The Kitchen Table #17: Are There Ways to Follow Christ on a Smart Phone?

The Kitchen Table is a weekly discussion between Shine.FM’s Ministry Director Brian McIntyre and his 18 year-old son Jake. In this episode, the duo look at the benefits and pitfalls of technology on faith. Plus, in Music Matters a look at:  Avril Lavigne–Head Above Water, Housefires–Jesus, What a Savior,  Corey Asbury–Reckless, and a classic from First Call–Sweet Love.  Finally, in Culture Shock, the pair break down the nuances of parenting in the digital world. Follow along on The Kitchen Table Facebook Group on the Shine.FM Facebook page.

New Research on the Impact of Social Media

Some new research is out on the impact of social media on our lives—and it’s not exactly good news.

According to a story on, researchers observed groups of middle school, high school and college students as they were studying.  Within two minutes, many of them were texting, tweeting, surfing the Web, watching TV or updating their Facebook page.

In fact after 15 minutes, the scientists found that students had spent just 65% of their time, actually studying.

Meanwhile, according to the folks at, six out of 10 employees visit social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter while on the clock.

And we’re interrupted, on average, once every 10.5 minutes by instant messages, Facebook messages and tweets.

After those interruptions, it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back on task.

By the way, Relevant Magazine recently featured an insightful article by blogger Shauna Niequist.  Commenting on the impact of social networking, Shauna says:

Everyone’s life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths—we get to decide what people see and what they don’t.

[But] community—the rich kind, the transforming kind, the valuable and difficult kind—doesn’t happen in partial truths and well-edited photo collections on Instagram.

Community happens when we hear each other’s actual voices, when we enter one another’s actual homes, with actual messes, around actual tables telling stories that ramble on beyond 140 pithy characters.”

To read the entire article, go to and enter “Instagram” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

The Impact of Mobile Technology on Teens and Young Adults

What impact is mobile technology having on teens and young adults?

According to a new study from Kent State University, the more time college students spend talking, texting, Facebooking or surfing the Internet on their smartphones, the more likely they are to be anxious, unhappy and get lower grades.

Plugged reports on the research, in which students kept a record of their mobile phone use.  They also took psychological tests designed to measure anxiety and life satisfaction.

Andrew Lepp, the co-author of the study says “The lower frequency users use their phone to keep in touch, check the Web and update Facebook but they can put it away and get on with other tasks.”

“But the higher users are not able to control it and are glued to the cellphone. They need to unplug and find some personal time where they can disconnect from the network.”

Dr. Lepp says we all need time to be alone with our thought and recover from the daily stresses of life in a way that doesn’t involve electronic media.

Meanwhile, some teenagers are sleeping with their cellphones—and sending texts during the night without any memory of it the next morning.

Dr. Gerald Rosen, who leads the pediatric sleep disorders program at Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota, believes teens are being conditioned to respond to their phones almost like a mother responds to her baby.

He says “If you’re a mother, you awaken to the sound of your child crying.  Even if it’s not a loud noise, it will trigger an awakening. That’s essentially what’s happening with lots of kids with their phones.”

Dr. Rosen also believes there are deeper problems to explore when anyone is so attached to a piece of technology that they have to sleep with it.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Lisa’s Home School: E-Readers

Lisa shares some interesting information on how E-Readers help people with specific reading disabilities. Listen here:

Lisa’s Home School: E-Readers

Teen Texting Risks

Here’s another reason to put the brakes on teens texting while driving. It’s well known that texting behind the wheel greatly increases the risk of accidents, but what else may be happening?

Research links teens who regularly text while driving to other risky behaviors behind the wheel, including not using seatbelts and drinking and driving. One risk often leads to another.

This is nothing to “lol” about. Talk to your teen about texting while driving, strive to build a strong, close relationship, and lead by example. If you drive and text, don’t obey speed limits or practice other risky behaviors, why shouldn’t they?

If you have a comment or question for the New Shine.FM wellness expert Dr. Walt Larimore, visit the wellness expert page at Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Are Digital Devices Contributing To The Rise In ADHD?

Could ADHD be linked to smartphones?

About 6 million children in the United States—or about one out of every 10—have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.   Now, experts wonder whether the mobile devices we carry around might have something to do with that number.

According to a story on, research done by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that ADHD numbers began to surge just as smartphones hit the market.

And because kids engage with digital screens so much differently than they do with real-life activities, some experts believe all that screen time may negatively impact their ability to focus.

By the way, the amount of time people spend engaged in all forms of media has now risen to 11 hours, 52 minutes per day.  Clark Fredricksen, vice president of eMarketer says “It’s clear that time spent with media is still increasing as a result of multitasking.”

