Daily Media Usage is now at 8 Hours. How Will You Spend Yours?
By Daniel K Greg, Contributing Writer
According to a recent ZenithOptimedia report and Quartz article, the average person now spends 490 minutes (a little over eight hours) a day consuming media. “Media consumed” can be anything from outdoor billboards, to the radio, to the internet. The big change in this data is worldwide internet use. In 2010, the internet only accounted for “13% of average daily media use,” but by 2017 it is estimated to “reach nearly 30%” (QUARTZ).
What this means is that people are spending less time gazing into one another’s eyes, shaking hands, or going for a jog, and more time watching videos, using social media, and checking the news online. Is this bad? Some would say “yes”, others “no”.
Because time is a zero-sum game, this new data means that people have simply taken time away from other forms of media such as books and radio and put it toward internet usage. It’s a good thing that people are watching less TV, right?
Unfortunately that may not be correct from a Christian perspective. The internet is a one-stop shop for uncountable numbers of vices such as pornography, cyber-bullying, procrastination, and gossip. Anything one might want in terms of entertainment or information from any other media source can all be found on the internet. That is why a Christian must always be mindful of what he or she is viewing and stumbling-upon in their internet-journeys.
The important verse to remember here is to, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV). The Hebrew word for ‘heart,’ “leb,” can also be translated as ‘mind’ (NAS Exhaustive Concordance). Therefore, this God-inspired proverb calls believers to protect both their hearts and minds when viewing any media; whether it be movies, radio, or the internet.
God wants people to “think about. . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8, NIV). Considering that America is now consuming eight hours of media per day, almost half of their time awake, those eight hours need to be filled with wholesome, worthwhile, and Christ-honoring content. One might try reading scripture as a daily practice, maybe even transforming that into multiple times per day now that the Bible can be found on any electronic device. Bringing the Bible onto your preferred electronic device is a great way to merge one’s faith-life with his or her work or school-life that might have been an otherwise uneasy place to sneak a Bible into.
Another idea is to make media consumption social and not a solitary activity. Most of the time it is agreed that everything is much better with a friend or loved one. Not only is watching movies with friends fun, it is also a great way to hold yourself and the others with you accountable for what kind of content they are allowing into their heart and mind. As the Apostle Paul taught, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, NIV).
Eight hours is a long time commitment. One should always make sure to dedicate this time first and foremost to Christ.