Think back over your life in the past three months. What were your most meaningful moments?
With the possible exception of a Skype or Face Time call with a far-away loved one, I’m guessing those moments weren’t in front of a screen.
And yet, as Americans we’re spending more and more time plugged into electronic media. So are our kids.
What are we looking for? Our eyes peer intently at screens as though looking through a window to another world where whatever it is can be found.
- Pictures of smiling loved ones.
- Articles that make us think or point us to Jesus.
- A message from a friend.
- Something that makes us laugh.
- Likes, shares, and comments.
- Answers to any question.
- And endless scenes that thrill or titillate.
These are just glimpses. What we’re really looking for, I’m convinced, is something to satisfy our deepest longings. And if we’re bringing our search to our screens, we’re searching in the wrong place.
Because we’re not digital. We’re real. Our kids are real.
A virtual world cannot satisfy the hunger of a real soul.
This Saturday, Regeneration presents our third [PG] Parental Guidance Needed conference for parents who want to get out in front of the challenges their kids are or will be facing in this digital age. [PG] isn’t about unplugging. It’s about giving our kids a bigger Story to plug into. And it’s about learning to live that story well in the world we live in.
If you resonate with what I’ve written, I want to challenge you to take a simple step: Sometime in the next week, take a Sabbath from all things digital. For a day or half a day or even an hour. Notice how you feel as you do. And notice how you feel when you’re through.
And if you’re a parent or if you have a heart for kids, I hope you’ll join us in Hunt Valley on Saturday.
Question: What do you think? Can our real needs and desires be satisfied in a digital landscape? Why or why not? Leave a comment below.
Good morning, Josh! Thanks for your article! This definitely resonates with the activities which I participate in and observe on a daily basis. I wonder often how my kids are finding and how they are feeling as they constantly text, look at social media, and watch videos? I wonder how I feel as I am often guilty of texting and FB addiction myself? Most of the time, I know what my 13, 18 and 20 year olds are watching and who they are communicating with but, it seems they are almost never “un-stimulated”!
As a kid, I remember my mom handing me a tablet and telling me to “go draw”, or my guitar and telling me to “go play”. I remember countless games of tackle football, Frisbee, flashlight tag, bike rides, sledding and black-bottomed feet from barefoot runs through the streets. These activities encourage our God-given creativity, need for community and freedom. We had to make up our own games, play by ourselves until our friends got home, write a poem, listen to music or just ” think” on long car rides watching the scenery.
A sense of wonder and individual experience are two major areas that are compromised by digitalization. These areas are crucial to our relationship with God. It seems as if we all have heard the same joke, recipe or video clip, which recycles the same idea and stifles the individuals’ ability to create, experience and express new things for themselves.
When digitalization does allow us to “connect” with others, we have a level of communication with those far away or hard to reach like never before. This can lead to new/restored personal relationships, the ability to meet and date people who can become good mates, and learn information including on line Bible studies, prayer needs and growth in Christ.
Do these digital methods meet our real needs? I don’t think so. These may supplement a peripheral need for community, information and entertainment, but they will never satisfy the needs and desires of our souls. Our heart level needs cannot be satiated through passively gazing at the window of our computers, but by intentionally opening our doors to Jesus. He leads us out of the sheltering of our own devices (pun intended) and invites us out to explore His kingdom on earth.