We start this week’s digital detox round up with a couple of websites with resources to tackle digital addiction. More digital detox resources here.

Fight the New Drug
This addresses porn addiction and if you click through you’ll find peer-reviewed research on how porn harms the brain, porn affects relationships, and porn affects society.

Real Battle Ministries
This website has it’s own digital detox battle plan here. They highly recommend the book Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time by Dr. Victoria Dunckley.

Dr. Dunckley has found that everyday use of interactive screen devices — such as computers, video games, smartphones, and tablets — can easily overstimulate a child’s nervous system, triggering a variety of stubborn symptoms. In contrast, she’s discovered that a strict electronic fast single-handedly improves mood, focus, sleep, and behavior, regardless of the child’s diagnosis.

How Social Media Impacts Our News Consumption, Behavior, And Productivity
A podcast interview with Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Success in a Distracted World.

Goodbye Smart Phone, Hello Books
Katie Hughes resolves to get back to the reading habit she developed in childhood but that was suffocated by her smartphone.

So here’s the plan, and if you find yourself in the same boat with your evil siren of a cell phone, you can join along and we’ll see how it goes.

I will read at least 30 minutes per day. I will stick my phone in a drawer and refuse to even acknowledge it’s presence for the entirety of that 30 minutes. That 30 minutes is for me and my book, and the phone is not invited.

As an aside, this is one of many problems that result from the constant presence of a phone, but there are many wonderful, positive things I enjoy because of it as well. As with all things in life, we ought to learn how to receive it with thanksgiving and discard any aspect of it which cannot be received in such a way.

But right now I’m mad at my phone and it is not welcome. Goodbye mindless cell phone scrolling, hello loving to read again.

How tech ate the media and our minds – Axios
Every day there are:

  • 1.2 billion web pageviews, per Chartbeat
  • Billions of Google searches, per Google
  • 13.8 billion hours + of video shared on YouTube, per Google
  • 13M audio/video calls made on Facebook Messenger, per Facebook
  • 50 billion messages sent on WhatsApp, per Facebook
  • 500 million Tweets sent, per Twitter

Our brains have been literally swamped and reprogrammed. On average, we check our phones 50 times each day — with some studies suggesting it could three times that amount. We spend around 6 hours per day consuming digital media. As a result, the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to eight seconds since 2000, while the goldfish attention span is nine seconds. And we just mindlessly pass along information without reading or checking it. Columbia University found that nearly 60 percent of all social media posts are shared without being clicked on.

“Social Media” Networks and the Christian Movement: Three Phases
George Guthrie surveys how Christians used such media for the sake of the gospel and the church.

Phase 1: Hand-written Documents: One Message, Many Places & Times

Phase 2: The Printing Press: A Rapid Medium for the Masses

Phase 3: Internet: Immediate and Constant Access

He concludes on a positive:

Yet, who can deny the positive benefits of being made aware of profoundly helpful articles, audios, and videos with the push of a button. The gospel is going forth to dark corners of the world in ways that were before unimaginable. Access to Christian education has entered a new phase around the world as remote peoples can take advantage of high quality teachings half a world away.

Nevertheless, how will we steward the social media of our own age? How might we address the down sides of such media, even as our forefathers and mothers did in the age of Paul, or Augustine, or Luther? Let’s thank God for social media through the ages, even as we seek diligently to use it wisely.

We conclude with another positive note: Relax, Your Smartphone Probably Isn’t Destroying Your Relationships.  This article argues that there are some hidden social upsides to screen time.

  • One study of more than 600 Internet users found that half had turned online connections into physical interactions, and 22% of those later became serious relationships (engaged, married, or living together). And a two-year follow-up study confirmed that those partnerships were just as stable as relationships initiated the old-fashioned way.
  • In a 2012 Pew study of more than 2,200 Americans, 55% of internet users said their email exchanges had improved their connections to family members, and 66% say the same thing when it came to their good friends.”