An Interview with Christi Lynn,
Marketing Director for the Odyssey Adventure Club
As media use continues to explode among children and teens, parents’ concerns about what their children could be uncovering while online increases. On average, children get their first smartphone at age 12, and research suggests kids and teens are spending more than 7.5 hours a day with their electronic devices — and often without a safety net. That’s exactly why Focus on the Family is launching the Odyssey Adventure Club, a safe and fun environment where children can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth.
Q: How is Focus on the Family and the new Odyssey Adventure Club addressing parental concerns about their children’s media use?
Media is a way of life for kids today, and we understand that. That’s why we created the Odyssey Adventure Club: to provide online, on-the-go delivery of more than 300 hours of safe, biblically-based audio entertainment. For more than 25 years, Adventures in Odyssey has been fostering spiritual and character growth in listeners. Many parents have come to trust us for solid lessons brought to life by fun characters. While we can’t monitor how many episodes a child hears, we can guarantee it’s an investment into their life every time.
Q: Some research shows that kids from age 8 to 18 spend more than 7.5 hours a day with electronic devices like a computer, phone or TV — why should this be a concern to parents?
We believe kids should be using their imagination and interacting with their family and friends. Many times media today tends to isolate. While the Odyssey Adventure Club is consumed through a computer or mobile device, it doesn’t require a child to sit and stare at a screen. Kids can listen to episodes while doing other activities, like coloring, playing with their toys or outside, riding in the car or exercising. The Odyssey Adventure Club also provides activities and devotions meant to be done as a family, encouraging that important interaction. Through the audio dramas, imagination is brought to life for kids within the theatre of the mind.
Q: How can parents leverage media to build a solid Christian worldview in their children?
There are a number of ways in everyday routines that parents can use media to teach their children. For instance, if you’re listening to Christian music, you can ask them, “What do you think the lyrics of this song mean?” Or if you’re watching a movie or TV show, you can talk with your child about the plotline and how it relates to morality, God and truth.
As parents, we have to equip our children with the knowledge and wisdom to face various situations in life, whether it’s something like bullying or lying, or understanding relationships. Adventures in Odyssey has episodes that touch on all of these issues and many, many more. With the Odyssey Adventure Club platform, you can even search for episodes on a subject matter and use it as a teaching tool.
Q: How does the Odyssey Adventure Club help moms and dads make spiritual investments into the lives of their children?
Through the power of story and imagination, Adventures in Odyssey teaches life lessons through the lens of a biblical worldview. This helps a child grow and develop spiritually. All of our episodes with the Odyssey Adventure Club are also connected to a devotional, which will give parents the ability to tie together easily the program to a scripture and a spiritual lesson. Additionally, parents will find a daily devotional on the website that will take their children and their family deeper on their spiritual walk.
Q: What is available to families through membership in the Odyssey Adventure Club?
Families will have access to more than 740 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and videos that highlight some of the real-life stories on which some of the dramas were based. The Web Quests feature hands-on learning and fun activities that enhance the audio dramas. Plus, with the member e-newsletter, parents can engage their child on a deeper level and use daily devotions for family time. They’ll also get exclusive new episodes each month, a subscription to Clubhouse magazine and a “behind-the-scenes” blog.
Q: How will this online club be kept safe for kids to explore on their own?
We require a parent to sign their child up, which helps to ensure that parents are aware of their kids’ involvement. All comments on the website are pre-moderated, and we do not allow any personally identifiable information to appear on the site.
Q: A portion of the monthly membership fee is being donated to Focus on the Family alliance organizations — why is this an important feature of the Odyssey Adventure Club?
We want to teach our members about giving and enlighten them to great social causes. Through our combined giving, the club can truly impact other ministries. We also hope to spread the word to our members about other great ministries that are doing God’s work around the world.
Q: The Adventures in Odyssey program has been sparking the imagination of children for 25 years. Share a few examples of how parents have used these award-winning radio dramas to disciple their children.
There are so many stories I could share of road trips, bedtime stories and devotional times. I remember one story about a boy who challenged his parents to listen to Adventures in Odyssey before bed instead of watching TV. The dad was so convicted that they started turning off the TV 30 minutes before bed and turning on Adventures in Odyssey instead. He wanted his family to start and end their day thinking about Jesus (Phil. 4:8). We have also heard numerous stories of how children were led to begin a relationship with Christ through listening to Adventures in Odyssey. We are blown away by these examples and feel humbled to play a small part in God’s larger story.