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November 2, 2021 2:00 am
Screens can give us the false impression that we rule our digital kingdom with the touch of a button. David Murrow warns us that having the tools is not the problem, but drowning in them is.
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So I'm going to make us do some right now I want to do the screen time check on your phone. I just want to know what your number is compared to my number daily average what your daily house rule just say it. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and will send it on Dave Wilson and you can find email@example.com or on our family life.
This is family life today so were talk about screen time today. I just want to know what your number is compared to my number. I'm competitive, so I'm just hoping it's higher than doing real well all week because this is where we study on it sounds like you're making more hours points higher, it's 57 minutes five hours and 14 minutes but I'm down 31% from last week. Okay so were talk about screen time today because this little device that our hands, whether it's a phone or an iPad or computer screen can dominate our lives with you. You can't even get a four hours a doing with my life without working to find out is we get some help today from David Morrow. He wrote a book about this ease.
He said he can help us right so David, welcome back to family like today to be with you again. There were glad to have you here.
You are a book called drowning in screen time which I was going to say my wife is drowning, but if I'm an hour or more a day with day five hours 14 minutes very discouraged that I hope I can get my mind back on what were doing here because that's going to pull yours up. Let's see I shut my loft was how bad this is. By the way, I just will notice you know my number one app that I spent the most hours on is my camera well you know something you tell me that's not true I'm to let you like.
Sometimes people use their alarm clocks so my I'll do that might my thing is you were on 11 hours a day ago.
What will eight hours a day of that was my clock but mine is very recently written. You know more about the screen time thing.
In fact, the subtitle which is really inching a lifeline for adults, parents, teachers and ministers who want to reclaim their real lives.
We are to talk this week about some of the epidemic of screens in our lives and how they can really be detrimental. But how do they keep us away from your title their real lives. Do they really keep us away from real life. All they absolutely do. One of the parables that I use at the beginning of the book is 500 miles or one of the parables is I called the parable of the kingdom. David was elevated to the role of King right and when he became king. He was, he encountered a lots of pressures that he had never known as a shepherd boy. For example, presiding over a kingdom he could suddenly summon any food that he wanted.
Well we can do that with our phones now he could banish heretics and turncoats and put rivals to the sword and we can do that on Twitter the whole thing adds up to you create this digital kingdom over which you reign as Lord and Master, you decide what ideas will be tolerated.
What ideas will be canceled. Who can come in and who come out come out of your world presence there algorithms that function like digital yes-men. They look over your shoulder while you surf the web and then they provide you with more content, that is all you're right and they backup the things you already believe. Or if you're the type who likes to fight online your social media feed is gonna fill up with ideas that you hate so that you can fight with those people. But all of it adds up to this digital kingdom over which we reign as Lord and Master, and I think that's very unhealthy, then you going to the real world where nothing you and you have control of nothing in the digital world. You have complete control over what happens in the real world. You control almost nothing.
You know there's no on-off button.
If your car breaks down. There's no way to unfriend toxic coworkers and what it's doing is we're having this generation of young people is growing up digital and their accustomed to having this high level of control in their lives in their digital lives and they're not adapting well to real life because it doesn't yield to their preferences. That's just the natural result of kids who've grown up on social media and have unfriended on click to canceled things. That's just kind of been there thing they're trying to bring that pathos into the real world ideas that I don't like should not be there to see world and see world is much easier, simpler than the real world because the real world is difficult, real world is very difficult and it always has been, but we've never had the sanctuary that we have today. It's so easy to retreat into video games. You know you don't nobody really dies but you get to be this heroic guy. It is a fantasy world and it it accommodates our needs are slowly molds to our preferences and really doesn't let any other content or or ideas in a way big really becomes castle walls around our minds and there are good things.
Old absolutely talk about that just for a second because we don't want to say this is awful. There's nothing good. One of the good things. Well, I mean just for all giving example from my book I was walking down the street the other day and I with my wife in Alaska and there we walked by. This patch of daisies that my daughter and I would love picking is that as a child, and so we tapped on our phones, we could see that she was at the store far away, so we got on FaceTime. We show to the daisies and we saw her and her grandson.
She lives in Australia could never really were in Alaska she's in Australia yet I knew where she was and I was able to talk to her in real time. You can even do that until 2011.
So it's really done a good job of allowing us to keep in touch with our far-flung loved one.
