Dear Christian Parent/Grandparent, any adult with authority and control over the younger generation,
We’ve got to face the facts, this generation just plain thinks different. Mental health problems have exploded and medications are being prescribed at unprecedented rates.
It’s also true that individuals on these medications have perpetrated many of the horrendous acts of violence that have occurred, including the Las Vegas shooter! Honestly, I don’t know what to think about all of it.
First of all, I understand that chemical imbalances are real, there’s no doubt about it. Secondly, there’s no doubt that these conditions are having a major impact on many peoples lives. And not just the ones with the physical problems, it’s also impacting their families and those around them.
My question is what’s causing all of this? Are all of these behavioral issues due to chemical imbalances which are caused because we’re breaking down due to sin? Or, could it be that the way that we’re living lives that is having a very detrimental impact on us? I personally believe it’s a combination of both and lean more towards the belief that we’re living lives that are destroying us!
I’m currently reading a book by Dr. Jean M. Twenge entitled “iGen”. (That’s the short title, the subtitle contains almost 20 more words. If you look it up under iGen and her name you can’t miss it.) The information in there confirms so many things that I’ve seen first hand in ministry over the last few years.
Because the information is so powerful I’m using snippets from this publication in my talk entitled, “Whose “Voice” Are We Listening To?”.
Dr. Twenge is a Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and has authored over 130 articles in scientific publications. I say this so people can’t claim that this is just some fundamentalist trying to scare people away from TV or technology. She’s dealing with this issue on an almost daily basis in her very secular university.
Her findings will send chills up the spine of anyone with a child, grandchild or young person that they care for. As a minimum, I’d encourage you to read an article in Atlantic Magazine entitled, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”, which is basically an excerpt from the book.
Here are just a few things that the latest research shows:
1. Teens who spend more time on screen activities are more likely to be
unhappy, and those who spend more time on non-screen activities are more
likely to be happy. “There’s not a single exception:”
a. “8TH graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media
are 56% more likely to be unhappy than those who don’t. 6 hours a
week, 47% more likely to be unhappy.”
b. Those who spend more time with their friends in person are 20%
less likely to be unhappy.
c. The more time teens AND adults spent on Facebook, the unhappier
they felt, but, after interacting in person with friends, their mental
health and life satisfaction improved.
2. Teens who spend more time on screens are more likely to be depressed.
a. Research shows that 3 hours of screen time a day increases the
chance that a teenager will be at risk for committing suicide.
b. The risks for teen suicide begins to increase with screen time of 2
hours or mare a day.
Suicide is now the number 2 killer of young girls in America. Which, by the way, is supposedly the MOST “Christian” nation on the planet! How can this be?
One of the main reasons for suicide is anxiety and depression. The number one source for increasing anxiety and depression is . . . smart phones and screen time.
The bottom line is that, “YES!” Smart devices have/are destroying a generation. The problem is that we adults are putting the very tool that’s doing the damage into their hands. AND, most of the time we’re not putting restrictions on the usage of such devices or enforcing the ones that we do place on them.
Let’s be honest, almost every one of us can be sucked into allowing these devices to play a larger role in our lives than they should. I know I struggle with putting the phone away when sitting with my wife and grandchildren. There’s a huge temptation to just “keep on top of everything” and make sure no one’s trying to get in touch.
Kristen Welch in her book, “Raising Grateful Kids in a an Entitled World” said this,
“I’ve certainly succumbed to unhappiness after a hop into Facebook, so I get it.
I’m a middle-aged woman who feels the pressure, and considering that kids are
more impressionable and naive than adults is exactly why we need to be careful
I have succumbed as well, so I’m writing this today as a call not only to you, but to me to make sure our priorities are in the proper place.
Yes, there is an attraction to this world. But, God reminds us that while we may be in this world, we’re different. John 17:13-19 is a reminder that while we’re here physically, if we’re to have true joy we have to know who we are before God. And according to God’s Word, that source of true joy, we’re told who we truly are. We are:
1. A child of God almighty. (1 John 3:1)
2. God’s “masterpiece”! (Ephesians 2:10)
3. Pilgrims! This world is NOT our home, we’re just passing through.
(Hebrews 13:14-16, 1 Peter 2:11)
Don’t trade the eternal peace and security that we have in Christ for a temporary “peace offering” that these devices may offer.
Yes, I guarantee your children will be upset when you get involved in their game/TV/smart phone/social media time! I told you before of the dear lady who shared how every time they try to take away their 8 year old son’s iPad it leads to a physical altercation.
Think about it, if you don’t start dealing with it when they’re 8, how in the world do you think you’ll be able to deal with it when they’re in their teens and physically much stronger?
Parent, as a minimum please start teaching your children to how to critically evaluate what they’re watching. But, don’t let that be an excuse to remove yourself from the parenting equation. “Oh, my children and I watch “The Walking Dead” for research purposes!” NO! There are things that should not be allowed in our homes! Evil is one of them and many shows today are just plain evil.
I’m not saying that anything goes, far from it. (Please consider taking Juan’s Academy of Hope* class, “How to Think, Not What to Think!” with your children. As a matter of fact we believe in this so strongly that if you contact me I’ll give you a $20.00 discount for the audit class. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work with you!)
If it takes having to restrict or remove items from your child in order to change the quality of their life in the long run, be the parent and do the right thing.
Let me give you one quote from the “iGen” book that really struck me:
“If you were going to give advice for a happy life based on this graph, it would
be straightforward: put down the phone, turn off the computer or iPad, and do
something-anything- that does not involve a screen.”
Please hear me clearly, this is not an attack, this is an encouragement! With everything that I have, please let me challenge you to get engaged with you children. You have them for such a brief time. Please do NOT allow anything to have a bigger impact on your child’s life than you or God’s Word. Be involved and . . .
P.S. – Let me leave you with just a few more words for God to encourage you in your
journey as the adult!
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor
standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth
his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth