Do you find yourself concerned about how much screen time your kids have? Do you find your self concerned about how much time you are spending online? Do you find yourself or your children constantly checking your smart phone? Recently I was sent for review a new documentary produced by Media Talk 101 called Captivated: Finding Freedom in a Media Captivated Culture which deals with many of these questions.
Captivated talks about how today's media technology is affecting our world. Our culture today is surrounded by screens. What is amazing is that our infatuation with new media technology didn't start with the advent of the TV, Internet, or smart phones. This fascination began with the first telegraph in 1844. It then led to the telephone, radio, television, and the Internet. Now today's media technology offers us an "all you can" eat media buffet.
This documentary shares many sobering statistics. Did you know the national average home has more TVs than people per household, or that people spend more than half their day consuming media, and teens send and receive 3,339 text per month? Also, interspersed throughout the documentary are interviews with Dr. Jeff Myers, Ray Comfort, Dr. David Murray, Kevin Swanson, and Phillip Telfer, who wrote, produced, and co-directed Captivated.
The DVD also address how screen time affects our brains. When small children are allowed to play with games and watch TV they are equipping themselves for a high pace life and then when they experience real life they find it is boring. Children will suffer with shorter attention spans. But the harm to the brain is not limited to just babies and small children. It also affects older children, teens, and adults. When we work hard at a project it affects the pleasure part of our brain. We can get this same feeling by watching something, but the problem is we haven't done anything. Another problem is that it keeps us from having focused attention. We think we can multi-task by watching something and helping our child do their school work when in fact it is causing us harm. The human brain wasn't made to multi-task when using the thinking part of our brain.
Captivated also talks about how media technology is affecting our health and our relationships with one another. Physically it is taking a toll on hearing loss, eye strain, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation, and many other ways. One of the most sober aspects of media technology is how it is robotizing relationships. Never has the younger generation been able to screen out adults as well as they can today. Their lives are focus on themselves. They are only interested in what concerns them. They are not interested in politics, current events, great literature.
Another focus of Captivated is how Christians are willingly turning a blind eye to content. Many are addicted to violent video games and even to games that seem harmless offered at sites like Facebook. The media is focusing on changing our worldview. Empty philosophies and false worldviews are consistently being thrust on our culture and slowly desensitizing Christians.
I know all this information may sound depressing, The DVD also provides many ways to fight being captivated by today's media technology. First off, is to make sure that our framework is based on God's word. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" - II Corinthians 10:5. This can be done in many ways--having a media fast, being selective, and having discernment. Also, they give encouraging words to parents who they have failed in this area with their children.
Captivated is produced for adults, but can by viewed by anyone of any age. We watched it several times along with our oldest son, Caleb. Many of the things that were discussed and pointed out in this documentary have always been implemented in our home, but after watching this I can say that we have room for improvement. We have always had a strong stand on content and yet we struggle with how much time is spent using media technology. It has given us a lot to think about and also encouraged us to learn to use media technology for what is it--a tool.
Captivated: Finding Freedom in a Media Captivated Culture is truly a captivating DVD and definitely worth watching.
Captivated is available in DVD format for $16.95 (free shipping). Right now they are offering a special sale price of 2 DVDs for $21.95 (free shipping).