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davidstarcher

Are negative effects of screen time on children a myth?

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davidstarcher

I read this NY Times article:

 

WWW.NYTIMES.COM

A growing number of academics are challenging assumptions about the negative effects of social media and smartphones on children.

 

A few of the more important quotes from the article:

 

"They are, however, challenging the widespread belief that screens are responsible for broad societal problems like the rising rates of anxiety and sleep deprivation among teenagers. In most cases, they say, the phone is just a mirror that reveals the problems a child would have even without the phone."

 

"Mr. Hancock’s analysis of about 226 studies on the well-being of phone users concluded that “when you look at all these different kinds of well-being, the net effect size is essentially zero.”

 

"It could, researchers argue, just as easily be that the rise in depression led teenagers to excessive phone use at a time when there were many other potential explanations for depression and anxiety. What’s more, anxiety and suicide rates appear not to have risen in large parts of Europe, where phones have also become more prevalent.“Why else might American kids be anxious other than telephones?” Mr. Hancock said. “How about climate change? How about income inequality? How about more student debt? There are so many big giant structural issues that have a huge impact on us but are invisible and that we aren’t looking at.”

 

Computer usage is now an intrical part of the public school system(at least where I live). In elementary school all the children are using chromebooks in second grade and up  and by 5th grade they are using it more often than not in the classroom. In middle school they use it in every class and are required to take their chromebooks home because they need it to do their homework. Despite this literature is routinely given by the schools and professionals in health care which keep saying how important it is to limit screen time to two hours a day. The message is schizophrenic to say the least.

 

As the old adage says correlation does not imply causation.  My own take has long been that the problems of increased depression, anxiety, and suicide are due to the widespread adaptation of a worldview that makes life meaningless. It's merely coincidental that it has increased during a time of great technological advancements in communication. It is ultimately a spiritual problem not a technological one. 

 

I am interested to hear other peoples thoughts on the subject though I expect most people would disagree with me on this.

 

 

Edited by davidstarcher
clarification

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seashore

I think it's mostly the problems of children being raised outside of a loving home with godly guidance. Screen time is okay,I think, within boundaries.

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atpollard

Exposure to light in the Blue wavelengths impacts melatonin and circadian rhythems ... both of which definitely impact sleep ... and TV, energy efficient lights and electronics are all high sources of light in the blue spectrum.

 

Blue light has a dark side - Harvard Medical School

Q&A: Why Is Blue Light before Bedtime Bad for Sleep? - Scientific American

 

With respect to socialization and suicide rates ... we have bigger issues going on in society than "cell phones".

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Chaplain Carter

As has been the unfortunate predisposition, people (researchers in this subject) tend to look away from the root issue to find a gremlin in the machinery.

 

As seen in the debates over private gun ownership, the central theme of evil is never directed toward focusing on the heart of the problem; the hearts of men. So instead of addressing evil, we re-direct and brand a tool as evil. And is seemingly always the case, the direction of all energy and effort are expended to shape and craft a gremlin out of whole cloth, so that it can be crucified in our place.

 

Scripture tends to push the "all things in moderation" view - that too much of one thing in place of a balance of others can and will be harmful. There is no substitute for parents being involved in the lives of their children - each child as with each relationship, will be different. It's not the tool - its the fallen nature that practices evil.

 

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becauseofgrace

I would say that in my opinion, screen time definitely can have negative effects...especially on children. I remember when I was young, our family did not have a computer, T.V., or even a VCR machine, until I was about 7 years old, when we got our first computer. It was still very limited in use, though, so we children really did not use it much. I remember because of that, my brothers and sisters and I used our time very creatively - and had so much fun playing together amd using our imagination to pretend we were going on exciting adventures together...well some of them were very real adventures that we got ourselves into. 🙂 My mom used to babysit other children occasionally, and I remember them looking shocked when we said we didn't have a television..."What do you DO all day??" They would ask. 🙂 We never even thought twice about it - and look back on many wonderful memories during that time. 🙂

 

Later, though, my family did get better computers...and a VCR machine (I know, it's really outdated now...) where we could watch videos and play games. Things changed. My youngest brothers who didn't remember what it was like without computers, began spending hours on it...and found all of the things we used to do outdoors and playing together to be "boring". I found even myself losing an interest in things I once had enjoyed, (these were not things I simply outgrew) - because it is SO easy to sit there and be "entertained" by films or animated games instead of actively engaging your mind and hands in real activities!

