Thursday, January 21, 2010

Addicted to Media

The reports that made the news this week regarding how much time kids spend online, on the phone, texting, playing computer games, listening to music, etc. were not much of a surprise. Kids spend more time with some kind of media daily than they do sleeping.

Parents who hear this are not shocked by this - they know how addicted our kids are. Frankly adults are also addicted to the various forms of media and technology. The challenge, of course, is to find a healthy balance.

William Glasser had the idea that humans will all have addictions, so our challenge is to find healthy ones - he called them "positive addictions." I am not sure there are any healthy addictions frankly. I know people who are addicted to food, sex, drugs, booze, exercise, religion, social networking and the list goes on and on. The nature of an addiction is that we have lost control.

The idea of self-control (temperance, moderation) is almost a lost concept to a culture that goes from one addiction to the next. In scripture, self-control is presented as evidence that we are filled and bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:23) I need self-control in my life to do well.

I had a friend years ago who went from one hobby to the next with reckless abandon. He would spend thousands of dollars on a hobby, go after it for maybe a year and then it was on to the next one. He almost bankrupted his family with his addictions to the latest greatest whatever.

Finding ways to limit our time with media and technology is a counter cultural stance and will be viewed as odd. I know a family that raised all their children without ever having a television in their home - all their kids were well adjusted, top students, and a joy to be around. You could actually have a conversation with them because they were avid readers and had great social skills.

Our daughter never had a television or a computer in her room growing up - it was not punishment, it was called parenting. She is a pretty remarkable person today, thank the Lord. Her two kids do not have a computer or television in their rooms and I predict they will do well. (The fact that they are my Grand kids gives them a real advantage, I humbly realize.)

Too much of a good thing, makes it a bad thing.

Just thinking, Steve


  1. For the last three years at the beginning of the school year, I have given my students and my family, the following assignment: No TV, Video Games, or Texting for the weekend. It is hard, almost impossible for people who are truly addicted to these things. However if you try this for a few days you actually feel better. I highly recommend the assignment for anyone. Instead of spending time with media, spend time with the family or more importantly with God.

  2. Do you find it ironic that so much of the media is talking about people's addiction to media and the negative effects that it could have?

  3. I have seen the problem and it is me!

    Fasting from media is very helpful - I even find fasting from Chuy's for a week at a time is good. More than a week could be tough!

    Good ideas.