A Tool or A Terror?

There are things that I absolutely love about my Smartphone. I love being accessible anywhere and anytime by anyone who I have given my number to. In an occupation where people need me “right now” I can be found, informed, and respond. It’s so much better than warming an office seat or wearing one of those obnoxious beepers like I use to have. I really enjoy the freedom of texting too. Zip out a line or two that the recipient can read and respond at their leisure and communication reigns supreme! The map app has saved me time and anxiety, the camera has saved memories, sent information, and saved need-to-know stuff for me hundreds of time. After all these years, I still have to remind myself that I have it available always to catch those sunsets, passing deer, and experiences that vanish too quickly. I can check my email, look at weather, read my Bible, check my Bank account, use a dictionary, have an instant flashlight, find a pitch, punch a calculator, and even find out where North is. One of the most amazing benefits of my Smartphone is the time it saves me on research and learning. I can double check historical data, find out what year that movie came out, and find out things my brain just can’t seem to remember. So – I’ve shared all of that to make a clear statement. I like my iPhone and all that I can do with it. I do not think it is an evil invention that is slowly destroying our world. I do think, however, the addictive enveloping of our lives by our iPhone’s is going to cause us to see some truly terrible results in the years to come.

I mentioned in a lesson that iPhones are turning into idols for many people. If an idol is determined by the time spend with it, the devotion we give it, and the influence it has on us, it’s not much of a leap to say we’ve lost control of it. The professionals of medicine and psychology are just beginning to see what is happening to our society because of mass addiction to Smartphones from all ages and all parts of our nation. People can’t put the screen down! They can’t change rooms, go to the bathroom, stop at a stoplight, or carry on a conversation with others without holding a phone in their hands and checking it constantly to see if someone “likes” their last post or if Joe from High School twenty years ago sent a picture is his foot-long-hot-dog-with-chili and cheese! We are just beginning to see the results of ignored and neglected children, isolated families, unregulated screen use by kids, and the effects of online affirmation, bullying, and fake relationships. We are killing one another by the thousands with distracted driving and we are destroying relationships as people would rather scan Facebook than have a real conversation with someone who really does care about them.

It’s a tool! That is all it is, but we must be in control of it rather than let it control us. If adults, parents in particular, can’t clearly show control over the use of their mini-screens, how will the next generation be affected by that? It’s scary! It’s sad! It’s dangerous! The other day I watched a nine or ten year old boy with his head bowed looking at his phone walk straight across a street without the slightest glance to check for traffic either way! All I could think was, I wonder what his mom and dad would say if they saw that. The evil is not in the electronics but in the lack of self-control, balance, and priorities. Learn to function without it! Leave it OUT OF THE DINNING ROOM! DO NOT TAKE IT TO THE BEDROOM! Pick some specific times to use it and check on things, but then put it away except to use it as a REAL PHONE! Don’t let it cause you to be rude, disrespectful, or oblivious to what really counts. Keep it a tool and don’t let it turn into a terror!

Now…why do I feel hypocritical posting this on my blog and on Facebook? Hopefully it will help someone to take control.