1. For three days prior to the challenge, track how much time you spend on YouTube daily.
2. For three weeks, refrain from using YouTube.
3. Instead, intentionally engage in meaningful activities with friends, family, and God.
4. Reflect on the process and journal down your thoughts.
I mainly watch fashion videos and Kdrama cuts on YouTube. For the past three days prior to the challenge, I’ve recorded that I spend an average of 45 minutes on YouTube daily! When I watch one minute videos singularly, it does not seem like much time has been spent watching them. Yet when I intentionally and consciously took down how much time I spend on YouTube, I was shocked! All these one minute videos actually added up to close to an hour a day!
One hour each day does not seem like a whole lot of time, but at the same time I’ve always wished that I had more time to pursue a new hobby or spend more time with God! It has been my goal to pick up embroidery this year and I haven’t gotten started on the patterns that I was going to try. I also love reading news but sometimes I find myself cutting down news-reading time due to distractions from YouTube videos.
Receiving this challenge is scary because I have just finished the last episode of a Korean drama “Healer” and I know I am going to have serious withdrawals from the drama! There is also partial dread because the minute-long YouTube videos are my form of passing time. To abstain from them completely will not be an easy thing to do. I am really praying to God to let Him ingrain in me the discipline to steward my time well and not succumb to the temptation of drama cuts.
Over the 2 weeks, these are the four groups that I observed and the things God placed on my heart to pray for:
The first week has been quite good with the toughest temptation being drama cuts. I have been at home most of this week so boredom was something that I fought with. However, a change that I have noticed is that I’ve been more intentional about spending a longer time with my family at the dining table! It’s hard to believe but I used to finish dinner in ten minutes or less and rush to to my room. Thankfully, with the extra time spent at the table, I have been able to better understand the stage of life my parents are in right now and understanding their work situations better. And this week, I finally started on embroidery! After procrastinating for a long time since my A-level examinations ended, I received the equipment as presents for my birthday, and this spurred me on to start my first hoop. I think the extra time freed from this challenge really gave me the extra time before my bed time to engage my mind more meaningfully.
On one of the days, I happened to be watching something on the television and I got really curious about the plot so I accidentally went on YouTube, forgetting that I was on this challenge! There were also a few other instances where I wanted to go on YouTube to watch talk shows or tutorials to understand something faster but I had to go on Google to read the instructions instead. This made me realise how frequently I use YouTube as the quicker way out.
However, not using YouTube has definitely allowed me to spend more of my free time reading the Bible. That 15 minutes less spent on YouTube and on reading the Bible matters a lot! Whenever I felt that I needed to keep myself entertained from videos online, I read chapters and verses from Proverbs instead. I also found myself reading books more often! Apart from Proverbs, I read Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis as well, and it allowed me to better understand Christian virtues!
As I settled into this “YouTube fast”, there have been many moments where I find myself having nothing to do or just wanting to use a YouTube break to catch a breather. However, being on the fast challenged me to take time to think about my friends whom I have not been able to talk to regularly due to them being in army or at work. I sought some of them out for prayer requests and spent time praying for them! Through this process, I was also able to quickly catch up with some of them and I am very thankful for that! As prayer is something I hoped to do more of in 2018, this break was opportune for me to go deeper in my prayers.
As this challenge comes close to an end, I have to admit that there were definitely instances when I really wanted to go on YouTube to draw some fashion inspiration or just be updated with the latest music videos. Fortunately, I was able to circumvent these temptations most of the time or quickly close the page even if I had accidentally logged into it. I know this would not have been possible without God! I thought this challenge was a meaningful one for me to be less caught up in mindless entertainment and slow down the pace of life to spend time with people.
I have seen myself choosing to take a walk home with my parents after dinner at a nearby mall, reading the book of Proverbs, spending time before bed reading the Bible and other books and praying more! Spending the extra 15 minutes with God has also shown me that in the most practical way of abstaining from worldly entertainment, we can make time to understand God better. I even picked up a new skill in the three weeks! They say it takes 21 days to inculcate a habit; I hope to continue spending time with my family and reading more to grow my knowledge instead of a whole hour on YouTube!