I have a love-hate relationship with my smartphone. I have run the gamut from being in complete awe of this miracle device to hating it for being so distracting that I’ve nearly sacrificed relationships because of it.
I love that my phone keeps me connected to the world, to my family, reminds me of appointments, holds my entire library, fun games, recipes, shopping lists, photos, maps, calculators, online shopping apps, movies and well, you get the idea! I have enjoyed the challenge and learning curve as well, yes, even for someone of my “mature” age. Technology today, and staying in touch with it, requires me to keep learning and growing and expanding my world.
However, thinking that I’d finally be happy because of what my device can do – providing “likes” on demand and giving me more information at faster speeds – it’s a lie! No matter how much “more” I have or how many more “likes” I get, I am never satisfied. These devices are changing how we relate to each other and how we connect. Sometimes these changes are wonderful, like video calls across time zones, but other times, they are making us think we’re connecting with others when we really aren’t. We just end up feeling more and more isolated and alone.
I balk when I walk into a room, filled with young and old alike, that haven’t the least interest in looking up from their device to carry on a short conversation or offer a friendly hello. I get it – a game, movie, or even a book or email can captivate our attention and keep us looking deeply into the never ending well that we hold in our hands. But I worry about where are priorities are, and where this will lead our society.
I’ve had to take a long look at myself and make sure I’m actually putting what’s most important to me first, and this has meant I needed to set serious boundaries regarding technology. I do NOT want technology to be the glittering distraction that sucks me in and takes me away from relationships. I want it to be PART of my world, a welcome addition, that helps me to connect and know the most important people in my life even better.
Here are a few of the technology boundaries I set up for myself.
- SOLITUDE – Start my day with “Before Phone Time“ (BPT) – with quietness, gratitude and prayer.
- BE PRESENT – When people are in the room with me, put the phone away and look them in the eye, and have a REAL conversation!
- A WELCOME ADDITION – Use technology to my benefit to connect with those who cannot be in the room with me.
Technology has changed and so has the way I do many things in life. Life will always bring change and I’m going to adapt until the day I leave this planet, but I will endeavor to be present, considerate and loving and not let my phone be my best friend.