Several years ago, I wrote about cell phones in my book Living Virtuously. I talked about how they seemed to have so much stimulation that they could make kids bored with other much less stimulating things in life such as reading a book or just having a conversation with another person. Boring! Thankfully my husband came up with this amazing Title to this blog post SMART IS THE NEW DUMB because we are united in our conclusions to the ability of smart devices making our people dumber. And our people perish for the lack of knowledge so we will inform you…About a year ago, I wrote about phones again after I succumbed to the pressures of our world, because every teenager in our midst has one or some sort of hand held device. I have to tell you with the most clarity as I am able, that I have seen in this short time the devastation of what these devices are able to do to families and children. These are some of my most heart felt observations.
I see kids, little children holding them wherever I go. In public places. In car seats. You can see the little ones touching the screen to make it turn to the image they want. At 2 years old, a child knows how to use them. Let me ask this first, “Why would ANYONE want to give a small child a device? Are you leaving your child to their own DEVICES?!?” A child comes to us with VERY LITTLE self control. As a child grows into adulthood they learn to have self control little by little. Oftentimes you will have 20 year old people who have as much self control as a 2 year old. I venture to say that we have this problem because of these past 8 years of SMART hand held devices!
The smarter they are, the dumber we can allow our precious God given minds to be. ASK SIRI! She knows. You no longer have to race to the library, or your books to look up your answers. And wait, in the last 20 years we have had the wonderful internet where we could look things up on our computers. Now we have the luxury of just simply asking SIRI or GOOGLE any question and expect an immediate answer. No more searching. They will search for us. And give us plenty of options.
Do you see anything wrong with that picture like I do? Do you think it is good for us, humans to have such power at the palm of our hand? Is it not like having a Genie in a bottle? I am not even scratching the surface to what you can do with a phone. I mean, you can go anywhere, see anything. You can find anyone pretty much with face recognition. And it does not seem to matter to anyone nowadays that google and the government keep records of everything done on the phone. Does it matter to anyone that that camera on that little phone can be used at anytime to surveil you? I guess I am the lone ranger again. Everyone looks at me like I am crazy because I hate what these phones are doing to our society.
They are tearing families apart. Families sit around and look at their hands instead of into each other’s faces anymore now. Marriages are ruined because one of the partners will look at some social media and find a long lost lover or look at porn sites. Kids, by the way, can access the porn in the privacy of their bathroom or bedroom. It is scary what kinds of things kids have to deal with today. Years ago porn was just something you had to have a VHS tape. Kids would find them at their parents homes and get together and watch them. I even had baby sitters put tapes in. Yes, I have had to see some dark images myself. BUT now, my goodness, kids can accidentally or intentionally search for terms that will bring them into the darkest places you will not want them to go. And things can’t be unseen. It took the blood of Jesus to overcome the images I had stored up in my very visual mind. I hated seeing those tapes over and over. The devil knows how to get people and he will do what he can.
Some people think porn is the only bad thing. Well, I think there are lots of other things that can become addictive. Like video games or Snap Chat! Those are premium addictions. Kids these days will freak if you get in-between them and that device because they have someone attacking their cities on a game, or one of their friends will be mad because they did not respond to that message immediately. How shallow! You become a slave to your friends these days. You have to answer them right away or they will jump to conclusions that you are ignoring or do not like them. Okay, if you or your kids need to be at everyone’s beck and call, and have to be on your toes at all times, you can call it what you want, but I will call it enslavement. Its the old ball and chain that you have in your pocket and you put that stress upon yourself! Those people OWN YOU!
A little over a year ago, my husband said we ought to have an upgrade of a smart phone because it is nice to be able to see your emails if you are away, or check on your social media that you use for business. He is right, when you have a business, you kind of need to keep on top of orders or messages because if people are paying you, you owe it to them to provide a good service. BUT, as soon as we opened that door, the kids felt it their God given right to also have one. And you get the comment, “But all the kids at church have them and they are good christian people!” We have them and then we take them away, it has become good leverage. You can get your kids to do everything they are supposed to do if you say they can have their allotted time on their devices. I would rather that they NEVER had them to start with. My husband is the most balanced of all people I know on this earth, so he likes to teach them moderation, self control, and if we did not allow them, they would get them as soon as they are grown and be so head over heels for them because they were deprived of them. We just constantly try to teach and lead them and it is amazing how the kids make better choices based on that. My father recently told me, “I am so glad that I am not raising kids in this day and age with smart phones being the latest greatest thing!” I wish it was not such a major thing. I really do. I wish technology would just slow down!
Where have we gone? Have we gone down the path of no return? Is it too late to swing the pendulum in our churches? Do we have to all own these smart phones?
I hear people say they can keep better track of their kids with them. They can use them for a ministry. But I say, WHY not just share Jesus like they used to a hundred years ago. If more people were out talking to people instead of texting, we surely could reach as many people. Am I just an idealist when I say that these phones get us more disconnected? I am not sure. I am an idealist, I will say that. I do want to see things change for the better. I know that one day EVERYONE will find out that these phones did more harm than good and that tablets and phones for kids was a really bad idea. I will venture to say that the little hand held devices make people selfish. They just are so self absorbed when they are looking into them, they ignore all else and are focused on keeping themselves entertained in some way.
