Dangers of social media and technology addiction

Published 12:52 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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To the Editor:
Studies show social media has negative effects. When the Facebook files were leaked in 2021, we found out people working for Facebook were aware of the adverse effects Instagram was having on teen girls. Earlier this year both the Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association warned about the negative impact of social media on certain groups, including adolescents.
Chaos erupts in New York City’s Union Square after promise of free play stations from Social Media influencers video called, “game console giveaway.” The riot by thousands of people destroys over $100,000 in property damage. Social media caused riots and property damage. It makes you wonder how bad the riots will be in the future when food becomes hard to find.
Famous Christian Actor Denzel Washington has been outspoken about the dangers of social media. Washington warned against the “twitter-tweet, meme-mean world we’ve created for our children.” “The least we can do is consider what we have done and think about the young people. Washington recently shared scripture and encouraged people not to get too focused on social media. He said the Bible says in the last days we’ll be lovers of ourselves.” The number one photograph today is a selfie, “Oh, me at the protest. Me with the fire. Follow me. Listen to me.” Washington said, “We’re living in a time where people are willing to do anything to get followed.” What is the long or short-term effect of too much information? It’s going fast and it can be manipulated obviously in a myriad of ways. And people are led like sheep to slaughter, Washington added. I agree
Jesus’ greatest warning for the last days is “don’t be deceived!” Washington attacked Hollywood for their bad treatment of the great movie “Sound of Freedom.” The movie is a true story about stopping trafficking of children. A study in Florida found that in 146 trafficking crimes, Facebook or other Meta was used by traffickers. So, social media is used by evil traffickers! The Elizabethton Star just reported that seven men were arrested in East Tennessee for human trafficking! Parents have a new problem some call “technology withdrawal.” Recognizing the vast increase in time their children spent with digital devices during the COVID pandemic, studies are now underway regarding the negative effect this has on children. Children have become increasingly dependent on smartphones and tablets for education as well as social connection and entertainment.
Monitoring company Bark, which parents and schools use to track over 5 million kids’ Internet usage, found a 144 percent increase in the number of messages children sent and received online in 2020 compared with the year prior. Children more than doubled their messages on social media sites, email, and more in 2020. Some say screen time is a worldwide “technology addiction.” Experts on screen time have been stepping back from terms like “addiction.” They argue that allowing more screen time isn’t a choice but a necessity for schools and families. The Bible in Exodus 20:3 says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Christian families must ensure the “technology god” doesn’t take over their family time and their role given by God to teach and raise their children to know the Bible and Jesus.
In an article in Christian Post Leah Klett said, “A smartphone absorbs our interest because it is so alluring. It can do so many things. And in a sense it is asking us to do so many things with it.” The Bible says even good things can be distractions and can become idols if they cause us to forget the Lord God. Child behavioral scientist, Dr. Jennifer Cross, states, “As adults we understand some of the drawbacks (of using smartphones, etc.) and make a conscious decision to put the phone down, but for 2- or 3-year-olds, who don’t have any understanding of these concerns, if they have been exposed to the phone/tablets since infancy, it becomes their norm and they want to do more of it.” She also reminds parents that phones and tablets are portable making them harder to leave at home compared to television or computer.
Joshua Becker suggests some help for parents. His suggestions begin with parents setting an example. Recognizing that behavior is modeled by parents. Don’t be afraid to be the parent. Set viewing times and cut cable or other entertainment temptations. Use the time you gain away from the screen to fully engage in activities as a family. Go on a family hike or walk the dog, bicycle, play ball and get out your board games. Be involved in your child’s life. Set rules for screen time during meals and before bed. A Christian said, first eat dinner at the table as a family every night if possible without electronic devices. Second, pray together. Third, be in the Word and read the Bible together. Fourth, build on communication and togetherness. Fifth, be faithful to church as a family. Doing this helps us to obey the Bible when it says, “redeem the time for the days are evil,” and “show children the way they should go.”
People of this end time high tech world are deceived and entrapped in the slavery of addictions of all types and forms. Always begin by bringing them to the only One who is able and willing to set us free – Jesus. Remember the Christian song by Zack Williams, “If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.” Jesus led the most freeing revolution in history awashed in blood, His own. His revolution is one person at a time from the inside out. There’s only one way to have true freedom and live free in Tennessee and for eternity – Jesus!

D.D. Nave

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