Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Octavian Poenaru
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000475A
00:01 Join us today on Issues and Answers
00:02 as we discuss
00:04 how media has become the drug of choice for many.
00:40 Hi, I'm Shelley Quinn
00:41 and we're so glad that you've joined us again today
00:43 for Issues and Answers.
00:45 We're going to be discussing the topic of media
00:49 and how it impacts mental health.
00:52 And returning with us today is pastor
00:56 and I should also add Dr. Octavian Poenaru.
01:01 Octavian, I'm just going to, since that's easier to say.
01:05 I'm always amazed at your humility.
01:09 So many people who have a doctorate
01:11 want to insist that they be introduced,
01:14 and I forget that you do
01:16 because you've so rarely discussed that
01:18 but you have a doctorate at ministry in family health.
01:21 In family life. In family life, excuse me.
01:23 And you're also a pastor
01:26 for the Colville Washington Seventh-day Adventist Church
01:30 and your second one is...
01:32 Ione. Ione, okay.
01:34 It's a beautiful place where the river flows north.
01:38 Yes. We'll have to come visit.
01:40 Well, we're very thankful that you're joining us again.
01:43 We're talking about the battle for the mind,
01:47 and what Dr. Poenaru has been sharing with us
01:51 is how media affects us spiritually,
01:56 how it affects family life.
01:58 And today we're really going to talk about
02:01 the addictive nature of media
02:03 and what the negative impacts it is having on our lives.
02:08 Well, and the by the way you can call me Octavian,
02:10 I feel much more comfortable.
02:11 Okay, I'll call you Octavian. Okay, that's better.
02:14 Yeah, well, let me read the passage
02:16 from the Bible first.
02:17 All right.
02:19 It's in 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20
02:24 and it says, "Or do you not know
02:26 that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
02:31 who is in you, whom you have from God,
02:35 and you are not your own?"
02:37 With the emphasis you're not your own.
02:41 "For you were bought at a price,
02:44 therefore glorify God in your body
02:46 and in your spirit, which are God's."
02:49 I think it's a very, very profound Bible passage
02:55 and concept that actually
02:58 all we are mind, soul, and body, they belong to God.
03:02 And I think we forget this often and...
03:05 I agree.
03:06 We get busy with life, and we do this and we do that,
03:08 and we forget that actually everything we are in
03:10 and have belongs to God and it's for Him and from Him.
03:13 Yes, amen. Amen.
03:16 So what are your main concerns about media
03:23 and how it is circumventing this passage?
03:29 Well, let me begin with the story.
03:30 It was in the media about two years ago.
03:33 This young boy, probably he was 16 or 17 comes home,
03:37 happens in China.
03:38 The boy comes home
03:40 and his mother saw him with an iPad 2
03:45 and with a cell phone and she says,
03:46 where do you have this from?
03:48 Says, well, he goes around
03:49 and tell something about to her.
03:51 The mother pushes him and says,
03:52 well, you need to tell me where did you get them from?
03:54 Where did you get the money
03:55 because we do not have this kind of money.
03:58 The boy confessed that actually he got in touch with someone,
04:01 I think on internet and he sold one of his kidneys
04:05 to buy to get the money and buy an iPad and the phone.
04:11 And the mother, the operation had already taken place.
04:13 Yes, everything. And mother was just finding...
04:16 Yeah, things happened, he sold his kidney
04:20 one of this online transactions he found someone,
04:22 did the surgery, got the money
04:24 and probably the guy disappear with the kidney,
04:26 which was probably sold for who knows
04:29 how many times of thousands of dollars.
04:32 And this is just probably one of the stories.
04:36 In a sense it relates to media and health.
04:40 And you may think this is an extreme case.
04:42 Yes, it is an extreme case.
04:44 But I think this extreme case
04:46 it's relevant and tells us something.
04:49 It tells me how much people are willing to sell
04:54 to get access to media.
04:58 More common is when you think of how many people
05:04 spend very precious hours of sleep
05:08 and they spend hours in watching movies or games
05:12 or entertainment media,
05:15 the whole night or half of the night,
05:16 and the next day
05:18 they're very tired and exhausted.
