Moving Forward with Moderation (6/6)

I will likely return to the topic of YouTube moderation in the future, but I’ll be wrapping up this series for now so I can explore other topics. It’s been a fun journey and helpful for my own relationship with YouTube. I hope it’s helped you as well!

Before I give some final thoughts, let’s quickly recap where we’ve been:

Here are three final thoughts on how we can move forward with YouTube moderation:

1. Be Wary of Excuses

Here’s a trap I’ll often fall into: (1) I’ll see my unhealthy relationship to YouTube and feel motivated to address it, and (2) I’ll plan various strategies and systems for combating my bad habits. This will work for a while, but eventually my heart will begin devising excuses. Here are a few common ones:

  • “It’s not that much of a struggle right now, so it’s unnecessarily strict to follow the rules you’ve set up. You can let down your guard and relax.”
  • “You created these strategies for a specific scenario (i.e. a normal work/school day) but today the scenario is different. X (fill in the blank) has happened, so the rules don’t apply.”
  • “You’ve had a rough day. You’re not in a good emotional, spiritual, or mental place right now. And you’re placing these restrictions on yourself on top of that? How tedious. Who cares about YouTube moderation when everything else stinks.”

In those moments, you will feel silly for sticking to your strategies, but I encourage you to stay the course. Don’t heed the excuses. Think back: maybe compromising won’t spiral into hours wasted, but how often has it in the past? Or, at the very least, how often has it led to you spending more time on the platform than you originally intended?

Yes, your strategies may feel tedious and restrictive at times, but sticking within these guard rails will ultimately grant a much more important kind of freedom — the freedom to use your time as you choose based on what you value most.

We must stick to our strategies before we can trust ourselves to be flexible with them. In time, we may no longer need these tactics, but we must be honest with ourselves whether we are truly at that point.

2. Toolboxes and Training Wheels

Recently, I was sharing with a friend about my toolbox posts for YouTube. He paused for a moment and proposed another applicable analogy: training wheels. Training wheels assist beginners who are learning to ride a bike but are not yet skilled enough to balance on their own. Without training wheels, these individuals might teeter and fall, badly injuring themselves.

I think the training wheel analogy is helpful. because it highlights the temporary nature of the various tactics I’ve proposed. These tactics are not ends in and of themselves, but help us as we go on to greater, more important pursuits.

This series is written for people who are trying to uproot and deprogram bad YouTube habits. These are difficult habits to break, and there are many pitfalls along the way. That is why it is helpful to think carefully about strategies for moderation.

However, there is a danger in thinking about moderation that we place too much emphasis on YouTube. Even as we try to avoid excess, we still view the platform as a necessary part of our day. We spend inordinate amounts of time and energy resisting the pull to watch, looking forward to when we can watch, or breathing a sigh of relief when we’re “allowed” to watch.

Instead, we should seek what Piper calls the expulsive power of a new affection. We should strive to grow in our desires to know God, to pursue holiness, to love and serve others, and to make the Gospel known, so that the fleeting pleasures of YouTube pale in comparison.

The ultimate goal is that we mature in our affections, so that YouTube naturally falls into its proper place. So we can watch YouTube for the genuine benefits it has to offer, but we are not always teetering on the brink of a binge.

Until we reach that point, we need various training wheels and guard rails. But that is not our ultimate endpoint. We aim for a day when we no longer need to think so actively about YouTube moderation, because our head, hearts, and hands are caught up in kingdom work.

3. Lean on Grace to Get Back Up Quickly

I hope that you’ve been encouraged by this series that you’re not alone in this struggle or silly for having such a hard time with something so seemingly trivial. I hope you’ve found some practical, actionable strategies to help you manage your YouTube usage.

Even as you proactively pursue YouTube moderation, there will be times you slip up and relapse. With that failure will come a temptation to fall back further into bad habits. You will feel discouraged. You will wonder why you can’t overcome something so simple. You will be tempted to berate yourself for being an undisciplined mess.

Don’t be discouraged! Remember that it’s never too late to turn around. Ask God for strength. Remember the endless riches you have in Christ. Remember that you are a child of God, and that will never, ever change. Think critically about why you lost this particular battle and if there are any lessons you can learn for the future. Then, start again and do the next right thing.

Thank you again everyone for reading and following along. 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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