Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This morning at the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Vikki Ortiz Healy writes an article which he titles: “Wired and Tired: Number of Teens Losing Sleep to Late Night Technology Use…”

She writes:

A relaxing summer evening for 18-year-old Ross Nikides last week went like this:

He and five friends brought laptops to another friend’s house to play “World of War Craft” and other Internet games against each other.

Around 4:15 a.m., one of the guys craved a milkshake, so they piled into two cars and drove around Carol Stream in search of an ice cream shop still open.


An hour later, they were back at the friend’s house, slurping down their drinks while checking Facebook and playing Xbox until they fell asleep — cell phones by their sides — around 6:15 a.m.

Indeed, she continues:

Hanging out with friends and staying up late may not be different from what some teens did 30 years ago, but new research suggests technological distractions that teens have access to today cut into their much-needed rest.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics last year showed that teens kept up their activities late into the night. After 9 p.m., 82 percent of the high school students surveyed were watching TV, 55 percent were using a computer online and 44 percent were talking on the phone — with another 34 percent sending and receiving text messages. Of that group, only 21 percent got the 8 to 10 hours of sleep recommended.

In a study of teens in Belgium in 2007, 40 percent of the 16-year-olds surveyed reported they were awoken at least once a month by a text message, which correlated with higher levels of daytime sleepiness.

Yet despite years of warnings about the risks of insufficient sleep — including poor school performance, obesity and, as presented in June at an annual meeting of sleep researchers, links to depression — teens and their parents say adolescent exhaustion remains a fact of life.

And the best parents can do is help balance their teens’ need for sleep with their need to keep up with today’s technology.

“Teens don’t value sleep because there’s too many things going on to distract them,” Nikides said.

She provides another example of a technological, sleep-deprived, teen:

One night last week, Ryan Cassidy, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, began playing Xbox at 10:30 p.m., using two-minute breaks within the game to play another game on his cell phone. After two hours, he moved to his laptop, on which he watched a TV program and checked his Facebook page during commercials.

Cassidy eventually decided to go to sleep at 2 a.m.

“I’ll wake up a little tired, and I know it’s because I stayed up late playing games or something, but to me, it’s almost worth it,” the Geneva teen said.

This article, though not shocking whatsoever, reveals what the average teen practically worships nowadays. Certainly many teens would quickly deny verbally saying that they “worship technology”—video games, Xbox, texting, cell-phones, movies, etc.—but practically these technological devices have won their hearts—and their minds.

The Word of God is not silent on this issue. The Bible clearly reveals that no one can serve “two masters” (Matt 6:24). “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). Whatever you spend most of your time thinking about, talking about, performing the action, strategizing, etc., that particular “thing” is your functional G/god.

Many parents—and teens—may take umbrage with the severity of this, but parents and teens must recognize the serious spiritual nature of this idolatry. The Scriptures repeatedly teach that idolaters will not enter heaven.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived … idolaters … will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 10:7 7 Do not be idolaters,

Revelation 21:8 8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Revelation 22:15 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

The Scripture speaks to this issue of idolaters. The current trend in our culture today is for young people (though this is by no means limited to them and them alone) to spend hours—multiple hours!—on the Xbox, texting, playing computer games, checking Facebook, or whatever. Do the heart check. Are you worshipping technology? Has the technology that you possess taken the place of worship in your heart, mind, and life? Parents striving to honor God and exalt His Word must monitor the technology use of their children and not allow them to commit idolatry in their lives. It is a heart issue. We want to get at the heart of our young people. We want to reform their hearts not only their actions. If the heart is convicted of sin then the life-change will inevitably flow. But if life-change comes about without heart-change then all that is accomplished is nothing more than Pharisaism.

So, who—or what—do you worship?

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