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Posts Tagged ‘Mind’

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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The mind shuts off

People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Isaiah 26:3 (MSG)

 

According to Billy Hallowell, in The Blaze,[i] science offers another reason to stay away from pornography.  David Greenfield, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction says that, “When you’re in a sexual arousal process where you’re looking at pornography, you’re activating limbic parts of the brain.”

Greenfield explains that the prefrontal cortex — the area where personal decisions are made in light of morals and values — is essentially shut off while viewing porn, with the desire to see more so strong that it supersedes any feelings or cautions someone might have that would potentially hold them back from partaking in such activity.  He added, “The frontal cortex sends information back to the hippocampus which says ‘remember the last time you did this, this is not going to feel good,’ the ability for that circuit to occur is hampered.”  Addicts also have the same dynamic since they don’t have control over their judgment, leading them to repeated behaviors.

Hallowell also refers to research by Donna Rice Hughes, CEO and president of Enough Is Enough, a nonprofit devoted to ensuring the Internet is a safe place for children, who wrote an article on the subject titled, “The Internet P*rnography Pandemic.” Hughes calls the findings of current research “eye-opening” and claims that Internet smut has a “harmful impact on the emotional, mental and sexual health of young children, tweens and teens.”

God provided us with a brain to not simply operate and control every area of our body.  Every sound we hear, everything we taste, everything we feel through our fingers, everything we smell is processed and filled in the brain.  In the same way, every image we see is sent to the brain where those images are processed and forever filed there.  And the more we watch, the more we want to watch…unless we yield control of our brain over to God.

 

Father God, take full control of my brain.  Clean it, reshape it, and strengthen it that I may be free from anything sinful that controls it.

[i] http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/02/03/psychologist-reveals-what-watching-porn-does-to-the-brains-ability-to-weigh-morals-and-values-in-decision-making/

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As I think

The LORD knows that peoples’ thoughts are morally bankrupt. (Psalms 94:11 NET)

 

One of the sidebars in the January issue of Scientific America Mind magazine listed five tips for emotional health to remind us that emotions are hard to control. Nevertheless, we can adopt some basic techniques to improve our psychological well-being.

  1. Be active. A sedentary life tends to lead to depression. Getting physical and mental exercise usually prevent people from focusing on negative emotions too much. A simple walk will help, but straining your body once in a while at the gym or reading a books that challenges or stretches your thinking, and your knowledge.  Those types of pastimes can make it easier for you to look at the bright side of life.
  2. Develop new habits. Changing your routine can help you focus on positive events and avoid being bored. As an example, start journaling every day on the things you learn, experiences you have, people you meet, or the good things that happen to you.  Take a few minutes each day to read what you have written and to remind yourself of those things.  You may be surprised at all the good things taking place in your life.
  3. Meet new people. Spend time with people you like. Make an effort to get to know people in your church that you don’t know well, but also getting to know those who are visiting your church. Do all in your power to help them feel welcomed. Helping others helps you help yourself.
  4. Be thankful. An attitude of gratitude is very healing.
  5. Don’t set the bar too high. Sometimes we expect that we should be happy all the time, something which is unrealistic. It is normal and healthy to experience a whole spectrum of emotions.

As our text reminds us, our thoughts may at times be bankrupt, or deficient.  Making a few changes can turn around the balance giving us a positive attitude and a healthier life.

 

Father God, help us to think in more healthy ways and not rely so much on our emotions to direct how we live.

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