Here’s a round-up of articles to assist your digital detox. You can view more resources here.

If It’s Not True, Kind, Or Necessary, Don’t Share It On Facebook
Here’s a Catholic writer who regrets sharing posts that point out the weakness, sinfulness, or foolishness of another without even knowing whether it is true.  Before posting or commenting, she urges us to ask “Is it true? Is it timely? Is it necessary?” As for commenting, she’s staging a retreat:

Comments I’ve made on other peoples’ posts are just as sinful. I try to always be polite, but I waste time challenging people about ideas knowing it is almost always hopeless. Few people are willing to engage in real discussion today on both sides of the aisle. Most people are looking for self-affirmation of their views or are virtue-signaling. If someone challenges them, many choose to make angry or even malicious statements in response, a fact I could predict before I started. Therefore, I am leading another toward an occasion of sin. It is not defensible.

She concludes with a pledge:

I pledge today that I will not post, share, or “love” any mean-spirited image or statement that degrades another. I pledge that I will not provoke others into attacking while acting as though I am enlightening or engaging them. I pledge today to stop following those folks who continue to do the same (although I will still love them and let them know why). I pledge to work on myself, to focus on building people up while still giving criticism to people when they need it, but only in civil, loving, and respectful ways.

The Case for Boredom
Kevin DeYoung makes the case for boredom and silence, increasingly rare in the smartphone age. Boredom, he says, “provides the space for creativity, for mental wandering, for musings, ponderings and a lifestyle of prayer.” Our smartphones have destroyed all that:

It’s hard to imagine scrolling through social media throughout the day and checking email almost constantly have made me wiser, holier, and godlier, let alone a better husband, a better father, a better thinker, and a better Christian.

Kevin also concludes with a pledge:

In the coming months I am making it my goal to be bored more often. I want to force my kids to be bored too. I’m not throwing away my phone. I’m not quitting Twitter or the blogosphere. I just want more space to endure (enjoy?) life’s dull moments.

The Secret to Digital Health
Referencing the work of Donna Freitas, Tony Reinke describes three categories of social media user:

The insecure: These social-media users struggle with “anxiety about their social standing, and fret about how they are seen by others.” In this state, anxiety festers. Depression rears its head. The insecure perpetually refresh their feeds to seek a new hit of self-validation, but find that when those hits of self-validation do come, they are short lived, and often bring the insecure face-to-face with the harsh reality of being (or feeling) ignored.

The ambivalent: The second group is represented by at least two distinct groups. First, Freitas found that college students in pre-med or pre-law, students with lofty and specific ambitions, tend to avoid social media or minimize it in their lives with ease. They simply have bigger goals to pursue. Second, another ambivalent group includes insecure phone addicts who eventually just burn out and shrug off and dismiss social media.

The thriving: So who are these “rare few” college students who are thriving and who seem to handle social media best? At the end of her book, Freitas says that these students “are the ones who are able to be ambivalent about it — those young women and men who can manage the self-promotive dimensions without too much stress, who can live with the pressures of constant evaluation, and who aren’t made so emotionally vulnerable by social media that its negatives wreak havoc on their self-esteem. Apathy has become a healthy mode of survival” (249)

The secret to digital health, says Tony, is authenticity and identity.

This is the book Tony quotes in his article: The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost.

12 Low-Prep, Screen-Free Ways To Keep Toddlers Busy In Winter
“When your child has cabin fever, it’s hard to stay sane. Here are some fun, creative, TV-free ideas to keep everyone happy and entertained.”

The Gospel and Social Media: Part (1)
These posts have a positive aim:

I’m hoping that this series of posts can be a catalyst for loving conversations between brothers and sisters about how each of us can push the gospel deeper into how we think and use every social media platform. I’m praying that together we can see to it that Jesus engulfs every square inch of our lives – even those that only exist in a virtual society.

And here’s Part 2.

After 146 Years, Ringling Bros. Circus Announces End
After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May. Digital media is not the only reason but it’s a major one:

In recent years, Ringling Bros. tried to remain relevant, hiring its first African American ringmaster, then its first female ringmaster, and also launching an interactive app. It added elements from its other, popular shows, such as motorbike daredevils and ice skaters. But it seemingly was no match for Pokemon Go and a generation of kids who desire familiar brands and YouTube celebrities.

When online debate ate up my time
I’m sure most of us can identify with Kim’s grief over lost time and lost peace through online debate.