05:19 I remember talking to a lady once, to a mother,
05:23 and I ask where are the children?
05:29 And she says, oh, by the way
05:31 their friends stayed them at our home
05:34 and they play computer games until very late in the morning,
05:39 meaning the whole night almost and they've gone to bed.
05:44 Then they spend the whole night playing computer games.
05:48 It is common among the younger population
05:52 and not only to have people spending hours,
05:55 very precious hours with media.
06:00 And it happened to me.
06:01 I remember the first time when I got my computer,
06:04 it was in 1997
06:07 and it was a gift someone from United States.
06:10 At that time some friends from United States
06:13 they found the computer,
06:15 they bought it for us and they send it,
06:16 it was a used computer.
06:18 Had a worthy programs on it and one of them guess was,
06:21 it was a computer game.
06:23 And even I'm mature and adult
06:26 but I'm curious and it was something new,
06:29 and I said oh, let me see let me say
06:31 what's the story about this tool.
06:34 And I try to explore, well, I found this computer game.
06:37 I said, let's see how is it.
06:39 And I remember, it was one of the evenings again evenings.
06:43 And I just said, let me see, let me see how is it.
06:47 I said in my mind probably it was,
06:48 this is going to be a five minutes,
06:50 ten minutes thing.
06:52 I probably, I remember it was 1 o'clock in the morning
06:57 or more than 1 o'clock in the morning,
06:58 when I finally stopped,
07:00 and I said, what I'm doing here?
07:02 I have had the exact same experience
07:04 while I was writing a book for the Lord
07:07 and I write 12 hours a day,
07:09 then just to kind of clear my mind,
07:11 I would play this little game called FreeCell.
07:14 And I think, okay,
07:15 I'm only going to play two games,
07:17 and then sometimes it would be hours
07:20 that pass and I took it off my computer
07:22 because it was so addictive.
07:23 You're right.
07:25 I did the same thing I deleted, next day I deleted it.
07:29 Then I want to remind our viewers again
07:34 about these strategies that I believe
07:36 that devil uses to conquer the mind, music, movies,
07:42 social media, shows, sports,
07:44 computer games, pornography and gambling.
07:47 They all these are strategies
07:48 and they definitely use the electronics the media,
07:51 the electronic media to conquer our minds.
07:55 Probably the first,
07:57 there are three major concerns
07:58 I would like to address this morning.
08:01 Number one is the addictive nature of media.
08:03 Number two is body image and media.
08:06 And number three, depression and media.
08:10 Again, if you look at all these strategies
08:13 the devil wants to use music, movies, social media, shows,
08:18 sports, computer games, pornography, gambling,
08:21 all of them have an addictive nature in themselves.
08:25 We've heard stories of people
08:29 gambling for hours and hours or playing computer games
08:33 for hours and hours and hours and actually using diapers
08:36 because they didn't want to go to the restroom
08:39 just to be there and not to be interrupted.
08:43 I don't know if you have ever been an addict to media,
08:48 I would probably consider myself at one point in my life
08:50 being addictive to media
08:52 because I remember watching the movie,
08:55 you couldn't take me from the screen.
08:57 You couldn't talk to me about anything else not only,
09:00 but I remember knowing the whole program
09:02 for the whole week.
09:03 I knew which movie is going to be
09:05 when and what time and everything,
09:06 then you schedule your life around those movies and shows.
09:10 And I know of other people,
09:13 I remember one day visiting
09:14 and this is back home in Romania years ago.
09:18 And I visited this
09:19 and I'm very transparent with saying some of the things.
09:23 Visiting the home of one of my church elders
09:25 and his wife, a wonderful lady,
09:27 and it was in the middle of the day.
09:30 And I was looking actually for her husband
09:31 and I knock at the door and I said, well, hello,
09:36 I'm sorry to interrupt, I'm looking for so and so
09:39 and your husband says yes,
09:41 I'll find him quickly but this is my time
09:44 and I don't want to be interrupted.
09:45 This is my only time in the week
09:48 when I don't want to be interrupted.
