A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth. Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time 'media multitasking' (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.Parents, notice that this is every single day. This is not a week's total, but daily! How are your kids doing? This should be a wake up call for us as parents to think about what often goes on right beneath our noses. We live in a vastly different world of technology than the one in which we grew up. I would encourage you to read Albert Mohler's article on this topic: http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/01/21/like-the-air-they-breathe-the-online-life-of-kids/
As I am thinking of this study I am reminded of taking groups of kids on camping trips. In the past I always thought it was a good idea to make them leave behind their walkman and their gameboy but in our current day the kids are so much more connected. Many youth find it extremely difficult to spend more than a few minutes without either updating their friends as to their "status" or reading about what their friends are doing. Where is the time for contemplation? Where is the room for deep thought? When can a youth find time to "be still and know that I am God?" Media can be extremely distracting. And without out strong self-discipline I fear that we will neglect one of our greatest spiritual disciplines: meditation on God's Word.
A few months ago we put together a hay ride for our teens and I was amazed and a bit dismayed by something that happened. As I went out on one of the rides I found that the majority of the youth had their faces buried in their cell phones. They were either sending each other messages, getting a hold of kids who were not there, or looking at other electronic media...ON A HAYRIDE. The hay fights, the laughter, the singing, and the jumping-off-to-scare-the-girls were replaced by an electronic glow and bent necks. I couldn't help but think that we were missing out on something.
I hope and pray that we as parents will have the courage and discipline to do what is unpopular and actually "parent" our children. Youth are not the repository of wisdom and should not be left to make the final determination as to how they spend their time. I need to remind myself that I have a great privilege and responsibility to train up my children. Today is a day worth redeeming.