And really, during the pandemic. It's been a lifelong yeah I couldn't even imagine going through the shutdowns that we did write right. Without these wonderful tools so that the problem is it that we have the tools, the problem is when we drown in the tools when they become our reality. Yeah, yeah, it's interesting you say in the book and you very talked about David that you use these three terms of attributes that are godlike are attributes that are divine and you say digital. The screens sorta give us keys about those.
Those are very interesting to think these are only what God can do. And yet we have some similar powers, we can be omniscient, we can know anything right now if you want to know any fact you can just go to your pocket find in about 15 seconds.
We can be omnipresent, which is really good when you work from Alaska.
I can beam into a zoom meeting in South Africa.
If that's necessary, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent would be the other one.
And although we haven't quite reached omnipotence. We certainly have powers. For example, if my daughter in Australia needs money.
I can just yeah click a couple of buttons I don't have to send a ship full of jewels and gold down there. I can just click a couple of buttons on my computer and within hours she has the money, so we had these powers and presence that we've never had before. And these are wonderful things as long as they don't displace real life. So if I'm a guy that's listening to this and we talked about it earlier that you know maybe I have a problem and I'm guessing I'm among millions of people that have a problem. What are some steps I've gotta get a grip on this. You have written a book and help me I'm drowning.
I think I was drowning, but I'm drowning in screen time I make a decision you know what this is something I don't want to do where do I start.
Number one is always confession the first step of repentance is confession so go to a trusted confidant. If you're married, go to your wife.
Certainly they'll be the first one and asked the question that you mentioned in the previous episode. Is this a problem yeah me and just be honest and don't explode when you have the answer is probably going to be yes, but just confess to someone and then find the help you need in there. And the same technologies that addict us can also liberate us, especially if you have an addiction for pornography. For example, there are some wonderful tools out there a covenant eyes that provide mutual accountability of the early philosophy was filters.
Let's stop work. It's your phone filters don't work, you get around him so covenant eyes has switch to a new philosophy which is mutual accountability. My accountability partner get screenshots random screenshots of my phone. He sees what I'm seeing and so once you have that accountability relationship in place. Your body can help you back off from unhealthy screen content as far as the number of hours of screen content. You deftly want to be checking your weekly screen time report, there are wonderful tools of this one called Forrest which I just love you put on your phone and you say I don't want to get on my phone for two hours and during two hours trees grow on your phone really if you do anything with your phone in the next two hours. The trees will face.it's a nap. Yeah yeah and so one of the nice things to is they take some of the money and they use it for four station projects important article that actually plant real trees. I love the idea. Yeah. So there are lots and lots of tools out there that are willing to help you if you have a mild screen addiction. Now, if it's severe you may need something inpatient treatment. You may need to go to a tech free retreat you made it did need to do a detox weekend.
Yeah, it's interesting that you have set a whole lot about the dark side.
You mention pornography and there's the obviously websites and places you can go and there's tools like covenant eyes. I know years ago when my boys were in high school I had covenant eyes with them to me and again if they went somewhere in their phone. I would get an email and say and so I had it with some of my guys held me accountable that I'll never forget one day one of my sons I get an email he says he looked at nude photos of some celebrity right I see that so I calm up my due what was going on.
You know I like and he had. I don't use lion is like that isn't what happened this night did this thing that wasn't this but it's going to show up like that and so on, and I clicked on what you said he went to and as soon as I did that I like, oh, now mine is going to go to my guy right right and sure enough, John Kidner was my guy was a quarterback on a lion back in the day I just had him play great guys there were great friends.
So he was one of my accountability guys.
Well, sure enough, I got the call from John and you can imagine what he thought John, that wasn't me that was my son he actually didn't do any good.
So now you're like you're throwing your son on the bus because you had a that it was it was all totally innocent. There really wasn't nothing and I've always been perfect or anybody has, but that accountability software was a lifesaver.
Oh Absalom, I mean it is something that if you're struggling you have to get that on there. Do you think it really does work. You know it does.
The pornographers are very smart. They use a man's natural desire to seek out companionship against them again using their our brains against so it's it's definitely a growing problem and I think accountability is probably the best way to deal with it. If you especially to nip it in the bud with young men. Yeah, I think the thing that's discouraging. His parents is if you have teenagers and you feel overwhelmed and I not even be teenagers, but that there is this feeling of my house is out of control and when I'm talking to my kids about it there angry, especially when you're going into video games event.