09:49 It was a show everyday 3:30 pm or something like this.
09:53 And that was her time
09:55 and nobody was supposed to interrupt her at that time.
10:00 I have my sister was addicted to soap operas.
10:05 And she would not let anything interrupt
10:08 the time with soap operas.
10:09 How addiction works actually,
10:12 and I came up with this statement
10:15 which I hope reflects how addiction works.
10:17 It comes as a pleasant guest and ends up as a cruel master.
10:24 Then it comes as a pleasant guest in the beginning.
10:28 We know that all the addictions works this way.
10:30 In the beginning it's curiosity,
10:32 just a little bit of excitement or pleasure.
10:34 It comes as a pleasant guest,
10:36 it ends up as being a very cruel master.
10:41 In the National...
10:44 In the journal for National Institute
10:46 of Drug Abuse, they give a few,
10:50 a short description about how drugs actually work.
10:53 And they said speaking about chemical drugs,
10:56 they say that the drugs interfere
10:58 where the nerves communicate between themselves.
11:02 All the drugs of abuse target the brains toward system
11:07 by flooding the circuit with chemical dopamine means,
11:11 all these drugs at the beginning
11:13 makes you feel good and experience pleasure,
11:15 that's why we want to do it.
11:17 And then, but in case of the chemical drugs
11:21 they release between two to ten times more dopamine
11:26 than actually the natural experiences of pleasure.
11:30 For example, when you do ski we experience ski when you go
11:34 and breathe the fresh air and see the blue sky,
11:37 and the speed and everything.
11:39 You enjoy certain degree of pleasure.
11:42 When we eat an apple
11:43 or something which is healthy and good,
11:46 you enjoy there are supposed to be joy and pleasure
11:49 in a lot of things, God has given them to us.
11:52 But the drugs go beyond that
11:55 because they as I'm saying they weren't based on
12:00 increase levels of dopamine in the brain.
12:02 And then isn't it true that
12:04 at least what I've heard from addicts is that
12:06 once you've had a certain high
12:08 that increase level of dopamine,
12:10 you're never going to experience it again,
12:13 you keep chasing it...
12:15 But there is a diminishing return.
12:17 Right, it works like,
12:18 indeed it works like a set of steps,
12:22 you reach a certain point of excitement about that,
12:25 but then in order to experience pleasure again,
12:27 you have to go to the next level,
12:29 and experience a certain degree of pleasure
12:31 in order to have the same level of excitement
12:34 you have to go to another level,
12:35 or you have to increase the dose of whatever
12:39 the nature of the drug is.
12:41 Can I read a scripture here? Sure, absolutely.
12:43 it's talking about,
12:47 "Moses how he chose rather to suffer affliction
12:50 with the people of God rather than to enjoy
12:53 the passing pleasures of sin."
12:57 So the Bible doesn't deny the fact that what you had said
13:00 that it shows up as a pleasant guest,
13:03 but it ends up then being...
13:06 It's a passing pleasure,
13:08 it ends up being a cruel taskmaster.
13:10 Yes, it's.
13:11 And basically what happens, I've never heard of anybody
13:15 being addicted to apples and to carrots.
13:19 When it's something which is healthy
13:21 taken in moderation, following, I would say
13:25 the natural laws given to us by God,
13:27 we can enjoy them.
13:28 And you have this joy and pleasure
13:32 but in the same time,
13:33 it gives you freedom to choose every time,
13:35 you keep your freedom.
13:38 Anything that's unhealthy and it's abused
13:43 leads to the point of losing your freedom,
13:46 and takes when once you come to that point
13:49 you lose your freedom and you actually,
13:51 you become a slave and becomes a torture.
13:55 I was talking recently with someone
13:57 that has been in drugs and because of drugs,
14:00 they, both him and his wife,
14:02 they lost a wonderful apartment,
14:04 of half million apartment,
14:05 a very good job lost expensive cars,
14:10 lost everything ended up as homeless.
14:13 And I was talking to him about the whole experience
14:15 and he said, Octavian,
14:17 what people don't understand
14:18 is that when you become a dug addict,
14:21 the only way you can function actually
14:23 is when you are under the influence of the drugs.
