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In this episode, we continue the conversation about digital technology themes found in the book “The Digital Invasion” by Dr. Archibald Hart and Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd. Specifically, we’re going to look at how the digital invasion has reduced our capacity to live a “real life” and has robbed us of true meaning, pleasure, and fulfillment.

DID YOU KNOW

Here are a few stats from a chart Dr. Hart has compiled and called the Digital Invasion Chart.

  • In 2000, the average person spent 2.7 hours per week online.
  • In 2013, that number jumped to more than 30 hours per week online.
  • In 2000, there were 100 million daily Google searches.
  • In 2013, that number jumped to more than 4.7 billion daily Google searches.
  • In 2000, 14 billion text messages were sent daily.
  • In 2013, more than 188 million text messages were sent daily.

 

WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT

Borrowing a page from John Piper’s book, “Don’t Waste Your Life,” what would it look like if we said, “Don’t Waste Your Life on a Virtual Life”?

Dr. Frejd wrote: “Don’t let your virtual life rob you of your real life.” Dr. John shares his thoughts and also answers: What are some signs that someone is overusing technology and letting their virtual life rob them of a real life?

A few questions from the Digital Use Assessment Quiz:

  • Do you have the urge to text and drive?
  • Do you feel the need to use your smartphone while in the middle of a face-to-face conversation?
  • Do you feel an overwhelming urge to constantly post on Facebook and other social media?
  • When your family is gathered together, is more time spent on digital devices than in conversation with each other?
  • Do you ever lie about your phone or Internet usage?
  • Do you feel anxious if you are offline and cannot connect?
  • Does it feel as if you could get more work done if you weren’t distracted by your phone?

What’s the overuse of technology doing to the pleasure center in our brain? In simple terms, we’re deriving less pleasure from life. Dr. John talks about specific negative impacts that overuse of technology is having, such as poor sleeping patterns, social disconnection, and mental health issues: “Children using devices for more than 2 hours per day have an increased risk of depression, and that risk rises as screen time increases.”

What if a parent suspects their teen already has been negatively impacted by the overuse of technology or what if that parent themselves has been overusing technology? Dr. John says parents must be role models in using digital technology.

How can parents or individuals establish digital boundaries? Dr. John offers 4 questions that parents should ask.

Dr. John says the overuse or misuse of technology can effect a person’s manners: “It’s called absent presence.” Basically, that means a person is physically present but otherwise disengaged. “Wherever we are, we should be present.” A motto that the authors use is this: Be Where Your Butt Is.

6 rules of netiquette behavior:

  • Try to be polite and respectful at all times.
  • Spellcheck and proofread to avoid embarrassing errors.
  • Don’t do or say things online that you wouldn’t do or say in real life.
  • Tell the truth in your profiles; be honest about who you are.
  • Don’t respond in anger or lash out; think about how you should respond before you actually press send.
  • Use discretion when sharing personal information online.

Dr. John wraps up the conversation with one more suggestion from Dr. Hart and Dr. Frejd… the Digital Fast Challenge. Take a 24-hour digital fast and completely unplug from your technology.

CALL TO ACTION

The Apostle Paul wrote, “So be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good.  Don’t act thoughtlessly but try to find out and do whatever the Lord wants you to do” (Ephesians 5:15-17 TLB). His words apply to intentional living in the digital world.

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