Screen Time Discussion Guide - Week 4

CoreGroup Guide | Screen Time - Part 4

Written by Parker Patton and Denee Bowers

It’s our final week of the Screen Time series! We’ve discussed lots of topics, including binge-streaming and tuning out the world, social media and unhealthy comparisons, dualistic thinking (believing that things can only be black or white), and the impact of each of these things on our mental health, relationships, and faith. This week, we’ll talk about how we can decipher between the “truth” and content we consume that may not necessarily always be real or good.

Opening Prayer
Hey, God. Thank you for the past several weeks of conversations about how we consume media. Be with us as we discuss truth today and help us to discover any insights you may have for us. Keep our eyes on you as we focus in and reflect on the decisions and risks of who to listen to and when. Thank you for your guidance and for the opportunity to gather together today. In your name we pray, Amen.

Ice Breaker
Did you ever play “Truth or Dare” growing up? Were you a “Truth” person or a “Dare” person? Any good stories to share with the group?

The Head
As we come to the final week of our Screen Time series, let’s think about the concept of “truth.” We are bombarded with so many conflicting messages in our current digital age that it can be hard to know where the truth really lies. With the rising popularity of AI content on the web, it’s becoming even more difficult to believe anything we might see or hear.

There are many wonderful verses in the Bible that talk about truth, specifically as it relates to Jesus. For example:

John 1:17 (CEB) the Law was given through Moses, so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.

John 8:31-32 (CEB)
Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teaching. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

John 14:6 (CEB)
Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

  • Which of these verses resonates with you the most, and why?
  • How would you describe the relationship between grace and truth?
  • What do you think it means for grace and truth to come “into being” through Jesus?
  • How does the truth set us free? Free from what? And free for what?
  • What does it mean that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life? How does that belief influence or impact your use of technology?

Another great verse on truth can be found in 1 John:

1 John 4:1-3 (CEB)
Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world. This is how you know if a spirit comes from God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God, and every spirit that doesn’t confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is now already in the world.

  • What might it look like to “test” the spirit of things as we consume media today?
  • The word “antichrist” can mean different things to different people. What is your understanding of the antichrist?
  • Is there any “gray area” between a spirit being of God or of the antichrist? Share an example with the group. 

The Heart
Think about the media you choose to consume, from news articles to TV shows, social media posts to YouTube videos. Reflect on the “spirit” of these things as they relate to God’s truth.

  • Do you ever pause to evaluate whether or not to engage with a piece of media? If so, what factors play a part in your decision to continue, or focus on something else?
  • How do you balance staying informed with avoiding information overload?
  • Have you ever experienced moments of doubt or confusion about what is true or right based on conflicting messages in the media? If so, how did you find clarity?

In the age of artificial intelligence and “fake news,” media literacy is more important than ever. If you’ve never heard of media literacy, it refers to our ability to analyze and think critically about the messages we consume. As we engage with digital media (especially on social platforms), it’s important to take a step back and consider the context and motives driving the content.

  • Think of a time when you may have encountered misinformation, “fake news,” or AI-generated photos/videos. How did you recognize that what you were seeing was not real? What steps did you take to verify the information?
  • Do you believe it's possible to remain completely neutral or unbiased when creating or consuming media? Why or why not?
  • Can you think of a time when you encountered media content that seemed outwardly positive but carried a harmful or deceptive message beneath the surface? Share the example with the group. How did you respond?

To learn more about media literacy and see some examples of questions to ask when critically considering media, be sure to check out the Additional Resources link at the end of this guide.

The Hands
Throughout this series, we have considered many different options for thoughtful engagement with media including:

  • Setting boundaries or time limits when browsing social media or streaming.
  • Taking time to closely analyze who you follow on social platforms.
  • Pausing to reflect on what types of media you choose to engage with.
  • Examining the quality of our connections/relationships with others through social platforms.
  • Thinking critically about the sources of the media we consume.

If you have utilized any of the different practical suggestions over the past few weeks, what were the results? Are there any new media consumption habits you are sticking with?

Closing Prayer
God, thank you so much for our time together today and during this series as a whole. In the words of Psalm 25:4-5, we ask that you please make your ways known to us. Teach us your paths and lead us in your truth, for you are the God who saves us. We put our hope in you, and trust that you are the way, the truth, and the life. Be with us this week and beyond as we continue to prayerfully navigate life in today’s digital world. Reveal to us your truths and bring us always closer to your heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Additional Resources
For a more detailed explanation of media literacy, check out this helpful article from The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE):

NAMLE also has a great one-sheet with thoughtful questions to consider when analyzing media experiences:

From Pastor Charity
ICYMI- More than 250 people gathered for the One CoreGroup Event on April 16. Here’s a link to the follow-up email with the video recording, slide deck, and pictures from the evening. Enjoy!
One CoreGroup One Day

This summer we are starting Summer Hangs, which are a fun way for you to participate in creating the community we each desire. Summer Hangs are activity-based social hang outs around interest and/or location. They can be one-time or recurring and are available in June and July.  Summer Hangs can be anything from bike riding to service projects to fire pits to potluck.You get to create and host them! Click here to Host a Summer Hang.

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