The Digital Inva
Cynthia: This is Cynthia, with Heart of the Matter radio, for women who want to obey God in a less than perfect world.
1 Peter 4:7 says “be of sound mind for the purpose of prayer”, and that word sound mind has to do with being sober, being in your right mind, as opposed to being thrown out of place. Today we are absolutely barraged with media from every direction. Cell phones, texting, instant message, Skype, Facebook. At times it seems as if we can’t have a moment of silence.
Today I have with me Sylvia Frejd and she has written a book called Digital Invasion. Welcome, Sylvia.
Sylvia: Thank you, Cyndi, so much, for having me.
Cynthia: Why are you so passionate about this digital invasion topic, Sylvia?
Sylvia:Well, I like to say the digital invasion came to my home. And really, as I was doing the research, I spent three years researching the book, I really had my own wake up call to my son’s digital addiction. Specifically to video gaming. And it was amazing how I really didn’t see it coming and woke up, as I was doing the research, and realized oh my goodness. I think he’s digitally addicted. But it wasn’t just a wake up call for him, it was also for myself, that I had to really look up my own relationship with technology and realize I was checking my smartphone every few minutes and I would sit on my laptop until bedtime. And my kids would come to me and start saying Mom, you’re digitally invaded.
So it was a wakeup call on a personal level for myself, but also in really having to come to grips with my son’s digital addiction. Which I think I was slightly aware of, but really seeing the research and the signs I really had to face that.
Cynthia: I remember sitting at a resort in Mexico, an exclusive resort in Mexico, and there was a couple beside me at another table. They’re eating, but they both were on their cell phones. And I’m thinking what an awesome opportunity to build relationships. You don’t have you kids, family. You have each other and you’re both on your cell phones.
Sylvia: You know, it is so true. And any time I speak on this topic that seems to be the theme that comes up. That people say, you know, everywhere I go, in restaurants, vacation, wherever you go, people are with a group of people but they’re really alone. They think they’re connecting, but it’s through electronic venue and not in a face to face way. And it’s really redefining, I think, our society, and how we do relationships. And it really concerns me.
Cynthia: Well, you said something about relationships. We are obviously doing a lot of communicating. But are we actually building relationships?
Sylvia: Yes. And that’s really what we’re seeing today in our digital world, is we are the hyper connected generation. That’s what they call us, the generation C. So many connections with the Twitter and the LinkedIn and the texting and the Facebook. So we’re having a lot of connections. But, Cyndi, what we’re really not having is conversations. And from a counseling perspective to have intimacy in a relationship you really have to have conversation, where we don’t just transmit information, but I talk about my feelings. What’s on my heart, what’s inside of me.
Technology is great for transmitting information, but it’s not a good venue for emotion. And that’s really what concerns me is that in some ways we’re developing a relationship with our technology that many people say they prefer over their real relationships.
Cynthia: So then what is the difference between a digital connection and a face to face connection?
Sylvia:  So what happens is in our digital connections it’s sound bites. Whether it’s a Facebook post, I mean if we really add it up, our texts and our posts and emails, if we were really to add them all up they really don’t even add up, at least mine wouldn’t, to a really good conversation. And so we can’t just, in little sound bites, have meaningful conversation.
The face to face, looking each other’s eyes, hearing the voice, the inflections. There’s so much  more that’s transmitted that, again, God just did not design us to communicate on that level.
Cynthia: So you’re saying that we’re actually missing the real emotional depth.
Sylvia:  Right. And the attachments. God has made us for attachments. With himself first, with each other, and that attachment style, we all have to, there’s things that have to happen in a person to develop a good attachment.
So a person has to feel seen, and valued, and heard, in order to develop this secure attachment, we call that in counseling. And if you don’t develop that then you’ll have an insecure attachment, which causes a lot of marriage problems, it causes problems when we go to parent ourselves because then we transfer that attachment style to our children. And those elements, in the digital world, when you think about it, feeling seen and valued and heard, in many ways we feel we’re heard because we make these posts. But they’re very one-sided. We really made ourselves the performers and everyone else the audience, because we just sort of make a post, we make a declaration, but it’s really not a two-way conversation.
Cynthia: I’ve heard people say that the Facebook is more a narcissistic thing where we try to say something cute to get people to respond to us. And the more that respond the better we feel about ourselves.
Sylvia:  Right. You know, it’s actually called the Goldilocks effect. Where we want to just tweak that post, or tweak that text just right, so we say just the right thing. And a lot of it, especially the young people that tell me I don’t like face to face communication, I like the texting because it’s safer. I can delete delete and just try it again, and they can get it just right.
But like I said, I think making our friends our audience to where it’s more of a performance, is really not what real relationships are. Real relationships are messy. I say the wrong thing, I have to say I’m sorry, I have to rethink that. That’s really how we do relationships.
Cynthia: Yeah. And unfortunately it’s that pain that makes us grow. That’s hard. In the digital world, especially with women, that urge to multitask and we feel like we’re getting so much done. But are we really being efficient?
Sylvia:  Well, you know the research is very clear on this, that we can’t multitask. And that even computers don’t multitask. It’s called multi-sequencing where they’re doing one thing and then the next, then the next, and they may be able to, if you’ve got a really good processor, do that really fast. But even within that, again, is not the way God has designed us.
Now, there’s simple things we can do. Like we can listen to music and drive. People say well, that’s multitasking. It’s really not. And again, the research is very clear. When you multitask you reduce your effectiveness. You actually reduce your performance, and you reduce your ability to learn. And we really see that with, especially with our kids when they’ve got music in one ear and they’re texting a friend and they’re trying to write a paper. It really doesn’t work because you actually, you’re shifting from task to task and every time you go back to the other thing you were doing, you have to have that time to regain your thoughts or whatever.

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