It's just really hard to get your kids back and talk to so many moms that feel helpless like I don't know what to do and I don't know how to get my family back. How would you encourage them. Well all the screen time is displaced real life. So the best thing to do.
Well, if they're not willing to talk about it and not willing to see their eyes.
Then you have to display screen life with real life, real life activities so this is one of the things Andy Crouch talks about in his book and and some of the other things is if you know if if there on the screens all the time then get them out into soccer or thrown out of the house or one of the best things I say is an implement this early if you can screen free after dinner. Yeah when you come to the table. Then you surrender your devices. Everything turns off the TV turned completely off. No TV noise even mute nothing so there's no screen activity in the house have those family conversations around the dinner table as awkward as they may be to get back into that and then after dinner at screen free no screens in the bedrooms is the other thing. What once you let a kid take screen the bedroom you've lost a lot of territory or on the your back on your own 10 yard line is a football metaphor yeah so yeah you deftly want to get it early and set these boundaries at these expectations assumes you can.
One of the most difficult situations. As we have a joint custody situation when one parent is very lenient among screens and the other ones very tough boy that is a really really difficult one. You've got to try to get on the same page as your ex and then with little kids.
I just read a study that said, our kids should not have any screen time before the age of two and it's just an easy babysitter.
You know, with infants, especially if you're on the plane when you encourage with that. Yet the American Academy of pediatrics recommends no screen time for 18 months and then at that point you could give them a little bit of screen time as long as you're with them. Okay you really want to park them in front of the screens. If you can avoid it till about age 3 and that of course it should be age-appropriate content just to kind of screen time.
This interactive screen time of the passive screen time one riles the brain up more than the other. That's the interactive passive screen time is just where just sitting there watching TV or video chatting. You're not really changing what's on the screen it does less to stimulate the brain that's healthier for kids than interactive screen time, which is like handing them a tablet coming out that because there changing and manipulating what's going on the screen educational even if it's educational, there's still the brain is still operating at a higher level. It's like the difference between going to an art gallery and making a painting passive screen time was I going to an art gallery or discipline. Looking at the lovely paintings you're making a painting. Your brain works a lot harder. So especially before bed and probably be hard to wind down after interest. You have very, very difficult with interactive screen time and then the danger there is if you handing your kid a tablet to pacify them. Yeah, you're teaching them to go to a screen when their emotions are high, soothe themselves with screens that is like the exact opposite of what you want to do what I see kids in the mall with her parents phones or tablet or something it just it frightens me because you know they they are teaching them to go to screens instead of regulating the motions themselves all think about if your withdraw our interrelationship in conflict arises even trained as a child to pacify your emotions by your screen.
So then, as an adult.
If your difficult conversation in a fight, you're automatically and want to go to your screen to pacify these emotions write you in your liver deal with the underlying issue right so yeah I've heard parents say you know my kids with the screens there like Gollum, my profession, but then I guy I expanded on that analogy in the book you know your your screens are like your golden ring of power. If you have a kid who's crying or whatever you can give them this ring and you can make them invisible here just like you know the race but they become visible to advertisers who want their money. Extremists who want their mind and predators who want their body 070. I think the analogy is it's a chilling one, so you deftly will don't want to turn your kids into Gollum. Yet, as you know, you hear that, but as a parent with young kids I know is we been there.
You're just exhausted then you're like this is just so much easier.
It's, you know, for the next 30 minutes or an hour only to hand him in cartoon they can watch.
And yet it's not the right call.
Is it can be in limited amounts of it all depends on whether this is your go to yeah you know, of course, there's going to be times and the nice thing that's come along in our days streaming media so the advertisers are cut out of the equation and there is good quality content for young kids on both secular and Christian channels of your careful almost the Christian stuff is great and you know even on Netflix. You can even be very selective about what you sure your kids and there are some good to teach good wholesome morals and stuff like that is not all assessable but yeah we. If you're just very careful discerning about what you show, you can park them on occasion. As long as is not your go to and that will give them plenty of other analog toys to play with Rome on the yard and let them limply kids. I know I'm thinking of what are healthy alternatives because our kids are. Can he kick and scream and be mad if we kind of lay down the law okay after dinner were done with Jane's and that will probably be hard for a little bit but then they get into the habit that I think it makes us this parents have to really be involved. I'm thinking about.