 

Years later...the Lord began convicting me that spending so much time on the computer or watching movies, can definitely be a negative thing that is displeasing Him, and even stealing away our joy and desire to spend time in His Word. So many films and games are nothing more than vanity....profitless both spiritually and practically. The psalmist said "I hate vain thoughts, but Thy law do I love." 

 

 

Once He brought me to see that, I began cutting out many of the things I used to watch, and after awhile I noticed a definite increase in the clearness of my mind, and once again enjoying simple things that kept me busy using my hands to work, and finding greater enjoyment in reading God's Word. 

 

I do not believe that all use of computers is bad...of course. 🙂 But I believe it is healthy to limit it prayerfully and wisely, especially with children who are still in their very formative years! Children soak up and learn so much from what they watch!

 

It is true that the computers, phones, etc. in themselves are not inherently sinful, of course. But we do have a sinful nature that can easily be drawn into things that are a temptation, and we are told to "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." 

We are also commanded to "Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands..." Laziness of mind rather than working with our hands, is often promoted by spending unlimited hours in front of a screen. I still struggle with limiting it at as much as I should at times. 

 

Anyway, this is much longer than I intended to write, and that is just some of my personal experience and thoughts on it. 🙂

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davidstarcher
5 hours ago, becauseofgrace said:

I would say that in my opinion, screen time definitely can have negative effects...especially on children. I remember when I was young, our family did not have a computer, T.V., or even a VCR machine, until I was about 7 years old, when we got our first computer. It was still very limited in use, though, so we children really did not use it much. I remember because of that, my brothers and sisters and I used our time very creatively - and had so much fun playing together amd using our imagination to pretend we were going on exciting adventures together...well some of them were very real adventures that we got ourselves into. 🙂 My mom used to babysit other children occasionally, and I remember them looking shocked when we said we didn't have a television..."What do you DO all day??" They would ask. 🙂 We never even thought twice about it - and look back on many wonderful memories during that time. 🙂

 

🙂

 I actually grew up without a TV as well and when my mother did get a VCR it was a special one which couldn't receive TV broadcasts.  Most of the time we watched videos from the library and she was very selective about what she would allow. I ended up watching a lot of BBC shakespeare videos and documentaries. People always thought we were strange not having a TV and being clueless about much of the popular entertainment of the day.

 

I did however have a computer but it was quite different back then as it required a lot more skill and intelligence. Until I was in my teens there was no GUI on the computers I used so you had to actually type out commands and we couldn't afford to buy games so I would  use BASIC to program them either from books and magazines or by creating my own. Youtube and flashy websites didn't exist. I remember spending lots of time outdoors walking around town and in the forest on my own from a very young age. You can't do that anymore though or you risk getting in trouble with CPS. I had no friends growing up; my sole playmates were my sisters and as they grew up and made friends I became reclusive and just buried myself in books and computers.

 

I figure computers are a tool and like any tool they can be misused. For better or for worse they have become an integrated part of our society, employment, and educational system.

 

I've given up watching movies for the most part; I don't have the time and honestly I find more enjoyment binge listening to a series on Sermonaudio.com then binge watching a TV series or a youtube channel. If I do sit down to watch a video it's usually nonfiction. 

 

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SpurgeonsSusannah

I agree that too much electronics whether television, cell phones/tablets etc do pose multiple hazards both physical and emotional i.e. studies of mental overstimulation and risks of spectrum disorders, as well as physical inactivity. But my larger concern in the spiritual ramifications.  The Bible specifically warns about guarding the worldly influences. (Matthew 15:11 ) speaks that its not what is inside that corrupts but what you take in. We are also warned to guard our hearts.  (Prov 4:23) In order to do this we must guard against what we allow to come across our eyes and ears. Also the issue of desensitization.  Violence and foul language and all sorts of liberal humanistic attitudes, sexual suggestiveness which gives way to sin.  All these are not profitable or becoming a child of God. 

The apostle Paul said in Phil 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you”.

We are to be an image bearer of Christ in this world. Personally I believe a child is far better off reading and learning to grow God given talents such as music or writing than spending hours on electronics or gaming.  I do not plan to have these items in my home.

Ephesians 2:10, 2 Tim 2:15

 

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davidstarcher
22 minutes ago, SpurgeonsSusannah said:

. (Matthew 15:11 ) speaks that its not what is inside that corrupts but what you take in.

"It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man." Matt 15:11

This is a warning about our speech not what we hear.

 

22 minutes ago, SpurgeonsSusannah said:

We are also warned to guard our hearts.  (Prov 4:23) In order to do this we must guard against what we allow to come across our eyes and ears.

