The Value of Tactics and Toolboxes (5/6)

In my previous two posts (Part I and Part II), I shared 6 practical ideas for YouTube moderation. At times, I felt sheepish writing those posts. Are these types of articles helpful, or am I devolving into publishing Internet clickbait? I imagined a few objections to the “toolbox” format — i.e. posts focusing on specific, actionable strategies:

  • Why devise all these complicated strategies? Why can’t you just stop watching YouTube? It’s not that hard.
  • You are recommending outward actions but ignoring the heart motives, which are what really matter.

Today, I want to reflect more on the benefit of “toolbox” posts:

1. Specifics rather than Generalities

There are countless think pieces (from both Christian and secular writers) bemoaning the negative effects of technology on our mental and spiritual health. However, while many of these articles make a thorough case for the challenges posed by technology, few of them delve into tactics to combat the pull of our devices.

This kind of specific, actionable advice is also absent from our pulpits, and rightly so! A pastor’s job is to exposit what God’s Word has to say. While a preacher may touch on technology usage in their application, a sermon is usually not the proper vehicle to delve into specific strategies for something like YouTube moderation.

At the same time, it’s helpful to talk tactics. If we don’t, we end up with struggling people who are weighed down by their unhealthy technology habits but feel ill-equipped to do anything about it. Technology can feel addictive and impossible to overcome, because of how deeply rooted it is in our lives. It’s easy to resign ourselves to the status quo.

So, while my two articles are far from exhaustive, my hope is that these posts and others like them can give readers a starting place to strategize about YouTube moderation and technology usage in general.

2. Encouraging Experimentation

I’ve written ad-nauseum about getting “in the lab” — i.e. embracing a mindset of experimentation. I don’t want you to blindly accept my ideas as magic bullets (they most certainly are not); instead, my hope is that, in hearing my explanations behind each tool, you would begin to think more critically about solutions to your own particular struggles with YouTube.

Over time, consistent experimentation cultivates a positive growth mindset. Instead of feeling depressed and discouraged by failures, we learn to (1) to assess patterns of failure, (2) develop specific, tailored strategies for those problems, (3) experiment, and (4) tinker and adjust accordingly.

All of my ideas in the toolbox posts arose from observing my own repeated failures and thinking about how I can address them. Some of my solutions may seem odd or idiosyncratic — they probably are! — but that is because they are targeting specific pitfalls in my own life.

3. Recovering Momentum after Failure

In the haze of failure, there are sometimes brief moments of clarity. You can see everything clearly — the emptiness of entertainment, and the superiority of Christ and obedience to him. You want to turn around and change your ways.

These moments of clarity are fragile and fleeting. It is important we capture them and turn them into momentum. Otherwise, we easily slip back into the bad habits we saw clearly just moments before. The pull of infinity pools is that powerful.

In those moments, it is important to re-focus our minds and hearts on Gospel truths. But it is also valuable to have specific, trusted systems and strategies you can fall back on. Instead of relying on willpower and hoping blindly for a better outcome, we can employ practical solutions to start rebuilding a sense of momentum.

Again, I hope these posts have been insightful for you. Until next time!

All posts in the YouTube Moderation series:

  1. In Search of YouTube Moderation
  2. Fighting the Pull of Infinity Pools
  3. The YouTube Moderation Toolbox, Part I
  4. The YouTube Moderation Toolbox, Part II
  5. The Value of Tactics and Toolboxes
  6. Moving Forward with Moderation


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