Media has an influence on adolescents. The question is: is the influence positive or negative? As society seeks to find answers to the rise in adolescent addiction, a 2013 survey by the National Institute for Drug Abuse (2015) 22.6% of all teenagers reported using an illicit drug, many people are focusing on media both as a cause and a potential solution. Due to the accessibility of media through technology, this generation is exposed to an unprecedented amount external influences. Whether through TV, news or social media, teens use these mediums as measuring sticks for how they should feel, look and think. This influence coupled with their impressionability, as well as, the increasing amount of single parent homes has caused an epidemic in adolescent drug addiction. To go a bit further, statistics show that the average attention span has reduced from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013, one second short of the average attention span of a goldfish: 9 seconds. (Microsoft Canada, 2013). Do these statistics show a cause to or just reveal the problems of addiction with our youth? The answer, to me, lies in one’s understanding of the causes of addiction.

Most people will agree that addiction is someone trying to fill an internal void with an external object or habit. Christian counselors take it a bit further to say that we are filling a “God-shaped hole”. A hole that only God can fill.

Scripture tells us 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 English Standard Version).

If this hole of addiction can only be filled with God, the question becomes: how can we leverage media and technology to help teens find God?

To be continued…

by Carl Culver