Prov 4 gives us the instructions for guarding our heart: Knowing God's law and following it and do not following wicked men in their wickedness. 

 

22 minutes ago, SpurgeonsSusannah said:

Also the issue of desensitization.  Violence and foul language and all sorts of liberal humanistic attitudes, sexual suggestiveness which gives way to sin.  All these are not profitable or becoming a child of God. 

The apostle Paul said in Phil 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you”.

We are to be an image bearer of Christ in this world. Personally I believe a child is far better off reading and learning to grow God given talents such as music or writing than spending hours on electronics or gaming.  I do not plan to have these items in my home.

Ephesians 2:10, 2 Tim 2:15

 

Yes there is room for discernment and not to unnecessarily place yourself or your children in a place of temptation but children will eventually come across the world and it's ungodly influences it's just a question of when and if they will do so in a sanctified atmosphere where it can be understood and processed from a biblical worldview or if they will learn it for the first time at college, work, or from their friends when they are away from Godley influences to help guide them through it. I have seen it happen to many kids who were homeschooled and their parents "protected" them from ungodly influences and then they left home and learned that sin was enjoyable and they had no answers to the objections to their faith because they had never been exposed to it. Separation from the world in that sense  isn't the answer and ultimately does more harm than good.

 

"I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES." 1 Cor 5:9-13

 

What makes music & writing a God given talent but not electronics or gaming? Do these not require talent and does not all telent come from God?

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SpurgeonsSusannah

Hello David, I did not realize this was a debate, merely thought it was a platform to share personal thoughts and convictions.

 I am not judging electronics or gaming at all. I just do not find value in them myself. 

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becauseofgrace

@SpurgeonsSusannah It seems a lot of the questions on here turn into debates, whether intentional or not. 😊  I appreciate your thoughts on the desensitization by all the evil things that are often on films, video games, etc. I agree that is very true...I have seen it firsthand too often.   We are responsible before the Lord to guard what we put before our eyes. "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes."  Psalm 103:1

 

@davidstarcher - 

35 minutes ago, davidstarcher said:

"It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man." Matt 15:11

This is a warning about our speech not what we hear.

The entire verses in KJV says this:

 

Matthew 15:18   But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

  Matthew 15:19   For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

  Matthew 15:20   These are the things which defile a man:...

 

It is dealing with the heart. Not just the mouth. What we view with our eyes goes into our mind/thoughts, and heart. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." 

 

 Psalms 119:37   "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way." If the Psalmist prayed this...it is a good prayer for each child of God. I do not claim to be perfect any more than others...but holiness of heart and desires should be what we strive for by God's grace. 

 

That's probably about all I have to say...I think SpurgeonsSusannah and I both were just answering your original question about negative effects of screentime, and sharing our convictions. 🙂

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davidstarcher
58 minutes ago, becauseofgrace said:

@SpurgeonsSusannah It seems a lot of the questions on here turn into debates, whether intentional or not. 😊  I appreciate your thoughts on the desensitization by all the evil things that are often on films, video games, etc. I agree that is very true...I have seen it firsthand too often.   We are responsible before the Lord to guard what we put before our eyes. "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes."  Psalm 103:1

 

@davidstarcher - 

The entire verses in KJV says this:

 

Matthew 15:18   But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

  Matthew 15:19   For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

  Matthew 15:20   These are the things which defile a man:...

 

It is dealing with the heart. Not just the mouth. What we view with our eyes goes into our mind/thoughts, and heart. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." 

 

 Psalms 119:37   "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way." If the Psalmist prayed this...it is a good prayer for each child of God. I do not claim to be perfect any more than others...but holiness of heart and desires should be what we strive for by God's grace. 

 

That's probably about all I have to say...I think SpurgeonsSusannah and I both were just answering your original question about negative effects of screentime, and sharing our convictions. 🙂

If you make an argument you can and should expect a response. I agree that we need discernment in what we watch and listen to however as is stated in those verses the real problem isn't the world we live in but our heart. That is why regeneration and sanctification is necessary. Isolating ourselves or our children from the world isn't the answer.

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becauseofgrace

I'm sorry, didn't mean we shouldn't get a response. I was just commenting back to @SpurgeonsSusannah, since she was expecting to just post her thoughts and not wanting to debate with anyone else's opinion...and I had in mind the post I made that turned into quite a lengthy discussion that I didn't expect. :

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SpurgeonsSusannah

@becauseofgrace 💗 thank you for your kindness. 

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becauseofgrace
1 hour ago, SpurgeonsSusannah said:

@becauseofgrace 💗 thank you for your kindness. 

You are welcome! 🙂

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