Most people do not use phones to call people they message or text people. We have gotten far away from calling hours, where someone will stop over for a short visit like they did long ago in a different era when there were no phones. Now you can invite your friends over to play on their phones!!!! That is a sad state of affairs! Think about it, what a joke! Especially teens. Wow! They are so addicted to them, everywhere you turn, you will see kids who are so bored with their lives that they need to have a phone in their hands to look at, to BOW DOWN TO! The little selfish idols is what I call them! A movie is
not enough these days, they occasionally glance up to the movie in-between their steady gaze upon their precious little phones. This is what I observe when we invite youth to our house for a game night or movie night. I am the mean mama that has more rules about how much time I allow my kids to waste.
I am the nag that sits there and reminds them to use their precious mind that God gave them. Most kids have unlimited time on them so we look like the mean parents that only allow an hour or less. But that is even a lot. 365 hours in a year wasted! If you used it for 4 hours a day like the average person does, you would have 1460 hours on that dreadful device!
Practice makes Perfect
Think of what kind of skill a person or child could become proficient in if they spent that many hours practicing. It is said that it takes an average of 10,000 hours to gain mastery of any area of skill. People get mad if someone is better at a skill than they are, WELL, get off your smart phone, use your brain again, and get busy learning a skill yourself. But sadly most people would just rather use their finger to move a screen round than pick up an instrument and learn how to play a song. If you are an average person using a phone the average amount of time of 4.7 hours a day, and you are awake for the average amount of 15 hours a day, that is a third of your day on a device. And the average of Listen to this from Huffington post…They did a study and found that people check their phones an average of 55 times a DAY!!!!
“It is quite shocking that on average, approaching one third of people’s waking hours are spent using them, with phones being used on average five times an hour, every waking hour,” House told The Huffington Post in an email. “This suggests that we urgently need to research into the psychodynamics of these technologies, in terms of the emotional — and possibly psychopathological — function they are serving in people’s lives.” see the whole article:
The poor phones are used like slaves that never get a day off! They have to be smarter than you, intuitive, and even predict your next thought sometimes. Why does that phone not deserve a break? I think they should get the CPS out to punish people that abuse those things by making them work too hard. Slave driving the little devices. I am really just kidding about this, but seriously, what in the world are we doing using these things so much?!?
Or this… imagine a 20 year old person of our present culture standing before God. (JUST an example)…God says, “What have you done with your life? (he already knows, but for the sake of my story…) The young person answers… “I have kept in contact with 200 people. I have 560 followers. I spend about 4 hours each day checking in on my stories and streaks from snapchat so I have gotten a whopping score of 30,000!!! AND not only that, I have made it to the final level of this amazingly difficult video game that only few have gotten to that level. I worked so hard to get there.” God replies, “So then, what did you tell those 560 people about me?” And the person replies, “Well, they knew I was a Christian because I posted a few times a bible verse on my WALL and I have a few Christian songs that I play. They also know that I belong to a church and I have gone on a mission trip once. Oh, yeah, and one time, I went with my church to pass out tracks at a parade!” God says, “Depart from me, I never knew you!” What a shock, right?! Or no?
God wants a relationship with you. Just evaluate how much time you spend on that phone tapping into others lives from the device in your hand versus how much time you spend tapping into GOD with a bible in your hand. Just figure it out. Does God come first? Who is actually on the throne of your life or your kids life? Have we all become like sheep that have gone astray from our first love?
I see that phone as a tool! It can be used for business as a tool, for calling, for taking a photo, and it can also be a tool used of the DEVIL to distract us from what we are supposed to be doing! It can be a trap to suck us into hundreds of hours of unproductive activity in our lives just sitting there with our finger scrolling and smiling down at our hand. It is that pathetic folks! Yet I reluctantly have one! I could be called a hypocrite, I know! I would like to get rid of it and have plans to move back into getting a dumb phone, one that flips open and you just use it for emergencies when you are away from home.
In the past people used to talk to people either audibly or in person, but now we have people fixed to their phones like as if these phones are another organ of their bodies. They will die if you remove them! It has changed the dynamics of our society completely. I see so many people constantly checking their phones. For now, I have made a personal choice to only use my cell phone if I am out of my home for emergency purposes. And still, if I am in the company of others, I never have beeping sounds or notifications enabled, so I will not be so RUDE as to check my phone while I am with others. It just shows others that what they are saying is of little to no importance to you.
Rather, I have set times that I check my computer in my home for messages and my pages. Once in the morning to check and to write while my family is still asleep. I do not scroll Facebook, I use my time with intention. I have an amount of time that I set aside to do my business or ministry and that is it.
Should we get rid of them? I would like to say YES, but that is as unrealistic as saying the sun wont shine. People are dependent on them so you can just get rid of them. You can control them instead of allowing them to control you or your family…
- Discipline yourself to have certain checkpoints during the day to check messages and answer them.
- Turn off notifications so you are not constantly distracted and rude to everyone else you are around. Most things can wait until you’re free.
- If you do have social media, be intentional with your time. Don’t just stalk and scroll over people’s lives. Be different. Instead of stalking a long lost friend, just message them a nice note or call them. Or stop over to see them sometime.
Just remember we need to tap into Jesus. Why not be addicted to Him and follow him instead of following people all day long?
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”