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Entertainment addiction is dumbing down a generation

My friend Andrew Lewis and I were sitting at a café drinking some great Colombian coffee last week when he made a remarkable statement, “26 year olds today have the emotional maturity of 21 year-olds of our generation and the 16 year olds of the generation before ours (the Silent generation)….
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

My friend Andrew Lewis and I were sitting at a café drinking some great Colombian coffee last week when he made a remarkable statement, “26 year olds today have the emotional maturity of 21 year-olds of our generation

and the 16 year olds of the generation before ours (the Silent generation).

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“It’s because young people, instead of interacting with real life issues, are caught up in an entertainment addiction.”

“Why does that suppress emotional maturity?”

“Because people develop emotionally as they interact with other people and as they make decisions about life issues. Instead of learning how to read people, they’re playing video games and watching movies

and do not experience the results of their decisions. They cannot face decisions .”

“Is it that bad?”

“No, it’s even worse than that. Parents compound the problem by protecting their children from the hard edges of reality; they protect them from the consequences of their children’s bad decisions.”

“So you’re saying, ‘The result of protecting kids from the consequences of their actions is to fill the world with fools?’”


My five kids are 16-22 and struggling of life issues. I left the conversation feeling better about the fact.

Comments (8)

  • Thanks for the encouragement. (Going against the current can truly make us a “peculiar people.” ) What a tough culture in which to raise children sensitive to the Lord and others. This entertainment pull is very strong and it does dull the spirit. Even after a 3 month fast from movies, we find “temperance is a higher virtue than abstinence.” It’s the ongoing discipline. During the Iron Curtain days, I stayed with a Romanian pastor and his family in Oregon. He was pulling out his hair with his Romanian refugee congregation because they knew how to live for the Lord under persecution, but they were losing their devotion under entertainment and materialism. I never forgot that wake-up call.

  • Something we didn’t discuss is… the impact of “control-z”, or the UNDO command on our culture. While this is the greatest invention within the personal computer, the phenomena has crept into our culture. People are afraid to make real life decisions because the UNDO command does not exist in the real world. Playing video games is experiencing conflict with the UNDO command.

  • WOW! I like what is being said here about our youth not being able to deal in real life relationship situations. It appears to me that they have been “neutered” to life’s struggles either through drugs, sex, violence, religion, overprotection, media, and hyper-dreaming of fame(movie, music, & sport stars). When we made the decision as homeschoolers to bring in therapuetic foster kids with mryiad of problems, we were blasted by most of our family, church friends, & foes as to the negative effect these “type” of youth will have on Matt & Mary. And it not has not been easy balancing the world view and the Christian view in the same household – but the Lord has been graceful. And a really great decision was to attend & work in a christian school for a year, and with a mission organization where my children were persecuted by other believers youth & adults, and had to learn to give forgiveness to those who were supposed to be lights of the Lord. We had trained them for world persecution(Corrie Ten Boon, Jesus Freaks, Brother Andrew, Nora Lamb, etc..), but had failed to prepare them for persecution from those who name Christ. So now I must sit back and allow them to call upon the name of the Lord to save, heal, and deliver them from the betrayal and letdown of the neutered ones, hoping and praying they will have soft hearts that the Lord can heal and work with. Simply put..they have to hear from the Lord. <><

  • Mark – Man, what a shame to hear of your bravery and then of others responding out of fear and parochialism. We know we are called to be strangers here on earth, but you hope to have the encouragement of brothers and sisters in faith.

  • My interaction with my evangelical Christian peers (I am university student) has revealed a startling truth, namely that the emotional, cognitive, moral and ethical development of my evangelical generation has been greatly hampered by the unfortunate tendency to deem all that is other as bad or “evil”. This nonsensical propensity has prevented the majority of post-adolescent evangelicals from wading through the maturing waters of personal growth and spirit-led discernment. For example, instead of discerning what a healthy, Christ modeled sexuality looks like, evangelical Christians simply adopt Joshua Harris’ genophobic (fear of sex) posture of life and fail to discern and develop their own-biblically based understanding of this facet of life. More trajic is the fact that they deem such posture as laudable while the fact remains that it is unhealthy, unrealistic and nonsensical. More importantly, instead seeking an understanding of the intrinsic relationship between their faith and social justice, evangelicals simply run around the globe with their tracts in hand, failing to see that their faith actually opposes such ethnocentric practices. Having said this, I believe Andrew’s original comment, though partially true, is too generalized to carry any sufficient weight. Rather, I believe that it is more applicable to the Western Evangelical paradigm.

  • Barbara Lancaster

    I have wondered for a while what this current generation will be like in 20 yrs. It appears to me that they thrive and often times need to be entertained. When I was a kid and we went on vacation, we sang songs, played license tag games, and yes, frequently stared out the window and gazed at the scenery! I somehow seemed to survive, learned how to be quiet when I needed to be and how to entertain myself! What have we (society) done, we give kids and adults, more ways to ‘ be ‘ entertained. Videos/DVD’s in cars…game boys….Playstations….IPoD…cell phones….on and on eek! Yes, I have given in to some of the technology, and my boys have had the game boys, but I was the mean mom and made them have time limits and restrictions. It will be interesting to see what comes.
    Thanks again Seth for thought provoking articles.
    God Bless

  • That is amazing. I never really knew things like this happend. After reading some pages of this certain book. I realized some of these things. The Book is called” Fahrenheit 451.” Its one of the best books ever written. And it tells you how entertainment has basically brainwashed us. I really recomend everyone to read this book, its very inspiring. It lets you know a lot. And keeps you thinking. I know think about life and see it in a different prospective than I used to. I used tio watch cartoons all day. But I guarantee this book a good read or you can sew,no one. But I mean it Read the book its awsome.

  • i actually wandered upon this page while researching FOR Fahrenheit 451. It’s ironic how that book has been banned from school districts and at one point, censored.
    After all, the book is about becoming numb and addicted to technology/entertainment, and censorship.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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