66. The Price of Your Device

by Jun 24, 20242024

To say technology or communication tools and instruments are tremendously changing the way we live our lives is an understatement! Have you considered how something that would have once been described as weird is now the norm? Vast majorities of people walking around holding a 3×5 electronic device in their hands for 4, 6, 10, or even 12 hours or more each day! Perhaps the worst part is our reluctance to evaluate the influence of our devices on our lives personally. I believe all of us need encouragement to first assess and then decide how much of our lives are to be spent on our phones and other communication devices.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

My fear is that the allure of the advancements (and I will call them advancements) come with a force as strong as anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. One could spend an inordinate amount of time enjoying the benefits of the Internet. The access it provides to beneficial sites and sources of information, education and enjoyment is endless. At the same time, if we are not careful, the expansiveness that’s offered to us, can tempt us to allow other communication practices to decrease.

Social media also has its benefits and its drawbacks. First, it’s important to acknowledge that it is highly addictive, and as such, has taken in many victims by its persuasive power. It is truly no less powerful than any common addiction by which we may be tempted. And just as we bristle when boundaries are suggested for such things as our spending habits or coffee intake, few are unwilling to fairly assess if they are “overdoing it” on social media.

Yet consider some of the downsides:

  • Sedentary behavior
  • Loss of sleep
  • Devaluation of true friendship
  • Loss of face-to-face relationships
  • Temptation to compare ourselves to others
  • Negative effects on our self-image

When we consider the other technology devices to which we devote large portions of our time and attention, the same addictive pull comes into play. We may enjoy the easy access to games and movies, but our devices also tempt us by the ease and perceived “secrecy” of being able to access sites and images that are not healthy for our spiritual or psychological well-being.

It’s important to also consider the effect our technological relationships are having on our families. I have friends who practice “no phones at the dinner table”, with the goal of encouraging and fostering true connections with those they love.

Connections Matter!

Friends, technology and our many devices that allow us to access it, is not “bad”. However, we must remain vigilant lest we fall prey to the many unhealthy temptations and practices they make possible. Will you challenge yourself to become more disconnected from your devices and more connected to face-to-face interaction with other healthy human beings? Will you heed the call to pay more attention to all the elements of a healthy lifestyle, including our mental health, which may be more negatively impacted by our devices than any other thing we face?

For many of us, a fitting response may be to implement serious limits on how to manage our usage. For all of us, there is a place for proper guardrails as a protection from being pulled in by the addictive nature of our devices. Please don’t underestimate their powerful influence.

Ultimately, as followers of Christ, our call is to not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Will you pursue this instruction by choosing to manage all your devices in such a way that you experience all their benefits and none of their harm? May you be clearly able to discern what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God for you in this area.