14:26 Then you have to take the drugs to be able to function,
14:30 to be able to act normally,
14:32 you have to be actually under the influence of the drugs.
14:34 At least that's what he said.
14:37 And he said, when you're not with the drugs,
14:39 then you are agitated, you're angry,
14:41 and you want to do everything possible to get your dose.
14:46 It's very interesting again because...
14:48 Well, some people like that about sports...
14:51 Yeah, well, Dr. Norman Herr,
14:56 he is a professor
14:58 of the California State University,
15:00 he describes the dependency symptoms,
15:05 and he says if you have three of them,
15:08 you can classify yourself as being addicted, three only.
15:11 And he says for example
15:13 and he speaks about using the television.
15:15 Using TV as a sedative,
15:18 means that you have a stressful day,
15:20 busy day, you come home and the thing you do,
15:25 you just collapse on your couch and turn the TV on,
15:29 just to take your mind away
15:31 and just using it as a sedative which is...
15:34 A lot of people do.
15:36 Yeah, then...
15:38 And that's the first thing,
15:39 we have to pay attention to that,
15:41 instead of doing that probably we should go for a walk,
15:43 talk to our children or do something else
15:46 which is healthy and creative.
15:49 Secondly he says using an indiscriminant viewing.
15:54 Basically you watch ever whatever.
15:57 Third is losing control over while.
16:00 Feeling lost of control while you're viewing.
16:03 At one point I guess you watch that
16:07 and you realize that you can stop, you like to stop,
16:11 you realize it's late or you realize that
16:13 you have something else to do, but you can't.
16:16 You want to see this movie being over,
16:19 or you want to do this and finish the game,
16:21 or you want to do something else.
16:22 It's kind of like you've invested
16:24 certain amount of interest and time in it,
16:27 and so you feel like you're cheated
16:28 if you don't go clear to the end,
16:30 I have experienced that myself.
16:33 Then point number four is feeling angry
16:35 with oneself for watching too much.
16:38 Then these are signals, signs of actually drifting
16:42 into an addictive pattern or dependency symptoms.
16:47 Inability to stop while watching,
16:49 and the last one feeling miserable
16:52 when kept from watching.
16:56 Internet addiction has not being fully established
17:00 to being an addiction but as far as I'm concerned,
17:04 I think it has all the components or the traits
17:08 of an addictive behavior,
17:12 it's called actually internet addiction disorder.
17:16 Again it's not in the books, but I believe a lot of people
17:19 actually have the symptoms of functioning of as an addict.
17:25 And the interesting thing...
17:26 It was such a shocking story
17:28 about the young Chinese boy who sold his kidney,
17:30 but when you think about it time is life,
17:33 so how you invest your time is how you invest your life,
17:37 and people are making a huge investment,
17:39 they're swapping their time to sit in front of the TV
17:43 just like he swapped the kidney to get these things.
17:47 The second concern I would mention this morning
17:48 or today is the body image.
17:54 Both men and women being exposed to so much media,
17:59 advertisement, movies, shows then in our minds,
18:03 especially in the western countries
18:04 we have came up with an idea that specially women,
18:08 you have to look in a certain way
18:10 and you have to be certain way
18:12 in order to fit in the culture you're living.
18:15 I like to read one Bible passage
18:18 which I think it's significant, it's in Romans 12:1 and 2,
18:22 "I beseech you therefore, brethren,
18:24 by the mercies of God,
18:26 that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy,
18:30 acceptable to God,
18:31 which is your reasonable service.
18:33 Do not be conformed to this world,
18:38 but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
18:42 that you may prove
18:43 what is that good and acceptable
18:46 and perfect will of God."
18:49 Body image, it was in the 1960
18:52 when this lady Jean Kilbourne
18:56 begin to explore the relationship
18:57 between media and public health issues.
19:00 And then she spoke in many,
19:02 many probably in half of the colleges
19:03 and universities in United States
19:05 about this topic, body image and media relationship.