In other youth culture news, some disturbing new stats are out on dating violence. A nationwide survey on the issue was presented at a recent American Psychological Association conference.

The survey included more than 1,000 teens, and it found that 41% of girls and 37% of boys say they’ve been physically, emotionally or sexually abused on a date.

Here’s one surprising fact that reflects how our culture has been pushing girls to be more aggressive: more girls than boys said they had abused a dating partner.  35% of girls said they’d been abusive―compared to 29% of boys.

By the way, if your son or daughter has experienced this kind of abuse,  I’d encourage you to contact my friends at Focus on the Family.  They operate a free telephone counseling service and can refer your family to a licensed Christian therapist in your area.  The number is 1-800-A-FAMILY.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Facebook Users—Is Your Brain In The “Machine Zone?”

According to a story on, Facebook, Twitter and other social media users can spend hours scrolling through newsfeeds or flipping through friends’ pictures. And some experts believe that these users may fall into a mental state similar to those who play slot machines.

It’s called the “machine zone,” where the very repetition of the spinning disks soothes gamblers.

Atlantic columnist Alex Madrigal says “The machine zone is anti-social, and it’s characterized by a lack of human connection. You might be looking at people when you look through photos, but your interactions with their digital presences are mechanical, repetitive, and reinforced by computerized feedback.”

Here’s another interesting item on social networking.  As you may have heard, several studies have shown that Facebook can undermine people’s happiness because of the way it showcases other people’s idealized lives.

But some experts believe that Instagram—with it’s almost exclusive focus on pictures—may be even more damaging.

Cataline Toma, with the Communications Department at the University of Wisconsin says: “You spend so much time creating flattering, idealized images of yourself, sorting through hundreds of images for that one perfect picture, but you don’t necessarily grasp that everybody else is spending a lot of time doing the same thing,”

And Hanna Krasnova, of Humboldt University in Berlin, adds, “You get more explicit and implicit cues of people being happy, rich and successful from a photo than from a status update. A photo can very powerfully provoke immediate social comparison, and that can trigger feelings of inferiority.”

As I’ve mentioned before, the Bible has a different perspective.  It reminds us that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Setting A Good Example When It Comes To Texting & Driving

Do you have teenage drivers at home?  If so, do you ask them to live by different rules than you do?

Telling your kid about the danger of texting and driving won’t do any good if you pick up your smartphone while cruising down the freeway.

Research shows that starting at about age 11 or 12, your child begins paying attention to your driving habits and noting consciously or subconsciously all the things you do.

According to research by Liberty Mutual Insurance, 91% of kids have seen their parents talking on a cellphone while driving,

88 percent have observed their parents speeding.  And 59 percent said their parents have sent text messages while driving!

If you’re part of that 59 percent, could I encourage you to prayerfully consider the message you are sending to your kids?

How do you like that photo of yourself on Facebook?  Would you believe more than FOUR OUT OF TEN women have enhanced pictures of themselves before posting them online?

Researchers say digital photos are making women more camera-shy than ever, with mounting pressures to look good when the images are shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Eight in ten women say having their photo taken and then uploaded on to a social network makes them more anxious about their looks than speaking in public, going on a first date or going to a job interview!

As you consider that story, remember these words from 1 Samuel 16:7: The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Shine Family Expert

“Digital Dementia” In Kids & Americans Want More “Face To Face” Interaction

Some South Korean doctors are worried that children in their country are suffering from a new form of brain syndrome brought about by overuse of digital media.

The physicians call the condition “digital dementia,” and they say constant tech use may be causing an imbalance between the right and left sides of the brain.

The brain’s left side controls reasoning and language functions, and it given a heavy workout by digital devices.

But the more creative right side of the brain doesn’t get nearly as much attention when using digital media, and the doctors say it leaves it “untapped or underdeveloped,”

By the way, South Korea has the highest smartphone ownership in the world, with more than two-thirds of its citizens owning one.

Here at home, many of us say they although we like using social media, what we REALLY want is to spend more time with our loved ones.

More than 90-percent of those responding to a new Chinet poll say social media has helped them catch up with people they haven’t seen in a while, and they appreciate that technology gives them a way to stay in touch with others on a regular basis.

But the majority of Americans are also finding that technology-generated interactions are less fulfilling.  More than 80-percent say they miss spending meaningful time and sharing special moments with the people they care about.

Three out of four people in the poll said social media encounters lack the emotional depth of actual gatherings, and they miss feeling like they are “truly part of a group.”

Since God has designed us for close, meaningful relationships, this doesn’t surprise me.  1 Peter 1:22 tells us to “love one another deeply, from the heart.”

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Shine Family Expert