Mindful Manhood Minute: Clickbait

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Clickbait: something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.

How much time do you spend this week clicking away?  How much of your valuable time did you give to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or some other site that is flavor of the month?  For many men it’s either a sports site or a news site that frequents our screens.

And at the end of the day, how often do you feel foolish or guilty for wasting so much time on something so trivial?

Don’t get me wrong, the news is important and pursing information that educates or improves your skills at work or at home are noble pursuits.  But when you spend hours clicking to watch other peoples’ lives instead of connecting with those around you how do you expect your relationships to improve?

Be mindful that clickbait is designed to draw you into someone else’s agenda that in the end makes money for them.  Furthermore, clickbait slowing, but persistently grooms you to desire more.  Clickbait is where an “arousal addiction” begins.

In their 2012 book “The Demise of Guys,” Dr. Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus at Stanford University, and psychologist Nikita Duncan sounded a warning that rattled the mental health field, social media, and entertainment industries.

What we are finding is that men are becoming addicted to the mental and emotional arousal caused by the constant pursuit the new, the novel, the variety, or the surprise factor of the content, much of which the find in video games and online pornography.  The arousal addiction is so consuming that they willingly sacrifice their schoolwork, their employment, and their relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz. 

Zimbardo and Duncan state that, “The consequences are dramatic!”  “The excessive pursuit of the next novel or exciting thing is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school, and employment.”

Clickbait is designed to catch your attention and keep you coming back.  Clickbait promises to make you feel good, excited or surprised, again and again and again.  All the while it manipulates your emotions to draw you deeper into darker and disastrous websites.

Bait: is something used in luring especially to a hook or trap.  And I have seen it hook and trap thousands of men who failed to see that they were being groomed to cross lines never intended.  Clever web-masters pride themselves in making it difficult to see the hook hidden in the bait.  The more time you spend constantly clicking the more likely you are to betray your beliefs and find yourself hooked on dangerous, dark and often pornographic content that consumes every moment your day.

Right now, you might be saying to yourself, “I don’t or won’t allow myself to go that far”. Yet you continue to click your life away watching other people, families, or celebrities love, laugh and live lives that you wish you had.  Most of which leaves you feeling lonely, insecure and unfulfilled.

It doesn’t have to stay this way, but changing this will require persistence, perseverance and patience like never before.

Remember Thomas Jefferson’s words, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”.

Start by making every effort to reduce the time you spend on your computer, tablet or phone.  Set a timer to begin setting limits and remind you it’s time to live your own life. Ask someone you trust to hold you accountable and even take your tablet or phone so that you won’t be tempted.

Work with a trusted friend, counselor or coach to identify what is causing you to be so susceptible to this bait.  Doing this will require you to be transparent.   I love how my friend Tina Konkin, Founder and Director of Relationship Lifeline puts it: “You can’t heal what you don’t or won’t reveal” 

Purposely seeking out resources that help you develop and deepen your relationship with one healthy person, a friend, family member, colleague or one of the men at your church or at work.

My blogs are a great place to start.  You will find tips, tools and resources to help you discover how to forge relationships that last.  Commit to listen to or reading resources that help you become the man God created you to be. There are some awesome audio book apps that allow you to take it with you and be part of your restoration. Your local library has hundreds of books in print or CD that won’t cost you a dime.

Turn the time you are wasting chasing “bait” into productive time pursing with passion becoming the man that God created you to be.  A valiant man who courageously develops and exhibits an unwavering friendship grounded by a deeply devoted love and affection with family, friends and a fellowship of other healthy men.  Men like this change the lives they touch every day.

This was also Paul’s encouragement to Timothy; “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17

“God will thoroughly equip you for every good work”.  For only God can transform you from a broken man into a blessed man.  Blessed men change the world!

If today’s blog resonated with you, make sure you sign up to receive blogs when posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Also check out Tina Konkin’s relationship restoration resources and retreats at  Relationship Lifeline: https://relationshiplifeline.org/.

That’s why we are here. Unbreakablebond.org/ was created to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.

I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you’re wanting to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘rturner@unbreakablebond.org’.  My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.

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