A danger our children face in today’s world, according to Elder David A. Bednar at an LDS Church Educational system Fireside on Sunday, May 3, 2009, is that people, old and young, become “so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, online social networking and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that . . . they miss the richness of person-to-person communication.” He states, “Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience.”
Admittedly most children and teens have times when they feel uncomfortable with respect to making friends and feeling accepted. If they find satisfaction in Internet relationships or text message relationships, they often will not develop or improve their interpersonal skills, according to Elder Bednar. So often Internet relationships deal with being the person they want to be rather than the person that they are. In many cases this is much more satisfying than their real live relationships, so it is easy for children, teens and adults to live in the world of virtual reality rather than the real world.
Elder Bednar asks, “Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love and to serve in meaningful ways?”
These activities may utilize time that can’t be used twice, perhaps replacing much needed less comfortable time learning to interact with peers, parents and others in the community.
The reality and value of technology is undisputed. Medical people, architects, pilots, simulate situations. These simulations are made possible because of the high degree of fidelity between the simulation and reality (Ibid.)
If ideas and behaviors entice immoral thoughts and actions, then this is not beneficial for your children and teens.
Dr. W. Dean Belnap is the author of a special report printed in The Lighted Candle Society Newsletter, April 2009. He reports that “during the past four years . . . statistics indicate an increasing lack of non-verbal communication skills, inflated catharsis and disclosure, a decline in academic performance in both high schools and universities, declining social skills and behaviors, and addictive disorders related to sexual imagery.” He goes on to say that “among teenagers text messaging is now dominating most of the day at home, school, church, and during most social activities.”
There are grown men who live with someone else and spend full time playing video games. There are wives who have lost their husbands to a fantasyland relationship that holds with a strong bond. “Important opportunities are missed for developing and improving interpersonal skills, for laughing and crying together, and for creating a rich and enduring bond of emotional intimacy.
Progressively, seemingly innocent entertainment can become a form of pernicious enslavement.
To feel the warmth of a tender hug from . . . a companion or to see the sincerity in the eyes of another person. . .” is experiencing things as they really are rather than in the virtual world (Ibid.).
The answer to this issue can be found with Elder Bednar’s question: “Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love and to serve in meaningful ways?”