Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Media Marriage

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:3 (NKJV)


Jeffrey Dew[i] is an Associate Professor at Utah State University says that the more husbands use social media, the worse both they and their wives feel about their marriage.  The changes in electronic mass media over the past 25 years have been truly amazing.  And because media has become much more interactive and personalized it increases the potential to connect individuals and families more easily and rapidly than ever before.

Drew and his colleague Sarah Tulane conducted a study of more than 1300 married couples that investigated how spouses’ use of television, video games, and social networking websites were associated with their reports of marital quality.  They found that the more husbands used social media websites, the worse both they and their wives felt about their marriage.  To be more specific, women whose husbands spent more time on social media reported lower levels of marital happiness.  At the same time, the more husbands used social networking websites, the more conflict and the higher the level of perceived divorce likelihood reported by both wives and husbands.

One of the questions the researchers had to ask is why husbands’ use of social networking websites is related to their reports of marital quality, but wives’ use is not?  Dew and Tulane believe that it has to do with gendered social norms.  Since research suggests that women use communication to build their relationships more than men do, social media might simply be another way women communicate and connect with others.  Playing video games was only a problem when spouses differed in the amount of time they spent on it.

Finally, when it came to watching television, wives reported being less happy in their marriage the more husbands reported watching television.  This may be a reason why excessive sports watching creates so much conflict in some marriage.

One thing is for sure, as technology continues to evolve, its relationship to couples’ relationship quality will, too.


Father, may we not allow anything, technology or people, interfere with our relationship in a negative way.

[i] http://family-studies.org/does-media-use-matter-for-marital-quality/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=32b7a47f24-Newsletter_103&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-32b7a47f24-104541745

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For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 2 Corinthians 5:13 (NKJV)

Since media or screen addiction is becoming a serious issue with children around the world, the recommendation coming from the experts is that older children and teenagers should spend no more than one or two hours a day with entertainment media, preferably with high-quality content, and spend more free time playing outdoors, reading, doing hobbies, interacting with other people, and using their imaginations in free play.

We don’t need to recite all the well-documented findings about the effect of screen time on children behaviors.  We do wish to mention a couple of the most recent ones.  Jane Brody, of The New York Times,[i] writes that “teenagers who spend a lot of time playing violent video games or watching violent shows on television have been found to be more aggressive and more likely to fight with their peers and argue with their teachers.”

At the same time, she adds, “Schoolwork can suffer when media time infringes on reading and studying. And the sedentary nature of most electronic involvement — along with televised ads for high-calorie fare — can foster the unhealthy weights already epidemic among the nation’s youth.”

Children who are heavy users of electronics may become adept at multitasking, but they can lose the ability to focus on what is most important, which is a critical trait to the deep thought and problem solving needed for many jobs and other endeavors later in life.

Kids who play games on their phones on the way to school will be quiet, but what kids really need is time to communicate with others, to daydream, deal with anxieties, process their thoughts and share them with others. Technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction.  And now texting has replaced face-to-face communication often leading to loneliness and in depression.  Children can also develop pain in their fingers and wrists, narrowed blood vessels in their eyes, and neck and back pain from being slumped over their devices.

Father God, help me to guide my children to a healthier use of modern technology so that it does not cause them harm or danger.

[i] http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/screen-addiction-is-taking-a-toll-on-children/?_r=0

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This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Lamentations 3:21 (NKJV)

In a recent article in The New York Times,[i] Jane Brody writes about how screen addiction is taking a toll of children.  An upcoming documentary on PBS entitled “Web Junkie” highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.  Chinese doctors have come to consider this phenomenon a clinical disorder and have established rehabilitation centers where afflicted youngsters are confined for months of drastic therapy, completely isolated from all media, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated.

As Brody writes, “American youths are plugged in and tuned out of ‘live’ action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.”

While many parents believe they have control over the screen time their children spend, recent studies show that the average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day. While television remains the most popular “babysitter,” computers, tablets and cellphones are gradually taking over.

Grateful for ways to calm their active children and keep them from interrupting their own screen time, parents either seem to be unaware of the potential harm from so much time spent in the virtual world or simply don’t care.  Many parents have few rules rules about use of media by their children and adolescents, and many more have no rules at all.  The American Pediatrics Academy maintains that before age 2, children should not be exposed to any electronic media, because a child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

Father God, there is much in nature and in people interaction for our kids to learn.  Help us to limit exposure to screen time.

[i] http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/screen-addiction-is-taking-a-toll-on-children/?_r=0

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Too much too late

For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer. (1 Peter 4:7 NET)


Neuroscientist Dr. Frances Jensen[i] reflects on teenagers’ access to constant stimuli.  As she explains, we, as humans, are built to seek novelty and want to acquire new stimuli. When you think about it, social media provides a wealth of new stimuli that you can access at all times. The problem with teenagers is that because their frontal lobe is not completely developed yet they may not have the sufficient judgment to know when to stop. They don’t have the wisdom to decide which sites not to visit or which information they should not absorb. They are unaware of when to supervise themselves.

In addition, Jensen recommends teenagers should not be allowed to have their cellphones at night.  It may be challenging to enforce it, but there are very good reason for doing so.  When they’re trying to go to sleep they have this powerfully alluring opportunity to network socially or be stimulated by a computer or a cellphone which ends up disrupting their sleep patterns.  In addition, it’s not a good idea to have multiple channels of stimulation while you’re trying to study and memorize information for a test the next day.

You also need to consider that the artificial light of the cell phone or other device can affect their brain by decreasing some chemicals in your brain that help promote sleep, such as melatonin, Some studies show that reading books with a regular warm light doesn’t disrupt sleep to the extent that using a Kindle does.