19:09 And in '79, 1979
19:12 she wrote this Killing Us Softly,
19:16 and I don't know if you've seen that
19:19 and it's about advertising the image of women
19:23 in the advertisement industry.
19:26 Then she repeatedly did the same thing
19:28 ten years or nine years later,
19:31 in 1987 Still Killing Us Softly.
19:35 In 1999 Killing Us Softly number three.
19:38 In 2010 Killing Us Softly number four.
19:42 Then she sees that actually things didn't change,
19:45 not only they didn't changed for the good,
19:46 they changed for the worse.
19:49 Especially now that things can be airbrushed
19:52 in what's being presented to people
19:55 is totally an unrealistic image,
19:59 you know, it doesn't even, sometimes,
20:01 I've heard and read where models say,
20:04 I didn't even recognize myself from my body
20:06 by the time they finished that.
20:07 Because you mention this, there is this,
20:09 it was this very short video,
20:12 very short film under the title Creation Dove.
20:17 You can Google that, find it on YouTube,
20:19 Creation Dove and it's a minute and 41 seconds I think
20:22 it's a very short clip, where they took this lady,
20:26 it was part of a staff, it was a common person like we.
20:30 And they do the whole changing, they change it to that
20:34 she became a what we call a gorgeous women.
20:40 Yeah, and did all kind of makeup
20:43 and then computer changed the nose and the eyes
20:45 and the height of her neck and everything and she became,
20:50 basically she became another person.
20:52 Well, they do that with a lot of images
20:55 we see in the media on...
20:58 At the end of this very short clip they had is,
21:01 I think very truthful sentence which they say,
21:03 "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted."
21:08 Our perception of beauty has been distorted.
21:11 I think we have been culturally conditioned
21:13 in the way we look at the women
21:15 as even including the our perception
21:18 about what a women should be.
21:20 Its probably about, it's equally valid with men,
21:24 but I think it's more about the women
21:25 because in the advertisement industry
21:29 if they sell a pair of tires,
21:32 guess what's next to the pair of tires,
21:35 it's a sexy woman.
21:36 If they sell a pair of boots, guess who wears them?
21:39 If they're selling a hamburger or something...
21:43 They're using sex to sell everything.
21:45 And they use the body of a woman to do that,
21:50 and unconsciously they have build in our minds well,
21:53 this is what you should look like
21:55 if you want to be accepted.
21:57 There is this model Cameron Russell
22:02 and she speaks on Ted Talks, and she has a great talk
22:06 and the title of her talk is "Looks aren't everything.
22:09 Believe me, I'm a model."
22:12 And she speaks about her experience as a model
22:15 and how, what her life is
22:18 and she had the courage to say well,
22:19 what you see in the advertisement industry,
22:23 what you see on the cover of reviews
22:25 and then in the media is not the real life of a person.
22:29 But we've made, we've been taught
22:33 by the society through media to think that way.
22:38 Well, the consequence is that the lot of us
22:41 try to fit the model, both men and women.
22:45 I remember in my district when I came,
22:49 we were planning to do youth weekend,
22:53 and I was talking to my staff what shall we talk about,
22:57 what should be the topics we want to address.
22:59 And one of the young ladies, she was a married women,
23:04 young enough probably 27, 28,
23:07 I think it was her age at that time,
23:10 and she said, well, pastor,
23:11 we need to speak about this body image.
23:16 At the beginning I have to be honest,
23:18 I did not realize what she was talking about completely.
23:20 She says, no pastor, you don't understand.
23:23 You don't understand the impact of this concept on our lives,
23:27 we need to speak about this to our kids and to our girls.
23:31 This is why there is so much anorexia
23:34 and all of these unhealthy practices
23:36 where people are trying to become like this ideal.
23:40 Yes, then it has psychologically
23:43 and physiologically affects on terms of,
23:45 you see your self-esteem is going down,
23:47 you don't fit these models.
23:49 You think that you're not beautiful.
23:52 I think you've heard plenty of stories of beautiful women
23:54 or young ladies but they see themselves ugly and fat
23:59 or whatever, they see themselves,
24:01 their nose is not the right nose
24:03 or the color of the eye.
