If you’re anything like me, you find yourself attempting to walk a delicate balance between the appropriate use of media versus letting it take over your life. Maybe you have used a platform like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for years and woke up one day to realize it’s controlling your life and adding stress. Is social media the first thing you look at upon waking and the last thing you check before sleep? Are you simultaneously craving the scroll and completely overwhelmed? The isolation and upheaval of 2020 has only further complicated the situation for most of us, too.
Or maybe you recently discovered that your teenager frequently stays up all night texting with friends. Or talking to people she doesn’t even know. Maybe you realized too late you don’t have enough boundaries and oversight on your kids’ media usage. Maybe you realized you haven’t always been the best role model when it comes to a healthy relationship with technology. If you relate to ANY of the above, you are not alone! Most of us are wrestling with these things and the fact that you recognize there is a problem might even put you ahead of the curve!
A resource that has been incredibly helpful to me is Andy Crouch’s book, The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Place.
When I first read this book, I was expecting a “do this/don’t do that” kind of book that made me feel guilty. What I actually got was a deeply moving book that really made me think. Andy asks us what we really want out of life. Then he helps us think through how our technology usage is helping and/or hindering those goals. He also incorporates a lot of actual research and statistics. He does advocate pretty big changes (from what most of us are used to, anyway) but his reasoning holds up given the pervasive and addictive nature of technology. I found that my own inward balking at some of the suggestions frequently proved his points!
Andy somehow conveys the brevity of life while also casting a vision for keeping our priorities aligned in an entirely grace-filled way. I was challenged, inspired, and given much to ponder in this little book. I loved the depth with which he talks about life, death, and the crucial nature of deep and lasting relationships.
Even though it is targeted at families, a Christian in any season of life would enjoy and benefit from this book. Even some of my teenage clients have read it and been inspired to take responsibility for their own technology usage in a healthier way.
And GREAT NEWS Crouch has co-authored (with his college-student daughter) a new book called My Tech-Wise Life: Growing Up and Making Choices in a World of Devices aimed at high-school students. My pre-ordered copy arrived today and I can’t wait to check it out.
In closing, I want to leave you with a word of encouragement in the event you are feeling tired and overwhelmed this very moment:
“In a world so wired and interconnected,
our anxious hearts are pummeled by
an endless barrage of troubling news.
We are daily aware of more grief,
O Lord, than we can rightly consider,
of more suffering and scandal than we can respond to,
of more hostility, hatred, horror, and injustice
than we can engage with compassion.
But you, O Jesus, are not disquieted
by such news of cruelty and terror and war
You are neither anxious nor overwhelmed
You carried the full weight of the suffering
of a broken world when you hung upon
the cross, and you carry it still….”
These are the first two stanzas from
A Liturgy For Those Flooded by Too Much Information
Click through for a free download of the prayer in its entirety.