Positive Parenting Tips to Prevent Teen Cell Phone and Social Media Addiction, Reduce Kids’ Anxiety Levels, Improve Family… the Dangers of Digital Immersion

A Digital Crisis Book 1

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” — Romans 12:2

Does God want me to use social media? Is it ethical for me to use a cell phone app, like Tik Tok, Twitter, or Facebook, that can potentially harm other people?

In this revolutionary follow-up to the parent and law enforcement-acclaimed social media addiction book Delete Me, technology addiction specialist and Christian therapist J.A. Thomas offers the loving parents and grandparents of teens and tweens a powerful new approach to preventing video game overexposure, social media abuse, and cell phone addiction.

In an age where over 50% of the population is addicted to one behavior or another and the average teenager spends 4 hours a day wasting time alone on their cellular devices and struggles to interact IRL (In Real Life) with real, live humans, the power of Christian faith or other religious morality can be a valuable lifeline that individuals, parents and teens can use to set boundaries, reduce anxiety and improve in-person communication skills.

In this potentially life-changing technology addiction book great for all walks of life, you will learn:

  • How to use the power of faith in setting boundaries with technology, popular online apps and guide social media usage by teens and tweens.
  • How to use your faith in God to answer questions such as: “Is TikTok evil?” and “Should we post about our faith on social media platforms?”
  • How to heal your inner child, overcome tech addictions & seasonal depression, foster healthy relationships, reduce anxiety and stress, and nurture your holy spirit.
  • How teenagers can let go of toxic relationships with cell phones, video games, and social media apps and turn to positive influences like God, loving families, and strong friendships.
  • How to examine your own intersection with technology in ways that will help you re-establish your connection with Jesus Christ.
  • Why social media is ruining your kids’ lives… but they are still using it!

By reverse-engineering behavioral addiction, we can negate the negative mental health outcomes of technology abuse and cell phone addiction for good—to improve how we communicate and set boundaries between work and play.

Faith Over Technology is the perfect tool to prepare parents and high school students for excelling during another challenging year of peer pressure, social media abuse, and the societal thought control that exists in many schools and colleges!

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Excerpt from Faith Over Technology © Copyright 2023 J.A. Thomas

The internet and handheld devices have an immense impact on our lives, providing immediate access to the cyber world. With the ability to automatically connect to any social media platform or website and endless social options, the internet has become a powerful instant escape mechanism. It has become a primary emotional outlet for people of all ages, who may constantly feel the need to be plugged into their phone, computer, or social cyber network. This need for constant connection can feed into an endless shame cycle, where people feel the pressure to present a false self to the world.

The public image of having many friends, lots of attention, traveling, socializing, and partying can all be elaborate forms of self-deception. The self-perceived power of social status and cyber friends around the world can be very addictive and overwhelming. People seek to feel important, valuable, and connected as a reaction to their nagging inner negative self-dialogue. However, this addiction to social media and cyber validation can have devastating consequences, including cyberbullying, stalking, and instant gratification.

The emotional craving for self-acceptance is only momentarily met through social media, and it is lost in the next second. Shame keeps covered up and stays secret, hiding the wounded child deep within the adult or young adult. People may present a false self on social media, using it as an excellent cover-up for the real person within, the one who is terrified to be revealed or exposed in a negative light. The constant need to be seen and acknowledged can be relentless and offers no lasting peace of mind or self-acceptance.

The wounded self and shame work together to keep the real self-buried in the shadows of a person’s online appearance. The addictive nature of social media is widespread and shows no signs of slowing down. Shame and social media are best friends, and being aware of their impact on mental health and well-being can help prevent serious damage/mitigate some of the damage.

The author of this book recognizes that seeking professional treatment for internet and social media addiction can be pricey and difficult to access for those who need it the most. While this guide is not a substitute for comprehensive care, it offers strategies for combating social media addiction using techniques commonly employed by clinicians, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, in a more condensed and tailored format to fit an individual's needs.

Despite overwhelming evidence linking social media addiction to severe mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression, there is resistance to including social media addiction in clinical reference guides like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). This is because the process of revising the DSM is slow and can take many years to include new disorders. For example, it took over 30 years after the initial version of the DSM to include Pathological Gambling as a diagnosable disorder.

The lack of a formal diagnosis for social media addiction means that individuals experiencing symptoms may be misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly, leading to potentially harmful consequences. In this book and its predecessor, I aim to inform the public about the dangers of social media addiction and provide tools to prevent harm from social media use, such as falling victim to predators or experiencing overwhelming anxiety and depression.

In my last book, Delete Me: 7 Steps to Social Media Abstinence, we explored the dangers of social media through a clinical lens. Although social media represents a subset of technology, it will again be the major focus of this book, as it represents a vastly important juncture for technology due to its prolific nature.

For a refresher course on why abstinence is a valuable strategy to eliminate social media addiction, I recommend reading Delete Me before this book. And although the two are largely mutually exclusive, they do share one core concept for the alleviation of social media mental health conditions, ailments and dangers resultant from social media abuse —abstinence. This is total abstinence from popular social media applications (TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Meta, Facebook, and any and all photo / quick video sharing app). Abstinence doesn’t mean ‘checking in’ on the social media application(s) occasionally. Abstinence doesn’t mean ‘passively’ using the social media application(s) without interaction. Abstinence means going off all social media applications and staying off.

It’s easy to confuse the notion of whether technology makes us more connected or more alone. We’re certainly more networked. And more isolated. The generation that was all but born with a device in their hand, A.K.A. ‘the digital native’— 18–24-year-olds — are four times as likely to feel lonely “most of the time” compared to those over 70.

While there are certain intersections between Delete Me and Faith In Technology, this book is not meant to preach, but places a focal lens on a new way of participating in a rapidly evolving online world from an In Real Life (I.R.L.) perspective.  The purpose of this book, like that in the pages of Delete Me, is to keep you in your real life—physically, spiritually, and psychologically.

I am not a theologian, and I cannot attest to the usefulness of these pages in arguing for any kind of religious stance on the nature of technology, whether it be bad or good. I am, however, a Christian who is a therapist and a subject matter expert in technology. As a former technical engineer and analyst for some of the biggest names in the global digital landscape, I have a unique lens on the interaction between humans and computers. The purpose of this book is to share experiences and data on the intersection of faith and technology, and the opinions within are purely my own. Scripture is offered within this book only as a means of allowing the reader to examine their own thoughts about their intersection with technology.

From businesses to learning, construction to therapy, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. But as we marvel at the advancements and convenience it brings, we must also question its moral and ethical implications. Are these dilemmas caused by the technology itself, or is it in how we use it? Nuclear, biotech, and information technology are among the game-changing innovations that bring ethical issues to the forefront. Think of the competing goods and evils, like the sharing of private information in organizations. Is it moral or immoral? And the move toward automation and artificial intelligence: will it improve or destroy lives? These are just some of the ethical dilemmas we face.

And what about the impact on health? Many technologies have devastating effects on both people and the environment. Prolonged computer use can lead to repetitive stress injuries. Moreover, technology can lead to job displacement, forcing people to take on different roles or face work-related stress. Gender discrimination is yet another ethical issue in technology. Women are often discriminated against in the manufacturing sector, with men being considered more productive. The male-dominated computer field also presents challenges for women, who may shy away from engineering and mathematics due to environmental setups.

With all these ethical concerns, it's important to question the moral implications of science and technology. Should we have an ethics of technology? How can we address these challenges?

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