24:04 They're having plastic surgeries
24:06 at such a young age in our days.
24:08 And with lot of consequences both on the physical body
24:11 and the psychological on their thinking.
24:16 It works with boys probably not to the extend that
24:19 it works with women, but it works with men too.
24:23 Again I'm going to become vulnerable,
24:24 I remember my son talking about this six abs.
24:28 Six pack. Oh, six pack.
24:30 I was getting ready to say that.
24:31 What do I say, oh, Nathan tell me,
24:33 I mean, I'm busy what are you talking about?
24:35 Says, well, then you don't understand,
24:37 you don't know, I said, what is this all about?
24:39 And he told me about the six pack
24:41 which is the abdominal muscles,
24:43 you have to develop in three and three.
24:46 And did you know, the reason I was reading an article,
24:49 I love to read medical journals,
24:51 but when it comes to plastic surgery
24:53 that has become
24:55 one of the number one procedures for men
24:57 as they're going in to have
24:59 their bodies sculpted to so that they
25:01 'cause not everybody can achieve it
25:03 through exercise so they're having their bodies sculpted
25:05 so they'll have a six pack.
25:07 It's like breast augmentation for women.
25:10 Now men are having this.
25:12 So it is really, you see that
25:13 men are kind of picking up on this body image.
25:16 And now it's all this because of media.
25:19 And there is nothing wrong with being healthy.
25:21 We want to be healthy
25:23 but I think there is this very much distorted view...
25:26 And what beauty and healthy looks
25:28 and it's all because of media.
25:29 What's wrong again,
25:31 I would like to mention a few things.
25:32 Number one it's an exaggerated preoccupation with self.
25:36 Number two unhealthy practices,
25:38 eating disorders or excessive exercise,
25:41 number three, it can lead to self adoration and pride.
25:46 D or number four,
25:49 self-esteem distortions.
25:53 E sexual explicit or subliminal messages.
25:57 You have to be sexy in order to be accepted today,
26:00 it seems to be.
26:01 And the last one would be distraction
26:03 from spiritual methods in the real life issues.
26:05 Well only have about a minute and half,
26:07 what would you like to talk to us
26:09 about media and depression
26:11 because I believe that was your third point?
26:13 Yeah, there are plenty of studies that show
26:16 that there is a direct relation between the number of hours
26:19 someone watches media and depression level.
26:25 They've been, again we don't have the time now,
26:27 there are plenty of articles
26:29 published in the journal of psychiatry
26:33 and others which shows that there is a direct correlation
26:37 between the number of hours,
26:39 especially in the younger population.
26:40 The number of hours they watch on television
26:44 or spend in the media
26:45 and the depression level they experience.
26:47 So the bottom-line is that
26:48 media has a major impact on our brain
26:54 and on our mental health.
26:56 The number one cause for death
26:58 in the young population is suicide,
27:00 and they made a clear relationship
27:02 between suicide and depression.
27:03 Then if you see this link, media leads to depression,
27:07 and depression may lead to suicide,
27:09 then it's an interesting connection
27:12 which has been established by specialists.
27:17 It's fascinating material that you're presenting us.
27:19 And I know you do the seminars
27:22 that are great length and great detail
27:25 and we're just kind of hitting the surface if you will,
27:29 but thank you so much for joining us again.
27:31 Thank you for having me. Yes.
27:32 And for those of you at home,
27:34 please remember especially if you're a parent
27:38 or if you're a grandparent that media has a major impact
27:44 particularly on a developing mind,
27:46 a mind that hasn't,
27:47 the frontal lobe isn't fully developed,
27:49 and you want to make certain
27:51 that you monitor what your children are watching
27:54 or how much time they spend online on Facebook.
27:57 Monitor what they are doing,
28:00 because otherwise if you give the child a device
28:04 that is detrimental to their health,
28:07 that's child abuse.
28:09 So thank you for joining us.
28:11 Please come, join us next week
28:14 when Octavian will be sharing solutions
28:17 to this problem of media
28:20 and the battle for the mind, God bless.