The Digital Invasion

I heard a great lecture by the authors of a book entitled, The Digital Invasion last week. They also have a website www.thedigitalinvasion.com

The authors are a father/daughter team.  Dr. Archibald Hart is a clinical psychologist and has been at Fuller Seminary in CA for 40 years and written alot of good books.  Sylvia Hart Frejd is connected to Liberty and has a D.Min. after a Masters in counseling, and focuses on spiritual formation.

If you work with young people or just want to be aware of the possible problems of internet addiction, or just have kids, I think this book will be a great resource based on the lecture I heard.  I don’t have the book yet but it is high on my list.

Here are some things to pique your interest:

  • The problem with the internet is obviously the addictive nature, the main consequences result from sleep deprivation
  • Internet addiction changes the brain:  you lose grey matter and gain white matter, and that’s bad for you.
  • we are creating new psycho-pathologies (new mental diseases, the brain is actually changed by behavior)
  • Silicon Valley CEOs send their kids to Waldorf Schools, one aspect is lack of technology (Google it)
  • Schools in South Korea don’t allow kids to use computers for the first two years of education
  • The digital world rewires the brain for speed, and multitasking is less efficient/productive.
  • They quote neurological studies about the impact, “rewiring” is an accurate description of what happens
  • Some children born today will learn more from a machine than a mother/father
  • Whybrow calles the internet, “electric cocaine”
  • Internet is lowering EQ, IQ and capability for empathy
  • Internet is comparable to food addiction, because it’s something we can’t fully avoid, but must set boundaries
  • Frejd uses the term “Godspace”, and says we must protect it
  • Internet overuse/addiction does the opposite to our brains as what silence/solitude does.  Contemplative disciplines can help the pre-frontal cortex part of brain heal itself. She cited Curt Thompson.
  • “We have lots of connections but we need conversations.  With God, with self, with others.”
  • The presenters were mildly alarmist, but did recognize the good of internet.  Their big concern is for the next couple of generations.
  • Frejd has a Family Digital Use Contract to limit use, such as no smartphones/tablets at dinner table, boundaries for parents and children

Other resources

  • Nicholas Carr at Harvard, wrote “the Shallows”
  • Mark Baurlein at Emory
  • Dr. Kimberly Young in PA, has opened inpatient internet addiction centers
  • Dr. Sherry Terkle at MIT, “we are all cyborgs” she works in robotics and wrote, “Alone-Together”
  • The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction
  • Her son has dealt with gaming addiction, and she mentioned “The Demise of Guys” by Zimbardo

Of course, this is a remake of an 80s film, but it’s very relevant to our lives now:

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