April 17, 2024

February 11, 2024

Greenville, South Carolina

Dear friends, very often communication and harmonious relationships are lost in our families due to technology. There is so much noise in this world today that sometimes we do not hear the urges of our own hearts. Quite frequently you can observe the following picture: the radio or music is playing in the car, at work there is the noise of computer keyboards or other devices, at home the TV is always on, and even while going for a run you put your headphones on. Is it possible to hear the voice of our Good Shepherd in such noise?

We have ceased to be able to ponder, as the teenager David once did, tending his sheep, sitting in the shade of a tree, and composing beautiful melodies on the harp for His Friend and King. That’s why young people are now surprised: “How could people express such deep thoughts in their writings in those days?” They spent a lot of time alone with themselves and with God, both at home and in nature, admiring the hand of the Creator.

Neuroscientists recently conducted an experiment by taking MRI and computer tomography scans of the brains of drug addicts, alcoholics, and tobacco addicts and compared them with those who are addicted to smartphones, tablets, laptops, television, and computers. As a result, they came to the terrifying conclusion that the condition of their brains is almost identical. The brain of a pornography addict looks the worst. The brain of such people seems to shrink and deform leading to numbness and overall mental damage. This is called digital addiction.

Sounds strange! How can this be called addiction? But looking at your phone usage graph, you can see that a huge amount of time is spent on viewing various social networks, movies, cartoons, and playing video games.

Lately, more and more often you can hear the myth that a person’s attention span lasts no more than 15-20 minutes, while we can spend hours on Facebook, Instagram, or watching movies. I always found this statement flimsy. After all, Jesus Christ preached to people for hours. Was our Creator not aware of the limitations of our attention? Let’s admit one simple truth – whatever our heart is attached to, we devote more of our time to that. Truly the heart of man is deceitful.

So how does our brain get damaged? The fact is that when using electronic devices, our brain releases too much dopamine. Over time, the brain gets used to such an enormous dose and cannot cope, which, in turn, leads to addiction, similar to what happens to a drug addict. Try to take away a video game from such a child, and then you will hear a flurry of indignation, irritation, anger, and even hatred bombarding you.

Recently, according to the news, the rate of suicides among teenagers has skyrocketed. And what do you think is the reason? It’s just because their parents took away their phones or began to forbid them from playing video games. What an absurd death – the eternal perdition of the soul! But this soul is so precious in the light of eternity.

As a result, such addiction leads to a loss of interest in studying, walking in the fresh air, going out, talking, reading the Bible, and, even more so, in a relationship with the Lord. That’s why you can often hear the following phrase: “I’m bored!” Surely Bible Study is boring for them because they don’t get their increased dose of dopamine. The church and school become boring even if you entertain them with all the available devices (as many do using these useless carnal methods).

We cannot blame only children for this, while there are many adults who are digitally addicted, thus setting a destructive example that dishonors the name of Christ.

Is there a way out of this situation? By the grace of our Lord there is. This has become such a plague of modern society that in countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China, there are special rehabilitation centers for digital detoxification for such addicts. In South Korea alone there are about four hundred of them. The youngest patients are three-year-old children. However, addicts are found even among the elderly.

You ask: “How long does this course of treatment last and what medications are prescribed for such patients?” Nothing supernatural – a strict absence of any electronic devices. Just you and nature. This “treatment” lasts 4 to 6 weeks, after which MRI scans of the brain show healthy activity.

With all of this said, the most important thing I would like to draw attention to is how such addiction affects our relationships in the family and with God.

Dear brother and sister, how are things going in your home? Do you have time to put your phone away and pay attention to your child, patiently waiting for you to look at his or her drawing, which says: “My dad is the best” or “I love you, mom.” Do you have sincere talks with children or parents? When was the last time you had a heart-to-heart talk with them sharing the innermost feelings of your heart or the joy of answered prayers? Moreover, do you have your private time in the secret closet with your Lord?

The Bible says: ”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.“ (Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭24‬). Here you can replace the word “mammon” with the object of digital addiction. And Peter says the following: “… by that which a man is overcome, to this he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:19). In other words, you are a slave to whatever controls you.

Only Christ can revive and set us free! Yet, you need to show obedience – repent of idolatry and turn from your former deeds and old ways. Open His Word and look at your life in the light of Scripture, and it will revive and awaken your spirit to a living hope.

“… Your word revives me.”
(Psalm 119:50)

God bless you!

Max Volkov in Christ