Protect Your Kids
Protect Your Kids 2 minute read

The Medium is the Message: The Subtle Danger of Too Much Time Online

Last Updated: October 27, 2020

Our friends over at FOSI (Family Online Safety Institute) recently made a video about how the Internet is used in homes throughout the world. There are a lot of informative statistics used here.

Many of the stats mentioned point to a hidden danger of increased Internet use: how online media impacts how we use our time.

  • Young people spend seven and a half hours per day with some kind of media, and over 10 hours if you include multitasking.
  • Total media exposure in the average household is nearly 10 hours, but that jumps to over 12 hours in households without rules.
  • Today 99% of children ages 8-17 access the Internet.
  • Nearly one-third of teens say being unplugged from technology makes them feel more “stressed.”
  • About four out of 10 tweens and teens visit a social networking site (like Facebook or MySpace) at least once a day.

More and more psychologists and sociologists are asking the question: With so many young people feeding their brains on a regular diet of online videos, Facebook, massive multiplayer games, instant messages, and Web browsing, how is this impacting the way they relate to others and see the world around them?

Being a parent of kids in the Internet generation is as much about examining online culture as it is about filtering online content. Of course, the Internet is loaded with bad content, but if this is our only concern, we miss the subtle dangers of too much time with technology.

It is helpful for parents to be reminded of the words of Marshall McLuhan written nearly 50 years ago: “The medium is the message.” What did he mean by that? Often we can readily identify harmful messages found online, but we overlook the medium, i.e. the character of Internet itself.

For instance, when TVs became more commonplace, which of these had a greater social impact: a particular news story about a crime being committed across town, or the fact that families could hear about that crime as they ate their dinners? Similarly, which has greater impact today: the fact that the latest game has sexually provocative content, or that kids can now escape for hours into virtual worlds at the click of a mouse? What should grab our attention more: our child being harassed by a classmate on Facebook, or the fact that our child feels “stressed” when they haven’t spent several hours chatting on Facebook each day?

The time is ripe for parents to consider both the messages and the medium of the Internet, helping kids and teens to find a balance of online and offline life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related in Protect Your Kids

Editor's Picks

Phone and a computer configured to block porn sites.

Protect Your Kids

How To Block Porn Sites

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are…

8 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Close-up of parent holding a child's hand.

Protect Your Kids

How Churches Can Rescue This Generation From Pornography

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Female student writing a scholarship essay.

Protect Your Kids

5 Eye-Opening Revelations From 850 Scholarship Essays

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Silhouette of a man walking through a tunnel.

Protect Your Kids

The Sound of Freedom and the Problem of Pornography

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder,…

2 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A group of three young computer programmers working on laptops.

Protect Your Kids

Porn and Artificial Intelligence

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Parents with their teenage son.

Protect Your Kids

Why Parents Must Talk About Sex

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during…

5 minute read

Read Post

Related in Protect Your Kids

Phone and a computer configured to block porn sites.

Protect Your Kids

How To Block Porn Sites

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are…

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are some practical steps you can take to block porn sites on your computer or mobile device. Porn-blocking software makes it easier to block…

8 minute read

0 comments

Close-up of parent holding a child's hand.

Protect Your Kids

How Churches Can Rescue This Generation From Pornography

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that…

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that take us away from Christ. Every generation tends to feel doom and gloom at the rate of change. Ours is not different in…

4 minute read

0 comments

Female student writing a scholarship essay.

Protect Your Kids

5 Eye-Opening Revelations From 850 Scholarship Essays

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who…

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who are enrolled as full-time students. This year, we had over 850 applicants! These amazing students answered questions about integrity using today’s technology, their…

4 minute read

0 comments

Silhouette of a man walking through a tunnel.

Protect Your Kids

The Sound of Freedom and the Problem of Pornography

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder,…

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder, Tim Ballard. Tim’s story has been dramatized in the new blockbuster movie, The Sound of Freedom. In our conversation with Tim, we learned…

2 minute read

0 comments

A group of three young computer programmers working on laptops.

Protect Your Kids

Porn and Artificial Intelligence

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world…

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world by storm. And with good reason—the wide array of AI tools now available to the public offer truly breathtaking capabilities. At Covenant Eyes,…

4 minute read

0 comments

Parents with their teenage son.

Protect Your Kids

Why Parents Must Talk About Sex

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during…

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during which the male leader spoke with the guys about pornography and enumerated the ramifications porn could have on marriages and families. He learned…

5 minute read

0 comments