Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Media Fast - for those who are wondering: what is that?

Last week, our pastor invited our congregation into his home to watch "Captivated".  I'd never heard of the movie before.  Chris and I were very moved by the content of this documentary.  The research behind the film is thorough and actually quite astounding.  Even though you look around and see phones and tablets of all kinds literally everywhere, to actually see the study behind the addiction was amazing.  One Army Chaplin even told a story of a soldier suffering with post traumatic stress disorder - even though he'd never been shot at or seen war.  The Chaplin discovered the cause of the disorder to be gaming.  The film also included testimony's of people overcoming the addiction of media - of all varieties.  

It was a wake up call to Chris and I.  He immediately declared a "media fast" as suggested by the film.  By media fast, I mean the TV, DVD player, Wii, even Wii battery chargers, were ALL unplugged.  We rely on the computer for schooling and bills, but it was not to be used for games and such.  We decided to keep our Facebook accounts, but significantly cut the amount of time spent on all social network and gaming sites (available on our iPhone's).  Chris wanted to try it through the end of the week.

I was asked if I could see a difference in our family since the media fast.  I answered honestly: Chris picked a very busy week.  At that point, I hadn't even missed movies or Facebook because we'd simply had so much going on and special visitors.  However, in observing our behavior the past couple days, I have noticed the following:

  1. Elijah's play time is much more creative and imaginative.  Even though we've always been very careful about screening his movies and games, I can see how they affected his play time.  Instead of acting out what he's seen, he's now coming up with his own play.
  2. We've spent more time together - making memories.  For example: this morning we had an hour of time that we were able to spend playing together, walked to the library, and the boys played outside for a while.  I can't tell you the last time I had an extra hour to simply play - without the pressure of "I should be doing other things" bearing down on me.  Which leads me to number three:
  3. I have so much more time.  It seems like I'd always use the phrase "I don't have time".  In reality, I now see how much time movies, games, social networking was stealing.  True, I may have been only watching a 30 minute episode on Netflix, or playing one or two rounds of my games... but when you combine it all together - I realize now I had hours tied up.  Since last Wednesday, I've read a book.  Hosted visitors.  Played games. Taught my son how to play Uno.  
Although the fast is officially over, the TV remains unplugged.  We've not discussed our next move.  Does this mean we won't ever watch movies again?  No.  We all enjoy watching movies from time to time, but I can tell you the movie time will be cut significantly.  Does this mean our Wii is for sale?  Honestly, I wouldn't care if we did sell it.  But that is a decision for another day.  :-)  I deleted the Facebook app off my iPhone because the little red circle with notifications was driving me crazy.  My OCD self was about at my limit with 79 notifications waiting for me.  I've thought about adding it back on my phone but I do not want to get caught back up in the Facebook game.  The constant checking, knowing what is going on with everyone around me. (I do use the Messenger app to communicate with my sisters - but even that has been cut drastically) 

I'm thankful God helped us see the path we were headed down while the boys were at a young age.  I pray He gives us the strength to keep our media usage in perspective.  I ask that He keep us aware of the tricks used by Satan.  We need His guidance in our life, every day.  

Please note this - I am not trying to condemn anyone or judge anyone who uses media.  I'm simply sharing with my readers about a significant change in our lives - but yes, it was a change for the better!
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