Modern screen technology is stealing the hearts of our children. I recently viewed a video teaching of Dr. Joshua Straub sharing the reality of today’s technology in ‘dumbing down’ our brains and our spiritual hearts. Proverbs 3:3 (NKJV) 3 “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
What do we call iPads? Tablets! The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Do your children have mercy, truth and God’s love written on the tablets of their hearts? Or do they have entertainment written on their hearts? What about the use of iPhones? What about the screen time of using the computer and TV for entertainment? All of the above is the description of screen time.
Proverbs 7:2-3 (NKJV) 2 “Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Let’s read this is in the Message Bible: Proverbs 7:2-5 (MSG) 7 1-5 “Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions. Do what I say and you’ll live well. My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it! Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart. Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion. They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress— that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.” The temptress or seductress is anything that is controlling our life.
God’s wisdom is what we need to treasure. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. If something is written on your hand, you will view it constantly. Etching is a permanent engraving on an object. We are told to etch God’s truth on the chambers of our hearts! What is being etched on our and our children’s hearts by screen time viewing?
According to Dr. Straub, children 5 years and younger average screen time viewing is 4 ½ hours per day. Youth 8 – 18 years average screen time is 11 hours per day. College age use of screen time (double screening = 1 – 3 devices at a time) equals average 18 hours per day. Nicholas Carr has written a book entitled, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.
When I was a child and received the Holy Ghost at nine years of age, everyone brought Bible’s to church. My father was a deep theologian preacher/teacher of the Word of God. He made God’s Word come alive. The people would sit in church with Bibles and notebooks/tablets taking notes during the message. (Many times during the teaching of the Word, the people would spontaneously praise God because His Word spoke hope and joy into their hearts. They did not have to be ‘pumped up’ to give praise to the Lord!) I took Bible notes starting about ten years old. I used my Bible in church. I learned the books of the Bible and how to find them. I saw my parents reading their Bibles in the home daily. I followed their example.
Today almost every church has large screens on the walls. Very few people bring a Bible to church. Almost no one is taking notes. We have become shallow enough that we want to be entertained for 30 minutes only in His Word. Some churches are making a new video each week for announcements with art design to catch the attention of the people. Why? Because people have been saturated with screen time entertainment.
In 2013, Oxford University chose ‘selfie’ as the word of the year. We want to feel good and be entertained so ‘feeling better’ trumps the value of loving better God’s way. We can only learn about God’s love and loving others through His Word. What are we and our children etching on our hearts daily through screen time?
The average time parents are with their children is 2 ¼ hours daily – that is doing house chores, etc. The average face-to-face time with each child daily is three minutes. God instructed parents in Duet. 6 to teach the children when they rose up in the morning, when they walked along the way, when they sat down and when they went to bed. Duet. 6: 5 – 9 MSG, 5 “Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! 6-9 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.”
If we allow the screen time to consume us, there is no time for sharing God’s wisdom and commandments during the day through the activities of daily life! I’m counseling people daily nationwide. Many are so busy with life including screen time, that there is no time for daily intimacy with God through His Word and prayer. Your children will do what you do.
Screen time robs family communication. Dr. Straub shared that he and his wife have agreed to have no phones, etc. at all meals – screen free. They have agreed to be screen free from Saturday evenings to Sunday evenings. They are committing to God time and family time.
The word muse means to think deeply and mediate. The word amuse means to find something funny or to be entertained. Are we helping our children to meditate and think deeply about God’s word on a daily basis through life’s examples? Or are we keeping them amused and entertained by screen time viewing that will all come to naught?
II Cor. 4: 18 (NKJ) 18 “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Everything in this life is temporary. The only thing eternal is God and His Word! We parents and grandparents must set the example in our lives through our actions that God is the most important thing in our lives.
My parents’ God-centered daily lives impacted my life the greatest as I witnessed God’s truth in action. We lived by example to our children. Not perfect, just God-centered. There have always been distractions away from godliness. But in recent years, technology has given the devil more powerful tools to rob families of taking the time to write on the tablets of our hearts the truth of God through His Word.
I counsel parents with teens now that are deeply troubled by the constant consumption of screen time, cell phones, iPads, Internet, texting and sexting that is happening. Teens isolate away from parents and into the screen time filling their hearts with godlessness. Their social peer interaction by technology means more to the teen than anything else and becomes an addiction captivating heart, soul and mind.
It’s never too late to take a God-look at what is happening within your family. First, examine your own use of screen time with an honest heart in the sight of God. The foremost important desire of my heart is to see my children and grandchildren walk in truth with God as the center of their lives and make it to heaven.
The only thing we take to eternity is our own soul and how we influenced others for God beginning in the home. We must be etching God Word in our hearts. We must be the example to our children to do the same.
Life is like a vapor, gone in a moment. Eternity is never-ending. I pray this will ‘stir up the gift that is within you’ as parents to become responsible for what is being etched on the tablet of the heart of your child!
© Carol Clemans – April 2016
Carol Clemans is a Spirit-filled Bible teacher 50 yrs., Certified Pastoral Counselor 24 yrs., Certified Christian Life Coach, Certified Sexual Addiction Recovery Facilitator. She speaks for churches and conferences. Carol provides God-centered confidential nationwide counseling by phone and Skype (636) 448-0121.
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