Week 2

Protecting the Least of These?

Scripture: Matthew 18: 1-6; John 8:32; John 18: 37-38

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.


Please note that this video has one word that is considered inappropriate, but the content is critical.  Please also note that there is political dialogue in the conversation that is neither endorsed nor not endorsed.

Tech’s Immediate and Existential Threat to Humanity


Utilizing the passage above, the video, and today’s sermon, consider the following questions:

  1. Why do you think Jesus was so harsh in his response? How critical is it that we take action in our lives to keep from harming others?
  2. Look at the following techniques of persuasive technologies. Which were you aware of? Which were new to you? And what was left off the list?
    • Varying unscheduled rewards are doled out 24 hours a day, somewhat like having a slot machined attached to ones person.
      • Auto- start next video with countdown loop has a psychological reward at the end of a five second wait
      • Having to hit refresh to get new information is psychologically the same pleasure center as pulling the handle on a slot machine.
      • We receive hundreds of notifications daily that cue there is a social reward waiting (response, picture, like, etc.)
    • Use of algorithmic auto-recommendations designed to keep a person watching for as long as possible to increase drive ad revenue
      • Newsfeeds on news pages and social media are geared to what the algorithms perceive as an individuals interest, designed to keep that interest engaged.
      • Most Youtube views come not because of a search, but because of auto recommendations, extending the time on the site and seeing (often annoying) ads
  3. Look at the following dangers of technology. Which were you aware of? Which were new to you? And what was left off the list?
    • It is possible to make video and audio of anyone saying anything, so it is not really possible to know what is true or real.
    • Social validation is a biological attraction that we can not really turn off. Technology companies use it as a means of keeping persons engaged, but for the adolescent mind need for such validation makes them very vulnerable.
      • Pictures of friends having fun without them
      • Needing to alter photos to improve perceived body image
      • Snapchat Streaks in which persons feel pressured to keep a streak of responses continuing
    • Feelings of loneliness because virtual exchanges are substituted for real human interaction.
    • Auto-recommendations left to their own algorithms can move from mainstream to conspiracy theory by the fifth video.
    • Increased screen time decreases social learning from face-to-face contact and reactions.
  4. Look at the following best practices for technology. Which were you aware of? Which were new to you? And what was left off the list?
    • Look at videos like https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=pEM3PPEVzVE or or other information together as a family so that everyone can see how the brain can be tricked and how the profit model works for electronic media.
    • Develop a plan together as a family.
    • Apply the rules to everyone, parents especially!
    • Delay, Delay, Delay – Start with a rotary dial flip phone and stay there as long as possible.
    • Substitute better non-technology options, don’t just prohibit electronics
    • Create stopping cues in your household such as dinner time, cool-off time, etc.
    • Agree that certain times are electronics-free and EVERYONE puts the phones in a box.
    • Apple ecosystems have a great deal of parental control options if set up correctly.
    • Move electronics away from beds, or have them recharge in a separate room.
    • Use grey scale on screens – colors are like mini slot machines to the brain.
    • Consider using a service like Circle by Disney at https://meetcircle.com/ Parents can give time limits; filter according to content like child, teen, adult; or completely shut off all systems.