Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world, has a recently developed Digital Wellness Center that is catching a lot of attention in the news.
The first of its kind in the nation, the Center for Digital Wellness was launched in 2014, and seems to be interesting students and parents globally.
“I’m here to preserve humanity,” Dr. Sylvia Frejd, the Founder and Executive Director of the center told The College Fix last Friday. “Face to face contact is so important, and the more we are looking down at our screens the less we exercise the muscles of our emotional intelligence. Life is about relationships, with our parents, spouses, friends, kids, and bosses, and we cannot allow technology to erode them.”
“It’s not so much how many hours you’ve been on technology today, it’s really about what the technology is keeping you from in your real life and relationships,” said Frejd said. She is also the co-author of “The Digital Invasion: How Technology is Shaping You and Your Relationships.”
“When our video games stop us from going outside with friends or our phones interrupt our dinner conversations, that is technology’s negative impact,” she said.
“I’m not advocating that we never use technology, but we should teach its usage as we teach healthy eating,” she added. “It’s important to make healthy choices so that we can reach our full potential and avoid addiction.”
Frejd says that in order to “keep our God space,” individuals must have the “silence and solitude needed to reflect and focus.”
“Every religion and spirituality requires this in some form,” she said. “If we become addicted to technology, the distraction it brings will rewire our brain to the point that we lose our capacity to contemplate God.”
“Digital detox can just be eliminating one part of your technology (email, Facebook, etc.),” Frejd added. “Take a break even if it’s just an hour. If you’re going to the bathroom leave your phone. If you’re having lunch or dinner with a friend put your phone away.”
“It’s interesting how many students I talk to that say they could never do the digital detox for 24 hours,” she concluded. “This displays how hard it is for students to unplug, and how necessary it is.”
According to a 2015 edition of the Liberty Journal, the center has “10 Steps to Digital Wellness:”
1. IT’S NOT “I TWEET, THEREFORE I AM.” Think twice before you post, tweet, text, or upload it.
2. WATCH YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS, because they are permanent.
3. UNPLUG. Take a digital “fast” once a week or once a month.
4. INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS. Real people trump virtual ones.
5. ESTABLISH DIGITAL BOUNDARIES. Limit when you use digital devices and how much time you spend on them.
6. FIND THINGS YOU ENJOY DOING IN REAL LIFE and do them.
7. GET OUTSIDE. Take walks, feel the sun, and breathe fresh air.
8. POWER DOWN AND GET SOME SLEEP. Your brain can’t thrive without it.
9. CULTIVATE YOUR “GODSPACE” daily. Take time to be still and know that He is God.
10. BE A GOOD STEWARD. Use technology for God’s glory.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has been a big supporter of the Center for Digital Wellness, joining Dr. Frejd on Fox News earlier this year to discuss the university’s efforts to put a dent in the modern era’s addiction to technology.
As a recent graduate of Liberty University and current law student at Liberty University School of Law, I truly believe that the Center is making a positive impact on students in light of the new digital age. All too often, we become obsessed with checking the social media apps on our phones, sometimes even checking them without realizing that we are doing so. Recognizing the dangers of social media/technology addiction and being wary of its current hold over society today allows us to work towards being better stewards of technology as a whole.