Forsaking iPhonesHow Christian Youth Are Defying Technology Addiction Statistics

By Karen Kight

Dressed in a T-shirt with the word “staff” printed across the back, modest cutoff jeans, and flip-flops, she appears at first glance to be a typical college student who has found a summer job. Over her shoulder, she’s carrying a backpack stuffed with the essentials: bug spray, bandages, a flashlight, batteries, a waterproof notebook, and a Bible. She’s working at a Christian summer camp.

She may look typical, but Maleah Whitehead, a sophomore at Cedarville University, didn’t choose a typical summer job.

The hours, for example, aren’t typical. She’s the first up, getting herself ready while rousing her groggy, bedhead girls from their sleeping bags and gently prodding them to sit for a few minutes of devotions between showers and fixing their hair. Then she troops the giggling bunch off to breakfast, nature walks, ropes courses, missionary chapel, lunch, swimming, group activities, camp store, supper, evening chapel, nighttime hike, and stargazing.

Then 10 p.m. finds her corralling the girls again for devotions, her energy stretched between parenting the homesick and mentoring the lovesick. She hopes to get them in bed by 11 p.m., a difficult task by any measure, but more so this week because they’ve each got an extreme case of “boy-crazy.” Each has picked out a boy to claim as her beau with whom she flirts endlessly: teasingly flipping her long hair in his face, jostling in lines to stand near him, drawing his attention by being loud and obnoxious. All the girls claim to have a relationship with Christ, but their priority this summer appears to be relationships with boys. By day three, their nonstop flirting is creating drama that looks more like rotten fruit than the spiritual fruit Maleah had hoped to see.