The other day I took my kids sledding with a handful of friends. We had an epic snowball fight. It was truly blissful, just to watch these kids run until their cheeks flushed as pink as apples, and listen to their laughter rise up to the clouds. These are the moments we’ll remember: the moments that combine friends, fellowship, nature, and being completely immersed in the moment.
I am watching more and more kids opt for screens over friends these days, over playing outside, over socializing face-to-face. My son is five years old. He has phones, iPads, video games, a Leapfrog, laptops and televisions at his disposal at almost any given time. It’s scary to think how plugged-in his life could be. And that is not the life I want for him. I don’t want him to be plugged-in.
I think, what a lot of people still don’t comprehend, or deny, is that screen time, no matter how beneficial, social, or educational it is, is highly ADDICTIVE. It stimulates chemicals in ours brains. It can actually change our brain composition. There is a reason why rehab is offered to gaming addicts. Kids play games, watch TV, and message each other and it stimulates the same parts of their brains as pulling a slot machine. They don’t know how to turn it off–they don’t want to turn it off, because they like the sensation. You can’t blame them. It’s entertaining.
It’s up to us to moderate their use (and our own use) of these technologies. Let’s get some dialogue going about this very serious movement in our lifestyle and culture. Let’s moderate our use of technology before it’s too late. Let’s get unplugged so we can connect.
(P.S., yes this is my inner Justin speaking out–he will always be in the back of my mind)