Are we too captivated by the screens in our lives?
What captivates me and my attention? Am I too captivated by the screens in our lives? I was given the movie, Captivated DVD , to review. This film for adults, but appropriate for all ages, is about our media-crazed and obsessed and addicted world and it opens your eyes to the real travesties of media over-saturation. “Finding freedom in a media captive culture.”
Live for what matters
How do I remain un-Captivated? I wrote about stepping away from the internet a while back. And I am happy to report that I have stuck with a lot of my goals. Some, however, have fallen a bit by the waste-side.
I asked these questions of myself:
What do I want my children to remember about me?
What do I want for them?
Will I want them addicted to the internet or social media?
I don’t want to be on my computer when the children are awake (except during a short nap/quiet time in the afternoon). This is incredibly hard. But whenever I find myself slip, I feel guilty about it and I look to my self-made daily schedule and see that “time on the computer” is no where to be found. I would like to wake up a half hour before the children, to have some “me time”, but with my daughter still getting up at night, it’s just not happening to “get up early.” I will continue to strive towards only having computer time during quiet time and evenings, and I feel very good about this.
How do I spend my alone times? I am often on my computer (if not cooking or doing laundry or making felt animals!) — yes I love this blog and it is an creative and social and family outlet for meI keep too many tabs open on my computer. Do I really need to check out that one article that a friend of a friend is recommending on Facebook? How do I spend my time? Is it a skill to “multi-task” that much?
My time is precious. I cannot waste it.
Am I spending time with God each day? Yes. My children and I do spend quite a bit of our day in the Bible, singing songs to and about God, and talking about Him in our daily lives and discipline. And much of my time alone with Him is either online or in prayer while laying with my daughter to sleep. But He deserves more and the best of me.
My spouse matters and I need to invest in him. My husband and I only have “un-plugged” night when we are watching (and snuggling!) to a movie together. Otherwise, we are side by side, but mostly on our computers (it’s his job too).
One thing I have stuck to, for which I am proud, is that I do not and will not have a smart phone. First of all, we don’t want to pay for the plans, but also, I want to see my children. Be with my children. Hold them, relish them, delight in them. I have seen too many parents and adults and teens waste their lives on these little phones.
I can protect my children
I was just on an Army Reserve weekend, talking with my fellow non-commissioned officers. Well, we have collectively noticed that the younger set of Soldiers have much poorer communication skills. During drill, they all have their phones out, they are not chatting and laughing and sharing in camaraderie. It seems like that is dead. I love to hear that many public schools are phone-free zones. But they certainly aren’t screen free. Children have iPads, watch movies, and there is a bombardment of information and distraction.
And Captivated DVD truly has helped me solidify much of how I want to parent in regards to technology. It confirms that I am not being too over-protective to have set rules about technology. I am being responsible, loving, thoughtful, doing the hard thing. But it is right. Will these rules change? Will I become more lenient? I hope not, but I hope so too. Every family and situation is different, but where we are now, this is what I want for the future. And thinking about these things now is important before the technology and screens creep up and captivate and command our lives and our time and our hearts.
- We will always only have one television in the house, in a public area (with no cable, just a couple local channels).
- When the children do start using the computer for educational games, it will always be public, and limited. (My husband, who is a programmer, is always emphasizing to me the need for technology and how much good it has brought us. I agree. He is my balance. And a balance needs to be struck. We will learn as we go.)
- No television before 2 years old.
- Only about a 30 minute approved, slow-paced movie a day (when putting the baby down, no commercials).
- No video games or hand held electronics (I will not buy them and I will take them back if they are given as gifts).
- I will not buy cell phones (if I do in the teenage years, they will make phone calls only).
- We will have family dinners.
I know, some of this may sound extreme. I know others who have made even more drastic measures. I can shelter my children. They will be off on their own one day. But they must have a childhood. And they will be just fine.
Full of dirt, imagination, and boredom.
This movie can open your eyes
Is it too radical to expect my family to un-Captivate themselves? To seek His kingdom alone? Captivated DVD is a documentary written and directed by Philip Telfer, who founded Media Talk 101, a family ministry that offers Biblical help for a media-saturated society. It begins by asking important questions:
Are we more or less productive in our lives?
Are our relationships deeper or shallower as the result of media?
The movie starts with explaining the effect the wireless telegram had on society, which was the beginning of the “media” age. It goes on to address many topics, with many interviews by many different people: professors, ministry directors, parents, young adults, all who share either expertise or personal accounts and experiences. The movie addresses many topics in regards to media use: media consumption, brain effects, multi-tasking, relationships, discernment with content and addictions.
