Cell phones, facebook, blogs, websites, tv, ipods, game systems, etc.
None of these were mediums were prevalent when I was raising my three older children. They were beginning to develop, but we had one computer for the whole family and the kids could spend a half-hour a day on computer, with weekends occasionally being an exception. We had lots of family friendly videos, but used them as a special occasion, not an expectation. Couldn't have done early life without Winnie the Pooh.
However, now, this technology has developed so rapidly, that it is literally changing relationships, brain structure. It is Joy's world with her friends. But, it is essential to understand the ramifications of technology and the importance of limiting it.
When a child becomes addicted to these mediums, the cyberspace world becomes more reality to him than personal relationships. Children who spend time on violent video games are likely to become more violent. That shouldn't surprise us. What we sow we reap. Guard your heart for from it flow the springs of life. Whatever is true, honorable, just, lovely, ..., think on these things.
Scripture is very clear about the profound importance of being stewards of our brains. Without personal relationships, time to read and ponder, time to observe creation, we cannot as easily imagine and relate to God. When all time is taken up with media, there is not time to pray, plan, think, talk, build brain pathways.
A child's deepest need is for love, purpose, well-being, health. A machine cannot give any child or human being these essential things. Technology can pacify temporarily, but eventually a person craves for more and more and more, more entertainment, more stimulation, more numbing of the hunger and longing that lives inside, for real life, real love, real attention and time spent.
The home should be a place of authentic life, not virtual life.
Reading out-loud a half-hour to a couple of hours a day provided lots of food for their brains. Dress up clothes from Good Will, capes, swords, provided them with lots of tools for acting out the stories they had taken into their hearts. Playing outside, hours of capture the flag, rox-a-boxin pretend cities in the back yard, writing books, playing shopkeeper, tea times, meals together, designing lego towns, drawing with colored pencils, painting with water color, shaping play dough, cooking, gardening, playing an instrument, doing chores, having lots of people over for lunch, dinner, going to concerts, hiking, and a multitude of other activities gave us as a family a foundation of health--mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally.
We shared life, discussed issues, told stories, lived fully in creativity and personal relationships. This real life tied an invisible string from one heart to the other, holding us together in a corpus of morality, faith, love, and purpose.
Now, as I raise Joy, I have to be very intentional at keeping life personal, life-giving, relational. The time it takes to provide her with relationship and life experiences, automatically means I have little time for working on my computer. But the stewardship I have for her mind, body and soul are more profound than all the ministry and influence that I can have outside my home. So my emails pile up day by day, but my family's souls are prospering and growing.
Technology is raging because people are lonely and looking for meaning and relationship online. But it is destroying their brains, their consciences, their ability to think deeply, to build a vocabulary, to take time to be outdoors, to build a real, deep relationship with a friend by talking, instead of having virtual reality of life on a screen. The idol of technology is replacing a love for God for a hunger for those who might be looking for me or who can validate me in cyberspace.
As moms, we must protect our children from developing an early appetite for technology if we want them to have deep, healthy brains. One side of the brain is so passive when a person watches tv, that it slows down to a rate slower than when one is asleep. The brain cannot take in so many images and so it shuts down to protect itself. A brain developed over years of shut down will atrophy.
So much could be said about this, but don't want to keep you on a screen too long!
Two interesting articles on media this week.
Have a great weekend--hopefully outdoors in this lovely fall weather!