

    I mean, it might be a little embarrassing, but the power’s where the $$$ is. (haha…i’m so mercenary.)

  • Honestly, people have already answered this one and I don’t see how there can be a lot of controversial answers. If you’re at a restaurant and there are TVs in all directions, initiate conversation with your family, focus on something else, witness to your waiter, something that keeps your eyes off of the offensive content. You’ve got the choice to not keep your eyes glued in that direction, so just don’t do it. 🙂

  • maybe find a different restaurant that doesn’t have TVs? I hate restaurants with TVs because I find they distract from conversations — my little cousin was at a restaurant with us earlier this week, and because there was a (around 72 in. flatscreen) on the wall opposite him, he simply couldn’t hold a coherent conversation — didn’t even know what we were talking about. So I simply try to sit in a) a place where I can’t even see the TV, or b) ask them to change the channel — or I’ve just sometimes gone and turned it off (but that wasn’t at a restaurant… different story. ;)). Hope my rambling was somewhat helpful!

  • Personally, I hate the idea of having TV’s in restaurants. I work in one and it’s highly distracting having the TV on. People are supposed to have conversations and fellowship over food, not watch TV!! *ends rant*
    Try to get a booth or table where it blocks the view of the screen, if you can’t, ask your waiter if changing the channel or turning off the TV is possible, if it isn’t, talk to the people at your table, or your family and say “Hey, lets not watch TV and instead talk to eachother.”

  • I honestly think that asking to change the channel isn’t rude, just ask them to put it on the sports channel or something. I think that would be ok, unless the sports is the inappropriate channel than go to something else.

  • As a food service person my self, restaurants are trying to appeal to a certain clientele. Sometimes, but infrequently, there is no choice, you need food and this is the only restaurant in town. Sometimes your friend has suggested this as a meeting place and you get there and find yourself stuck. Servers are trapped too. They don’t feel they can do anything unless someone asks. Always be polite and respectful, “Could you please change that set to _________, or perhaps turn it off.” You never know what can happen until you try. Obviously, if you are in a place with 40 sets you are in the wrong place, unless you want to spend your time watching. Usually the servers are more than happy to oblige. They didn’t like the content any more than you, but they need an impetus to make a change. Then if they get called on it, they can say it was at a patrons request. We live in a world hostile to our values. They don’t see what can be wrong with “The King of Queens”, let’s say. If they ask, you have an opportunity to reach out to them in love. Try not to live in judgement, say something kind and true. “Well, we are trying to enjoy a meal together and the script for that actor keeps having him use profanity we wouldn’t allow at my/ our home.” Or, “We would rather not have to think about how little those people are wearing as we eat our meal.” As a rule, if you can, it is always better to suggest an alternative. Otherwise they may choose a different channel that is just as bad and now you are condemning them if it is too bad and you feel you have to say something. Of course off is always an option and I have used that successfully in the past when my section didn’t have many customers. If you get ‘push back’, ask to see the manager. Explain why you chose their restaurant and ask kindly if there is anything they can do. If they say no, “my way or the highway”, then you have a choice. You can take your food to go, or even get up and leave your food at the table. Food is a small percentage of the cost of operating a restaurant and it is their responsibility to meet your expectations. I wouldn’t feel obligated to pay for a meal I couldn’t enjoy and the server or manager was rude to me about.

    • You’ve worked food… would you recommend it? Really off topic but I’m thinking about getting a job as a waitress.

      • Food service is where many hurting people go. Most of the work is at night. When I was in chef school, I was the only believer at first. The rest of the students were having serious parties on the weekends. They worshiped the false god of self indulgence. There is a lot of pressure to be immoral, but you can have a great impact as long as you are well connected in your church and have a good support group. Remember the Lord spoke about how people want darkness to cover their deeds. It is a good learning experience as long as you can manage the pressure.

  • Unfortunately, restaurants are not the only public places where our consciences are assaulted. It is impossible to go out in society nowadays and not see or be around sinful behavior. I would endeavor to frequent places where there is a quieter atmosphere or order my food to go, if it is not possible to avoid it. These are difficult days and society seems to be going from bad to worse. Sad to say, but it won’t be getting any better.

    God will take care of you. Trust Him to guide you in all His ways.

    Sincerely in Him,
    Jean

  • Alright! First step is: you take a brick (authentic bricks are preferred, but those cheap synthetic bricks will do) then, you throw it THROUGH the television set. Thereafter you sue the restaurant for affronting your 28th Amendment rights, and then you–oh, wait; this is a joke.

  • My family ate at Chili’s once (yes, the place with the little tablet things on the tables that are slowly but surely replacing waiters ;P) and there was a famous Civil War movie playing. It wasn’t like a bad bad movie, but the guy got injured and it was kinda gory. And so my mom flagged the waiter, and was like “hey can you change the channel? I really don’t wanna see this guy bleeding while I’m eating” lol. And the waiter took one look at the screen, grimaced, said “eww” and then got a remote and changed the channel. So it’s not like the waiter’s gonna be like NO WAY JOSE!!!!

    And who cares if it’s a little bit awkward??? I’d rather have a few moments of awkwardness than a meal full of seeing something inappropriate, ya know? =)

    OPTION B: Don’t go to that restaurant. =P

      • Yay, you’re still on Disqus!! lol, Revive had a mini-heart attack after you deleted your account…people’s notifs inboxes were messing up for days, no joke. =P Sam’s got it under control now though. =)

          • Lord of the Rings reference??? XD Sorry this is totally off topic but I just had to point it out lol

          • Yeah, well @programguy:disqus is named Sam, and he’s wise, so once I was reading LOTR and I thought, “that’s so Sam S!” And the rest is history…

          • I’m not sure yet, still reading through it. You know, we are really off topic, I’ll answer trough Revive ok?