You should have a conversation with your teen and suggest that they don’t go under the sheets and have their cellphone on and be tweeting people late at night and right before they go to sleep.  Their body, specially their brain, needs all the rest and rebuilding sleep it can have to rebuild it’s strength for the next day’s activities and to ensure they make the best and wisest decisions during these years of their life.


Father God, give me wisdom as I try to help my child control the amount and the time when they use the technological devices available to them so their brain and their entire body will get the rest they need.

[i] http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/01/28/381622350/why-teens-are-impulsive-addiction-prone-and-should-protect-their-brains?lang=en&utm_campaign=10today&flab_cell_id=2&flab_experiment_id=19&uid=19455910&utm_content=article&utm_source=email&part=s1&utm_medium=10today.0129&position=7&china_variant=False

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But I hope to see you right away, and we will speak face to face. (3 John 1:14 NET)


The average American spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook. It’s probably safe to assume that number is higher for teenagers, who by contrast spend only an average of 4.2 minutes a day reading.  Almost one-fourth of teens report logging in to their Facebook accounts more than 10 times a day.[i]

As spouses, we should be concerned about the way that Facebook is affecting our relationships, too.  A 2010 study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 81 percent of divorce lawyers have seen an increase in Facebook as a reason in divorce cases. In 2008, one in five divorce proceedings cited “Facebook.” By 2011, that number had risen to one in three. Another study that year found that one-third of those with a social network report having contemplated leaving their spouse, as compared to less than one-fifth of those without a Facebook page. Presumably that’s partly because the network helps people keep potential partners on the backburner.

Recent studies have shown that Facebook seems to make people feel less happy in general, probably because of the way it encourages comparison. People use Facebook to promote and exaggerate the happier and more appealing aspects of their lives, which leaves others feeling like the lives of others are far better than their own.

When we stop to think about it, nobody is always happy, and nobody’s life is always perfect and flawless, even if it appears to be so online.  It is wise for us to stop comparing our life to that of others and measure our happiness and satisfaction based on what others post on their Facebook status.  It would be better to log off and remember all the good things you have going in your marriage and in your family.  You may not be doing all the “fun” things others are doing, purchasing all the items are buying, or eating all the food others are consuming, but neither are you feeling their pain, experiencing their loss, or sharing in their problems.


Father God, help us to be more appreciative of what we have in our marriage and our family so we may be more content with what we have and wish less for what others seem to have.

[i] http://family-studies.org/families-on-facebook/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=99f6ea8eca-Newsletter_67&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-99f6ea8eca-104541745

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Too much watching

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. (Matthew 6:22 NET)


Researcher Yoon Hi Sung[i] suggests that, “Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, it should no longer be viewed this way.”  People watch TV during long hours in an attempt to distract themselves from their negative feelings, but they may become even more lonely and depressed as a result.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin also found that people who lacked self-control were more likely to binge-watch TV. They seemed to be unable to stop even when they knew they had other tasks to complete.  As Sung explains, “When binge-watching becomes rampant, viewers may start to neglect their work and their relationships with others.  Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously.”

The results of bing-anything seem quite logical.  A person that goes binge-eating could suffer serious consequences to their health and with time they may gain massive amounts of weight to the point of becoming morbidly obese.  College students and the young people who go to binge-drinking parties where they consume so much alcohol may completely pass out and in some cases even die.

The research mentioned above points to the fact that watching endless hours of television, or spending many hours in from of a computer screen playing games, or browsing the internet, also causes serious damage to a person both physically and emotionally, but most of all spiritually.

Instead of spending those many hours exposed to electronic media, do some physical exercise, or find ways to help others.  Helping others is a way to help us take the focus away from ourselves and our problems.  Most importantly, get away from media in order to connect with God through the study of His love letter to us, the bible, and through communication with Him in prayer.


Father God, help me to disconnect from the media that seems to keep me in bondage so that I may be free to get better acquainted with you and become a better servant of others.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20150129/binge-watching-tv-may-be-sign-of-depression-loneliness?ecd=wnl_men_020615&ctr=wnl-men-020615_nsl-promo_3&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out! It is better to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, (Mark 9:47 NET)


Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD,[i], writes how TV shows and movies affect people’s expectations and beliefs about their relationship.

  1. What you believe about love: Modern media is more than ready to support and perpetuate certain beliefs about love. Each of these beliefs has the potential to be a relationship time-bomb:
  2. Idealizing love: People often come to believe that their partner and love for each other must be perfect, which may lead them to then deny problems that may emerge in their relationship.
  3. Believing that love will prevail and make it all okay. When people feel that love will overcome anything, they may not make the effort to maintain their relationship healthy or address issues as they arise.
  4. Believing that there is only one true love for them. When one relationship ends some people come to believe that they may have lost their perfect match, they often have a very difficult time moving on.
  5. Objectifying yourself and your partner: If you can change yourself then you will find the perfect person for your life, and then you will be happy ever after. But the “prize” is not getting a date or series of dates with someone but it is enjoying a relationship in which you both feel accepted and loved for who you are. This can only happen when people are genuine with each other.
  6. Maintaining a relationship: Movies and television portray relationships in a way that engages the audience so they will come back again and again. This often means overlooking the everyday ways in which happy couples make their relationships work. It may also involve showing destructive behaviors as “normal”– but what’s funny or dramatic on the screen is often damaging to real relationships.

To take the time to think about whether you agree with the messages you’re getting and consider how they might be influencing your romantic life.


Father God, please help us to watch carefully what we watch because it affects our relationship with each other and with you.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2015/02/are-movies-affecting-your-love-life.html?ecd=wnl_men_020715&ctr=wnl-men-020715_nsl-promo_3&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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