Important article out today from Newsweek.
I'm one of those who have thought most of the negative views about the web are overwrought, as one simply must maintain balance and moderation with this in the same way one must with everything else out there. It seems we've discovered that far more people are easily addicted and overcome than I would ahve thought. Where are the basic skills for human living? Why isn't the essence of human wisdom better known and applied? Whence the virtues?
Here's a somewhat alarming paragraph, and further argument for why I would not give my adolescents (if I currently had any) a mobile phone:
This evaporation of the genuine self also occurred among the high-school- and college-age kids she interviewed. They were struggling with digital identities at an age when actual identity is in flux. “What I learned in high school,” a kid named Stan told Turkle, “was profiles, profiles, profiles; how to make a me.” It’s a nerve-racking learning curve, a life lived entirely in public with the webcam on, every mistake recorded and shared, mocked until something more mockable comes along. “How long do I have to do this?” another teen sighed, as he prepared to reply to 100 new messages on his phone.
Folks, find a church or some other social group where your kids can interact physically with other people doing things like service projects and mission trips that disconnect them from the digital world. Is this really difficult advice that people aren't aware of?
The author concludes:
So what do we do about it? Some would say nothing, since even the best research is tangled in the timeless conundrum of what comes first. Does the medium break normal people with its unrelenting presence, endless distractions, and threat of public ridicule for missteps? Or does it attract broken souls?
But in a way, it doesn’t matter whether our digital intensity is causing mental illness, or simply encouraging it along, as long as people are suffering.
I feel like First Central has addressed these issues. We've repeatedly had classes -- for youth, adults, parents -- on internet safety and other issues. And I've recently preached an entire series on digital technologies, including the ethical concerns but also how it positively connects to spirituality and community.