In a recent speech in Poland at the International Catholic Youth Festival, Pope Francis made some very strong statements about his view of gaming addiction and some of the negative effects of technology on today’s young people. There were nearly 1 million people there and he was quoted as saying that the overuse of technology is making youth today “drowsy and dull.” During his speech, he encouraged them to step up and leave a positive mark on the world. Pope Francis stated that gaming provides children and young adults an illusion of what life really is – a life that is safe from fear, pain, or worries. He warned that if taken too far, these habits will keep young people from dealing with conflict in the right way and instead immerse themselves in games to find comfort and relief. Pope Francis said, “Dear young people, we did not come into the world to vegetate…we came for another reason: to leave a mark.” With video games, smart phones, iPads, and tablets at the fingertips of today’s youth almost constantly, Pope Francis believes that young people can fail to see what’s happening all over the world and how they can be involved in making things better. (1)
Pope Francis makes some very valid points in his statement and in fact, the recipe for a dull brain has started earlier and earlier as technology has advanced. Consider the time that your child or teenager, or even yourself, spends in front of a screen. Maybe your loved one is absorbed in social media pages all day or maybe you find yourself relaxing front of the television for hours at a time at the end of the day to help unwind. Excessive screen time will begin affecting you and your loved ones at some point, maybe not to the point of addiction, but to the point that you’ll see significant changes in the brain’s ability to function at its peak or remember things. Children today grow up with technology and are taught to use computers, smart phones, and tablets very early on. This means that limits must be put in place from the get go. Technology is a wonderful and exciting tool that is necessary for us and our children to interact in the world today, but it’s something they should master, not something that should master them.
Are you struggling with screen addiction or is someone you love excessively using social media, television, or online gaming? If so, it’s time to set strict limits on the use of technology. Parental controls should be implemented before they are allowed to get online and if video games are allowed in the home, set time limits and screen the content in the game. Many video games are extremely violent and full of sexual images, so be sure to screen the content before you allow them to play unsupervised. Technology addiction is a very real thing and every day, more and more people are becoming victim to screen addiction. If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of addiction, seek professional help immediately. For more information: www.realbattle.org/resources/
- Villaceran, Patricia. “Pope Francis Loses Cool, Tells ‘Drowsy and Dull’ Kids to Stop Video Game Addiction. Inquisitr. July 30, 2016. Accessed online August 24, 2016. http://www.inquisitr.com/3366204/pope-francis-looses-cool-tells-drowsy-and-dull-kids-to-stop-video-game-addiction/