          • Yes. Aragorn and Faramir are both great characters too! I was so mad at how they changed Faramir in the movie. Eomer and Eowyn are also among my favorite literary characters.

          • Oh yes Eomer and Eowyn they were awesome!!!!! Yeah they did change Faramir but he was only like that for a little while. He changed after that. And then they made him the way he was. =) I liked Frodo a lot though they kinda made him seem a little wimpier than he really was in the book.

          • Yeah I don’t know what to think of Frodo in the movies. I mean, he’s good… but when he tells Sam to go home, I am reminded of something Sam said to Faramir. Something like, “if Sauron could see you now he’d be quite pleased. Think he’d found a new friend, he would.” But most of the time I really like him. It’s just when he’s under the influence of the ring that I don’t like him so much. :/

          • I don’t think anybody likes anyone from the movie that’s being influenced by the ring lol. I don’t think that Frodo told Sam to go home in the book….? Yeah I do too. He’s pretty cool. Elijah Wood did an amazing job playing Frodo. He was like 17 or 18 I think in the first movie…

          • Yeah you’re right. 🙂 No, Frodo never would have told Sam to go home in the book. He only told him that he couldn’t help with the ring. IKR? Elijah Wood was sooo good, especially for a guy who hadn’t had experience!

          • True!!!! I liked him a lot. And Legolas was so good too. His bow and arrow shooting… XD he was good in the Hobbit Trilogy as well.

          • I love how he uses his arrows… 🙂 I love the interaction between him and Gimli!

          • Yes!!!! It was awesome!!!! I loved the part where Pippin saves Faramir. And when Frodo collapsed in the spider cave and Galadriel came and then that’s the moment when Frodo decided to keep going. Two of my favorite parts of the trilogy.

          • Oh yeah! My favorites are when Sam says, “I can’t carry it for you, Mister Frodo. But I can carry you!” And Eowyn killing the black rider, and when they’re all in front of the Black Gate. (Especially, “how about side by side with a friend?”)

          • Yessssss all of them are great parts!!!! I almost cried when Sam said that. It was so good. I loved it also when Frodo said “you left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the brave. I want to know more about Sam. Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam.” That whole conversation was so awesome.

          • That conversation was the best way possible to end the movie. Just… awesome. Ooh, and there is when Eowyn and Faramir meet/talk for the first time. Awwwww!!!

          • oh my word of course I LOVED that part!!!! They’re awesome!!!!! awwww it was sweet!!! And agreed!!!! Frodo is actually a courageous little hobbit and so is Sam.

          • Legalos’ arrows are digital. He has a toy bow that he pulls back and they add arrows in the editing room. I was so disapointed when I found that out.

          • I didn’t expect that Orlando Bloom would know how to shoot a bow and arrow…. So yeah it kinda makes sense. =)

          • Yes he’s really cool! My sister says he’s too perpetually neat and clean, but I like him. 🙂

          • Haha yeah same here…. his character is pretty awesome.

            Even though Boromir died, I still liked him a lot.

          • I don’t like Boromir all that much, actually. I guess he was just too weak, no inner strength. Although I’m comparing him to guys like Aragorn and Legolas, so he was set up for failure…

          • True, true. I liked it that he pretty much gave his life for the hobbits. That’s why I liked him. and also that he wanted to make things right with Frodo, but he just didn’t get to.

          • True, him giving his life for the hobbits makes up for it.
            Oh, another favorite scene is when Sam walks out into the water following Frodo! Such a good view of his character, all in one scene.

          • Oh yes every time I watch that part I feel like I want to cry I mean for real. Have you seen the extended editions?

          • Extended edition is the best way to watch! I haven’t even seen normal edition of Return of the King or Fellowship of the Ring. 🙂 hbu?

          • The first time I saw them I saw the Fellowship of the Ring (extended) The Two Towers (not extended) and The Return of the King (not extended). After watching them I slowly but surely watched all the extended versions. =D It was awesome!

          • Hehe it was fun though! Notifs not loading… if you’d left it like that Revive might have gotten quieter. 😉

          • You could have…
            Sent you a message in Revive, btw. Dont feel like you have to answer soon, or at all necessarily. 🙂

  • THANK YOU all for the help!!! This has been really excellent! Thank you all for taking the time and consideration to answer for me! I REALLY appreciate it!!!!

  • I experienced this once with a group of friends in a restaurant–it was a really bad scene and we all just tried to look away. I would say that the first step, like many others have said, is just to try and choose a restaurant that doesn’t have the TVs. I think I’ll try to get my friends to go to a different one in the future, because that one is really distracting in addition to the inappropriate content.
    The most important thing is NOT to just allow yourself to see it. Do whatever it takes not to see it. Fight against it! If that means asking the waiter to turn it off, then do that. We can’t be embarrassed when it comes to standing up for our beliefs.

  • This doesn’t exactly match your situation, but with like movie ads in theaters, last month I went to watch a movie in theaters with my brother and sister. This ad came on for a movie that was rated for… ahem… bedroom scenes, so we all looked at each other or at the floor. All except my brother, who pulled up the Bible app on his phone and read that until that ad was over. So, I don’t know if this helps anybody, but I thought it was a really good way to handle it.

  • Just try to avert your eyes from all that stuff as best you can. Yes the temptation is strong, just ask God to give you the strength to resist it. =)

  • Hey, we’re all rebelutionaries here. I mean come on this sounds like a “hard thing.” Maybe we can change it. Talking to the manager of the restaurant, or the theater about only showing age appropriate content might actually help.

  • We were at a restaurant that was playing a football game but there were many innapropriate commercials but they said no to changing the channel cause it was the football game. We just asked to be moved to a table were we couldn’t see the t.v. They were more than happy to do that. Good backup plan

rebelling against low expectations

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