Several opinions from Russian experts. What is yours?
Now many Orthodox people complain that they are being absorbed by social networks, many have become addicted to the Internet. The “Orthodox View” turned to priests and experts with the question of whether to use social networks and the Internet, if so, to what extent, and how to get rid of Internet addiction.
Archpriest Oleg Stenyaev,
Cleric of the Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist in Sokolniki, a writer, theologian, publicist, preacher,and missionary
It is necessary to make a Great Exodus from the Internet. The worst devil is the time eater. We download movies that we don’t watch, books that we don’t read. A person who has entered the Internet since the morning loses all day there, therefore it is necessary to make a mass exodus from the Internet, leaving only responsible missionary groups there.
Ordinary people do not need the Internet as a source of information, they only receive harm from it, especially children. Read the Holy Scriptures and there you will find the information that the whole world lies in evil. If we talk about clerics, they should use the Internet for missionary purposes, because Christ also went to hell. The Internet is the territory of the enemy, in which united missionary groups must operate.
Archpriest Alexi Shlapin,
Rector of the Church of the Great Martyr Dmitry of Thessalonica, in the D. Ivakino Mozhaiskogo district of the Moscow region
I clearly defined for myself that the Internet, social networks and various forums are a means of disseminating information, and not an alternative to the existing reality or, moreover, a departure from it. The Internet provides an opportunity to preach to the greatest possible number of people and engage in catechism.
But if a person perceives social networks as an alternative to reality, then this is already an addiction that hurts the soul. And with this addiction, above all, the passion of despondency is satisfied. It is not useful for everyone to be on the Internet, because if you do not have any practical or spiritual benefits from using the Internet, you need to prevent yourself from using it. I use the Internet when there is a need for it, I do not limit myself and do not notice the time spent on the Internet. If I need to preach a sermon or write an important text, then I can spend a lot of time on the Internet, and if I feel that the Lord does not allow me to do this or I just have nothing to say, then in that case I try not to go online. Such a conscious limitation of oneself can also be useful. But, again, not in terms of preaching and real affairs, but in terms of using the Internet and social networks as entertainment. You can not spend time on entertainment on the Internet.
Michael Khasminsky, Orthodox psychologist
We must learn to get rid of Internet addiction, and this is a deep and hard work on yourself. Internet addiction is like alcoholism or any other form of addiction. The energy that goes to addiction, you need to send in a creative direction. On the Internet, you need to do creative work, and not to play all sorts of online toys or endlessly look through motivators.
If a person spends 24 hours a day on the Internet in search of any nonsense, what is the time management ?! This is already an addiction. Time management can be applied only by the person who can control himself. It is necessary to deal with the soul, because any dependence is a way to get away from the traumatic reality.
Why is it hard to live in reality? Because the soul is sick and it is bad for it, being dependent, you are in a different state, for some time you seem to be disconnected from reality. Holistic people who are fine in reality, who have a healthy soul, are much less susceptible to various kinds of addiction. But, of course, to answer this question in a few words is impossible. The comment format does not allow this. This is a big problem that requires deep understanding, tremendous work on oneself and under certain conditions can lead to a significant victory of the soul over addiction.
Candidate of Historical Sciences,
Senior Researcher, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS)
But how does an Orthodox person relate to temptation? Is it worth being afraid of it, and all the more so to say that “I cannot control myself”? What is the fundamental difference from drunkenness or gluttony, for example? After all, a person needs food, and alcohol in small doses, as modern medicine says, is at least not harmful. And with the help of the same Internet, we communicate here, on the Orthodox View portal, and have the opportunity to receive current information and instructions in the faith. Is it bad? Particularly zealous representatives of the Catholic Church and typography tried to ban it at one time. This did not lead to anything good, and the Orthodox Church, fortunately, did not make such mistakes.
It is only the indulgence of one's passions that is ruining, and not the very fact that there is within reach fried meat during the fast, bottles of vodka in the morning or the possibility of accessing the Internet in an apartment. Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and indeed two thousand years of experience in dealing with the passions and evils pernicious to body and soul, which Christianity has, gives a great number of examples of a peaceful attitude to secular skills among the children of the Church. I will only recall a quote from the Epistle of Paul to the Romans: “Take the weak in faith without arguing about opinions. For others are sure that you can eat everything, and the weak eat vegetables. Whoever eats, do not humiliate the one who does not eat; and who does not eat, do not judge the one who eats, because God accepted him. Who are you to judge another's slave? He stands before his Lord, or falls. And he will be restored, for God is able to restore him. The other day is different from the day, and the other judges every day equally. Every act according to the witness of your mind ”(Rom. 14: 1-5). It seems to me that this contains an exhaustive answer to the question asked.
Igumen Sergei (Ribko),
The Rector of the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles in Lazarevskoye Cemetery and the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Bibirev, Famous Missionary
I personally do not use the Internet; my assistants use the Internet. Everyone has to solve this issue for himself, because now you can’t use the Internet at all, other times you can, but you can decide to what extent this is necessary. Most importantly, it should not be to the detriment of the soul. As stated in the First Epistle of the holy Apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is useful; everything is permissible for me, but nothing shall possess me ”(1 Cor. 6:12).
Hieromonk Makari (Markish),
Cleric of the Ivanovo-Voznesensk diocese,
church writer and missionary
This question is strictly personal. As the priests say, "not dogmatic, but pastoral." Indeed, it would be very unwise to impose on people any simple uniform solutions without taking into account the enormous diversity of individual characteristics and conditions.
Internet addiction — is exactly the same dependence as dependence on nicotine, alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornographic materials, sexual debauchery. And as with any other type of addiction, it is possible to get rid of it only if there is a stable personal intention. Neither the priest, nor the doctor, nor the husband, nor the wife, nor the father, nor the mother, nor the fortune teller can not relieve a person from addiction. Well, if the person himself has such an intention (not in word but in deed), then many opportunities open up, the choice of which, starting with various simple restrictions and ending in complete isolation from the Internet, will be determined for everyone in their own way with the participation of a qualified consultant: priest, psychologist, psychotherapist.
There are a lot of different factors to be carefully considered. For example, you mentioned "social networks". Why is this important? It is not all the same as to receive information: through them or by free surfing the net and exchanging mail messages? But it turns out that there is a difference, and I myself can testify about it. My email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, has long been published on my website Priest Answers.rf, and I receive and send a very large amount of correspondence. But as soon as I connected to several popular “social networks,” a huge stream of nonsense began to come through my private messages within them. Why? After all, technically, these personal messages are no different from the same email. Obviously, we see here a certain weakness of the human psyche, which the devil and his material assistants competently exploit. Conclusion: each has his own recipe. Heal yourself from addictions.
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