Three Things This Week
1. To Phone or Not to Phone
What it is: Hoping to keep some level of normalcy in their daily lives, most teens are turning to their devices to maintain some sort of social life. But some are choosing to leave their devices behind, at least for a time.
Why it’s monumental: According to the article, “research suggests that high school students are more dependent on social interaction for well-being than any other age group,” so they may be more prone to depression during this time than other age groups if they can’t find that interaction. But being even more dependent on their devices comes with its own challenges, including increasing anxiety from information overload and constant notifications of doom and gloom. So they’ve taken to going on walks sans phones to get away from it all, and they’re discovering how healing it can be. Despite all the atrocity, many are discovering the beauty of slowing down and just being.
What it is: Something that could also be a boost to well-being is actor John Krasinski’s new YouTube channel, Some Good News.
Why it’s a light in the dark: Today’s news shows make it clear that outrage sells, so it can be hard to stay updated when doing so fuels our anxiety, anger, and fear. But despite the headlines, people everywhere keep calmly, quietly, and creatively doing good for their communities. Krasinski explains that after asking Twitter to share stories that made them smile, he was overwhelmed with responses, so he decided to create SGN to share them with the world. The channel can be a welcome reprieve for us all, a reminder that God is at work even in the darkest of times and that His goodness is much more powerful than the dark. Let it also be an encouragement to creatively become the light in our communities.
3. A Gamer’s Paradise
What it is: Forced confinement has caused many to turn to video games to pass the time, with Verizon recently reporting a 102% increase in gaming traffic compared to a normal day.
Why it’s something to monitor: Other platforms like Steam and Twitch are reporting record numbers, while Nintendo, Xbox Live, and Discord experienced outages as they struggled to expand capacity to meet the unexpected demands. And as great of a pastime it can be for gamers stuck at home, parents need to keep enforcing time limits and be aware of new game releases teens might be interested in checking out. Some to research are: DOOM Eternal (rated M, released on PC, PS4, XB1); Animal Crossing: New Horizons (rated E, released on Switch); Half-Life: Alyx (rated M, released on Steam VR); Call of Duty: Warzone (rated M, released on PC, PS4, XB1); and Ori and the Will of the Wisps (rated E, released on PC, XB1). (BTW, we made a free video to spark family discussion about video games during quarantine.)
A Natural Remedy
For 2 years, 13-year-old Anne Frank and her family lived in confinement, quarantined from life due to the spread of a deadly ideology. Hidden in a secret attic above her father’s business, the family lived in constant fear of being exposed. Yet even in the midst of her social isolation, Anne found hope in the natural world, a world she could no longer personally enjoy. In her diary she wrote:
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity…I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.
Even before the onset of COVID-19, most of us lived the majority of our waking moments detached from the natural world, choosing instead to lead a life of self-inflicted incarceration, enslaved by the very technology and screens promising so much freedom.
But as our children are learning (see above), there is a rich life waiting for us out there, free from phones and pixels, radiating the grandeur of God. Even now, in the midst of so much suffering, the world is being reborn. The darkness is fading, the light is winning. Buds are appearing on what looked like lifeless trees, tender shots of grass are emerging from the cold sod, birds have returned and are nesting. It’s as if God’s good creation is gently whispering, “We have hope, so should you.” And if we just go out into it (locally, of course!), we may not only hear creation proclaiming the glory of God, but we just might find relief, respite, communion, and rejuvenation in this time of mutual isolation.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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