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Report: Media Discernment Needed, Excessive Screen Time Negatively Affects Cognitive Development in Teens

Art by Milad Fakurian via Unsplash

Report: Media Discernment Needed, Excessive Screen Time Negatively Affects Cognitive Development in Teens

By Movieguide® Staff

A new study conducted by neuroscientists at UNC found that increased screen time is negatively affecting children’s cognitive development.

Today, 97% of teenagers are online at some point every day and almost 46% are online for a majority of the day, the study reports.

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of iGen, echoes the study’s findings.

“There is a substantial link to depression, and that link tends to be stronger among girls… The more time the teen, particularly a teen girl, spends using social media, the more likely it is that she will be depressed,” Twenge told the Daily Wire.

Moreover, one of the largest contributing factors is the rampant immorality found in the media.

Series like HBO’s EUPHORIA and Netflix’s 13 REASONS WHY champion excess, including graphic sexual content, violence, and drug use.

While these shows operate under the guise of education and prevention, in reality they only encourage the behavior that is depicted on screen.

According to the Daily Wire:

HBO’s “Euphoria” is a teen-targeted program that has shown adults raping children and full-frontal male and female nudity (of both adult and teen characters); has mainstreamed underage drinking and illicit drug use, and has barraged viewers with explicit language. “Euphoria” revels in this darkness, offering nary a glimmer of hope to anyone struggling with drug addiction or other trauma. HBO markets “Euphoria” to teens on TikTok, where video clips have been viewed over a billion times.

Netflix’s teen-targeted suicide drama, “13 Reasons Why,” was associated with a 28.9% increase in suicide rates among U.S. youth ages 10-17 in the month (April 2017) following the show’s release, after accounting for ongoing trends in suicide rates. After a groundswell of public condemnation, Netflix eventually removed the graphic suicide scene from the program, but the series is still available to watch.

Media discernment is a growing necessity to protect the mental health of our youth.

Movieguide® ‘s founder and publisher Dr. Ted Baehr writes on the importance of the cognitive development stage to be guided by discernment, especially when it comes to media, in his book ‘The Media Wise Family.’

Many children become obsessed with electronic devices – be it video games or social media. Some wind up in doctor’s offices being prescribed dangerous medications to deal with soul problems. Suicide is the result of a massive bout of soul sickness.

In 2014, a young man named Elliot Rodger killed six people, injured 14 others and then killed himself, because his soul was cancerous. He was angry that girls didn’t want to fornicate with him even though he considered himself attractive. He concluded he had been cheated in life and that only murderous revenge would satisfy his angry soul.

Happily, such tragedies are rare, but everyone experiences ups and downs in their soul’s health. Frustration, anger, stress, and depression are like your soul having a cold or flu. Long-term soul sickness can make a person very undesirable.

Those with a happy soul are more pleasant, but many people seek happiness by traveling down paths that lead to great unhappiness. Many people seek happiness in ways the media presents as attractive when in reality they’re not. There are a lot of movies and songs that feature angry youth spouting vulgarity. When done in real life, it’s been known to result in violence.

Let’s take just one simple example. If your soul is filled with bitterness, your body gets filled with destructive hormones. You’re looking for opportunities to get revenge – possibly even with violence.

True happiness, however, comes from within you. It comes from knowing God and walking with God. This cure starts with repentance, faith and forgiveness (see Mark 1:15). Apply this cure to your soul, and the body’s hormones change. The lust for revenge goes away. You can live in peace. Ultimately, the happiness that comes from knowing God is a moral imperative from God. As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Read More: Robby Baehr Offers Parenting Tips To Manage Screen Time on Latest ‘Familyguide’ Video