(Photo by Maylin Rowe)
By Samantha Dammann
Television and the internet have become integral parts of the human life. While I am far from labeling these pieces of technology as evil or corrupt, I do recognize that they can be engaged with in unhealthy ways. Issues arise when people use devices like television and the internet to replace or avoid other aspects of their lives. In these instances, an amoral object with the potential to be used in a moral manner is being abused.
As a college student, Netflix is the device that I see most people interacting with. College is a stressful time full of an enormous amount of intellectual work. Sometimes all college students want is to shut their brains down for an hour or two. As a result, most people turn to Netflix when they want a break. While most people have some sort of a relationship with Netflix,
there are some who seem to be obsessed with it. More often than not this obsession isn’t yearlong, but seasonal. The nagging question is what causes these seasons of excessive Netflix usage to occur?
While the list of reasons is most likely as numerous as the amount of people that use Netflix, two of these reasons seem to be the desire to replace and to avoid. Netflix, like many other substances, can be used to replace things that are missing from our lives, and to avoid the things we wish weren’t in our lives. In my own life, I have seen myself engage too frequently with Netflix when feeling lonely or experiencing an emotion I did not want to deal with. I replaced my lack of friends with television shows about people and avoided my uncomfortable emotions by distracting myself. Television is both entertaining and numbing. It occupies your mind and distracts it.
When we choose to numb ourselves to the difficult aspects of our lives, or try to sweep them under the rug, we are closing ourselves off from the work that God could be doing in those areas. Instead of asking God to work through my emotions or open my eyes to the purpose of having them, I acted as if they weren’t there. Netflix is just one way that people numb themselves to the hard-to-swallow parts of their lives, and this behavior can be carried out through other substances. Psalm 145:18-19 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them,” (NIV). God will answer us if we call on him. Instead of avoiding your issues and abusing objects that should be used for good, turn to God. Face your difficulties head on, knowing that God is able to work in all circumstances.