I think after dinner when our kids very little. Some of our favorite time during the summer because we be outside and we be playing and we would be there to do and just thinking of all the slip and sides in hockey games and lever putting tents up and forts in the woods and sell good for our brains for our bodies, fry relationships, what about family reading means reading together as a family of those are some of my kids that I could still talk about that that was their favorite time here they were squarely in the worm and they laid back out, but they were listening yeah, and they were absorbing the values we taught them no good values in the books that we read him what age would you advise given a son or daughter a phone and tablet units hard when it depends on the individual. I've heard none before 13 or 14, their products. I'm not shilling for anybody, but I know there's a company out there called Gab wireless that'll do a lockdown smart phone. It only text to the parents. It's at phone all the things that were kids can get in trouble are off the phone, but it looks like an iPhone so the kids still have the social capital but they don't have the possibility being contacted by a creditor to get alternate yeah the other products out there. All I know is you know as we talk today there is good and there's a lot of really good that comes from screens sure it's amazing technology in our world and yet just like anything else, there is the dark side and it isn't just the porn or the predators. It's the dark side of polling families apart the number of hours yeah is Ms. we displace those moments that are so precious that we can't get back and you know it's it's easier to look at a phone that it is to put up a tent in the yard like you were say yeah but boy what you can remember one of the kids can remember there can remember that tent going down on their heads and laughed and those moments are irreplaceable and so as as followers of Jesus we need to focus on those things that are important and are of eternal value and not the things that are fleeting and interesting in the moment and I'm recalling just all the nights that we spent on the far kids went to bed just laying in the room, reading the Bible reading books like novels that were so good and they do remember those times of reading and even asking them questions at night before they went to bed those days are irreplaceable and I was thinking would not be good just to implement that rule of hay at dinnertime and beyond.
There's no screen time. It really could change our families. I think you get you to the 50 yard line really a man to continue our football going the football know it's really that's it. People say what's one thing I can do and I'd say the number one thing you do is you collect the screens at dinnertime. No screens in the bedroom and every screen is shut off. The one exception would be if you want to have a family movie night yeah but the doing of them together you make popcorn right here watch a fun movie and that's great. That's a good use of screen time, but other than that you really want to avoid that being alone together problem where everyone's on their individual screen and I'm telling you to build more resilient kids. The more you put them into the real world, the more they they suffer the disappointment of losing their soccer match for the tent. The falls down, or the bee sting they get, you know, I mean, they're perfectly physically safe in the house but the young people today are so non-resilient because they have been protected/inside of our homes by a screen down if you put the screen down.
You can create a memory.
That's what I'm thinking Dave and recalling all of our kids said we've asked them now that their adults what are the best memories that you have growing up in one of them said and I've shared this before but he said when you guys pray for us every night before we go to bed all together in the same room like that is stuck with me and none of them said that we are on our screens together. No one said a high score in my videogame. My best.
No that's not it, because God made us for relationship think all of us know that there's a difference between digital life and real life. There's a difference between a digital relationship and a real relationship. There is a difference between a Facebook friend and a real friend and we want to be in pursuit of what is real.
That's at the heart of what David and Wilson have been talking with David Murrell about David has written a book called grounding in screen time that helps all of us understand how were being impacted as parents as teenagers singles all of us are being affected by the omnipresence of a screen in our life. We are making David's book available this week to any family like today listener who can help advance the ministry of family life through donation when you support this ministry help us expand the reach of family life so that more people are being impacted by the kind of practical biblical help and hope they hear on family life to the resources they find on our website. The events that were able to host you make all of this possible.
When you support the ministry of family life to the and were grateful for your financial support. In fact, would love to express our gratitude today when you make a donation by sending you a copy of David Morrow's book called grounding in screen time, be sure to ask for it when you donate, you can donate firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call one 800 FL today to make a donation again. David's book is called grounding in screen time request your copy when you donate email@example.com or call 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today. You know all of us interact with our screens differently and tomorrow.
David and Wilson to talk with David Murrell about the different ways different people respond and the dangers associated with each of those different kinds of responses. I hope you can be back with us for that tomorrow on behalf of our host statement and Wilson on Bob Lapine see you back next time for another edition of family life like today is a production of family accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most