When is the last time you turned your phone off for an extended amount of time? If you’re anything like me, it is very hard to function without a phone. My life pretty much centers around that little device. All of my contacts are there, my calendar is organized inside, and I keep a lot of my music on there. Plus, I have unlimited information at my disposal at all times. It seems like the greatest thing in the world, but I am getting burnt out by it.
I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was in 10th grade and that’s all it was; a phone. It didn’t surf the web, had no calendar, no music, and 50 text messages a month. Who needs text messaging? It will never catch on. I remember the day when we all actually talked on the phone. I would stay up super late, free nights and weekends, talking to my friends or girlfriend at the time about nothing. Sounds boring, right? For some reason, it wasn’t. It was all we knew. I remember even before that when all we had was a house phone and you had to talk to my parents before you talked to me. You always wondered if someone was listening in on the phone in the other room.
I remember using the family desktop computer in our house to surf the web and talk on AOL Instant Messenger. It was hard to sneak into the computer room and talk to my friends because the dial-up internet would wake everyone in the house up. But if I wanted to check my email, see what was happening on my new MySpace page, or talk to my buddies, I had to go start-up the old desktop.
Today, we have everything at our finger tips, because our computer goes with us. We have become dependent on our phones. We don’t need to retain any knowledge because everything we need to know is a Google search away. Now instead of a phone call, we have 7 or 8 ways to contact someone without actually having to hear their voice. I can text you, email you, Facebook you, Tweet you, comment on your Instagram, Snapchat you, Skype you, or Poke you. I’m sure there are many more.
I miss real conversation. Because of social media, we have forgotten how to genuinely connect with people. I understand that social media has made it possible for us to keep in touch with people all over the world, but it has gotten somewhat out of control. I know it has its pros but I believe the cons are taking over.
Our phones are in our hands at all times. We are on them when we drive, when we are walking down the street, when we should be listening to our spouses, when we should be playing with our kids, and when we should be enjoying a concert and not recording the whole thing to show our friends the “experience” we “experienced”. We cannot put them down. We have to know who is posting pictures, who is tweeting, and what the breaking news is. All these things can wait! Life is happening all around and we are looking at a small screen. Seems ridiculous.
I can’t imagine having the technological power we have today back when I was in middle school and high school. Our children are living in difficult days. Temptation, in every form, is in our children’s pocket every day. We put a cell phone in their hands and now even though you can get a hold of them at all times, they now can text their friends anything they want, they can be on social media all day long, and they have access to adult content with one touch on their phone browser. I understand there are safety reasons for children having phones. With anything, there’s the good and the bad but too much of anything can be a bad thing. I feel that we might be giving our youth too much freedom.
Social media and technology makes what I do for a living much easier. I can type a 140 character paragraph and it reaches thousands of people instantly. That wasn’t an option back in the day. So I am appreciative of what the technology does. I am just nervous about what it is doing to us as a generation. I know technology is impossible to stop. It is only going to change and evolve into something even more accessible to us, so what can we do to protect ourselves and our children from living a life chained to our electronic devices?
Self-control. It sounds simpler than it is, but I believe its our best shot against total defeat. We don’t need to be on our phones all the time. The email you are checking and the tweets you are reading will still be there next time you log on. So even though you have unlimited access to your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, set boundaries for yourself. Give yourself a set time in the day to check these apps. Turn off your push notifications. Take a break from status updates and likes. Do something else instead to take your mind off of your phone.
If your struggle lies more in the content you are looking it, there are many ways to fight against your temptations. Put up road blocks for yourself. You can put a password on your device or browser as a distraction. There are also safe browsers you can download that will filter images and words that could cause you to stumble. I don’t know what your thing is, but I know we all struggle with something.
If you have children, get involved now. Even if you think your child is a saint, he or she WILL encounter temptation and I can almost guarantee it will involve a phone or computer. We live in a different world where anything and everything you could ever imagine can be found through a simple web search. Our kids are doing things on their phones that we would have never imagined doing when we were younger. Kids are smarter than ever and because of that, they need guidance. I’m not a parent so I am not telling you how to raise your kids. Please don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t long ago when I was a kid struggling with things that I was embarrassed to tell my parents about. It happens. But you have so much power as a parent to invest in your kids future as a young adult. Be relational with your kids. Hug them, talk to them face to face, and show them the example of self-control so they can win this generation back for good.
I don’t know where this whole idea came from. It’s just some random thoughts I have been having. All I know is I am thankful for life and hands on experiences. I’ll never forget riding a bike for the first time, learning piano, holding hands for the first time, and kissing my wife on our wedding day. I don’t need social media to remember these things. God gave us eyes, a heart, and a brain. I pray that even though iPhones rule the world, we won’t forget Who is in control and that we were created to live life with our eyes open to the world around us.
If you like a challenge, try not checking social media for a week. Or even a day. Take the control back. Let us practice self-control so that we may be better equipped to have meaningful conversation and real life experiences.
Okay, I’m finished. Computer…off.