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Dumbing Down

Are you watching the news and feeling anxious and fearful? I mean, how can you not be concerned when the rumors of food shortages, the collapse of our economic system, and the end of life as we know it is spread all over the internet? It seems everyone is walking on eggshells and our emotions are raw. It's the main reason everyone is so sensitive and easily offended. We have no emotional strength and in this weakened state of mind, everything hurts. Our smart technology is dumbing us down and we are unaware of dumb we've become.


When our clients come to us seeking relief from their worries and fears, one of the first things I ask them is, "What do you focus your attention on?" If they say they are worried all the time, that they can't shut off their minds, they can't relax, and sleep evades them every night, I ask them their routine with their phones, their laptops, and their televisions. If they are aware, they say they are being flooded with information, alerted by their phones constantly, and distracted by unrelenting notifications and emails. As they sit in my office, I watch how they will cry and complain, but then stop mid-sentence to check an alert on their phone or click their apple watch that has received a TEXT. I quickly realize they can't shut off their brains because they won't shut off their technology.


Do you have a child who is also being trained to live according to technology? Have you tried to take away their phone and turn off the internet? Do they melt down screaming and accusing you of child abuse? Do you hear your 10-year-old curse you and wonder what you did wrong as a parent because YOU never would have treated your parents the way your children are treating you today? Technology is destroying families and we are too addicted to our phones to know they are killing us.


Many studies about the effects of violence on young minds were conducted early on when gaming was in its infancy. Warning after warning that gaming was harmful and was rewiring young minds were censored as more positive images and promotions flooded our minds that led us to believe they were safe. Now we are reaping the ills of those decisions years ago and we lament how to get our lives and our children's lives back on track. Is it too late to save our children? I optimistically say it's possible to recover, but the road is going to be hard. Like every addiction, everyone must quit the addiction together. Everyone in the house must sacrifice and relinquish control of their technology, even for a time. This is possible, but sadly, most parents don't want to give up their addiction to save their children. What would you do with yourself if you turned off all technology in your home for an evening? Try it for one evening. Turn off all technology from 7-9 and you'll soon realize how addicted you truly are. Count the minutes before someone complains. Experience the intensity in your body when the minutes tick away and your anxious mind craves the distraction technology provides. Like cocaine, your addiction has taken over your mind and it wants what it wants at all costs.


Communication at home has come to a dead stop. Parents and children do not talk to each other. They stare at a screen and vegetate on the non-stop content that is never challenged, never questioned, and never good. The brain does not know what is true and without challenging content, all content is believed to be true. We are accepting what we are being told on face value, and even when it is proven false, without critical thinking skills our brain is distracted from the truth and we continue to live according to the lies and deceptions presented to us. All this misinformation and manipulation is causing unrelenting stress in our lives and the lives of our children.


Here are some recommendations for living a life with less stress and anxiety:


1. Parents stop buying phones for your pre-teenage children. Stop handing them your phone when they are impatient and begin to annoy you. The phone has become the babysitter and parents are less and less engaged with their children because they are more and more engaged with their own phones.

2. Parents, every night lock up all cell phones and turn off all technology 3 hours before bedtime. It is important to put the phones in a secure location that allows for them to be locked up. Consider your children's technology to be as dangerous as a weapon. Children are taking their own lives because of technology and what is being consumed late at night while parents sleep.

3. Get out, get away, and find places where phones and technology are not available. If you can't find a place where technology is blocked, leave it at home. If you think you need your phone for an emergency, when was the last time you called 9-1-1 on your phone? Go to the mountains, walk down a path deep into the forest and breathe. The change of scenery will do you good.


The world continues to change, the dangers continue to lurk, and much of what is happening in the world is beyond our control. Fortunately, we do have control over the dangers we allow into our homes, and we can make a decision to stop, or at least limit, the exposure of dangers to our children.


"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Philippians 4:8 NIV

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