…Some among you are allured by the views of the heathens who in this matter are wont to press us with arguments, such as these: (1) That the exquisite enjoyments of ear and eye we have in things external are not in the least opposed to religion in the mind and conscience; and (2) That surely no offense is offered to God, in any human enjoyment, by any of our pleasures, which it is not sinful to partake of in its own time and place, with all due honor and reverence secured to Him. But this is precisely what we are ready to prove: That these things are not consistent with true religion and true obedience to the true God.” -Tertullian “The Shows”, Or “De Spectaculis”
The movie teaches from an anti-media bias. This is fine with me. My husband, who I’ll say for the third time, works in the computer field and loves and is extremely competent in coding and programming, so he sees the benefits that media and technology has wrought us. He warns me against this type of thinking, that “technology is evil.” No, of course not. Technology has helped us in so many ways. Information is readily accessible when you need it. Directions, restaurants, recipes, medical means, you name it. And that is nice.
Biological effects of media on children and adults: I have known, and am more convinced now than ever, that young children should not be in front of screens. The fast images are detrimental to their attention spans and their thought processes, especially in the first three years of life.
If my child watches only 30 minutes, 5-6 times a week, that is still three hours of his time per week, and for that I have had mom-guilt. And it doesn’t make me feel better to hear from the movie that the American child averages 53 hours a week in front of a screen. Utterly heartbreaking and shocking and eye-opening.
The teenage and young adults nowadays are getting dumbed down by screens. Did you know that teenagers are allowed to sleep with their cell phones?! And they send, on average, 3,ooo texts per month?! Our children have an over developed reactive attention span, but an under developed focused attention span. “Whatever the brain does a lot of is what the brain is good at.”
ADHD is at an all time high — screens have caused shorter attention spans. The movie explains how nutritious meals, proper bed time, and playing outside can heal most, if not all, cases of ADHD in children. We must, for their sake, turn it off. If parents knew this, and were educated by movies like Captivated DVD, then our society could turn back around. Otherwise, we will truly self destruct and become the dumbest generation, and with that, our great country, and standard of living, will continue to fall.
This effect is not only on children. Who has met an adult male who plays video games every day? Media has tricked the brain into thinking you have accomplished something, when absolutely nothing has been done. I recently met a woman who lost her marriage to this type of addiction.
What about multi-tasking? An argument in favor of media is that “now we can multi-task.” Well, researchers and professors in the film argue that the brain cannot remember what we do when we multi-task because we are not accessing our deep memory. This affects me daily — as a multi-tasking mom, and not just with screens — but it was heartbreaking to hear, nonetheless. We are not “doing better” because of all the directions our brains are going. Our output is becoming poorer.
We can no longer organize information properly. Where is the stream of information going? It is so confusing. The internet is just a mass of facts and details and Pinterest-y ideas — and we have to shuffle together to make some semblance of order. That is impossible. And for those who try, it is hard to do and time-consuming, and brain-exhausting.
What used to shock us no longer makes us bat an eye. The content of movies and video games and music have to continue to push the envelope to entertain audiences. This is not God-serving or glorifying. It is addictive and detrimental to the humans that God created us to be.
Do I let football control our fall Saturdays or winter Sundays? Sport addictions are real. For both men and women. What am I showing my children about what is important to me on these days?
My prayer is that me and my family won’t be victims to the over-saturated media culture. I pray that our brains and hearts will be turned towards God and towards each other and our relationships first. This is my prayer for my loved ones. If we don’t set guidelines and limits, then we won’t follow them.
Is there hope for us?
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.” -Ephesians 5:15
But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness… But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” -Romans 6:17-18, 22
I believe that this movie will help you and your family better discern how to use media in your lives. I believe this is a beneficial and God-glorifying film that could benefit families and individuals alike. There are many personal accounts of how sacrificing media to the Lord has helped benefit their lives exponentially.
Captivated DVD costs $16.95, shipping included, and if you order 2, the second copy is $5 – so you can receive 2 DVDs for $21.95. A wonderful and important gift for a loved one.
More from Media Talk 101:
Why Does Media Talk 101 Use Facebook and Other Kinds of Media?
Boys, Snakes, and Insatiable Media Appetites
Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture
To see more reviews about this important film, check out Michelle at Delightful Learning and more reviews at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.