You know, we can live without getting a getting a haircut for a while. We can live without having the latest and greatest television and surround sound (at least until Black Friday comes along). But one thing that nearly half of any given American group of people can’t live without is their cell phone. According to a recent study, our teens are currently spending 8 and a half hours per day in front of a phone or tablet screen. My wife also informed me that around the 5th grade, kids are issued a tablet of some sort for communication and homework purposes. Honestly, part of me thinks that it’s a good thing that our kids become proficient with the latest technology, but another part of me knows that this can and will feed the problem we have.
Interestingly, Apple itself recognized the issue that I’m speaking of in this post. You may be surprised to know that the Apple Watch was created for the specific reason of decreasing our dependency upon our iPhones. Too much time spent on social media, and too little time spent cultivating legitimate relationships and enjoying life outside of likes and retweets. Too many conversations interrupted by a text message or email. Too many people feeling unimportant because the notifications get more attention than the person in front of them.
So, how do we get detached from something that is literally dividing us more than connecting us? I plan to offer you my personal journey on this topic over the next week or two. The best example I have is my own so you’ll just have to dash it with salt and spit out the bones.
MY PERSONAL SOLUTION/JOURNEY
I recognized it.
Until we are convicted that we have a serious problem, then we won’t take our problem seriously.
Yes, I know it sounds like I’m in Alcoholics Anonymous, but seriously my addiction–scratch that--my idolatry, is a problem. I knew that I had to do something about it. I knew that I spent too much time (and still do) on my devices and too little time doing what matters most.
I googled it.
I had to find an app, an article, a book-something that was going to help me deal with this issue. I know, I know, “an app that helps me not use my phone as much?!”, I saw the glaring contradiction, too. But I was desperate. I needed help. That’s when I found Moment.
Moment is an app that tracks your phone and app usage and let’s you see the carnage you left behind and all the time you wasted each and every week in a beautiful but eye-opening layout. It’s a bittersweet application, really. it boasts that the average user sees a decrease of phone usage by 1 hour and 2 minutes per day.
You can see more about this app by clicking here.
I applied it.
I’m still in the process of killing this deadly, poisonous sin.
I have to remind myself as often as I can remember that my phone and iPad are tools, not toys.
We are an entertainment culture. We are a consumeristic culture. We also are a very immediate-gratification culture. We want what we want and we want it now. Then, when the novelty wears off, we immediately seek the next best thing. I know this is a trap, spring-loaded and ready for me to step on. Case in point on that: if you look at the photos below, you’ll see that my usage is up over last year (under screen time), that’s because I’ve allowed the purchase of a new iPhone to ruin my hard-bought ground in the past.
Fourth, I cultivate it.
Remember, Ephesians 5:15-16 is God’s plan for our time and management of it. A wise person walks wisely by ignoring what gratifies the flesh and submits to the desire of God, the Holy Spirit. A man that loves God walks with God and leverages his time for the glory of God. Fortunately, Moment has a couple of awesome helps inside the app (if you pay the premium, and I gladly did). Boot camp and Bored and Brilliant. I’ve been using the app for over a year now and these two functions were life-savers, and I visit them on a regular basis.
So, here’s some questions that I had to ask myself when I started this:
- God wants me to water my wife with the Word and shepherd her. How can I do that if I’m spending half the day on my phone?
- God wants me to raise my son to be godly, mature, and full of the knowledge of His Word. How can I do that when he’s on the iPad mini in the other room for hours?
- God wants me to devote my time to holiness and prayer. How can I do that if I’m scrolling through social media or down in the fourth dimension of YouTube for hours on end?
The answer to all of these questions is I can’t.
I’ll be writing more on this subject, as I only wanted to point you to some helps but also hopefully spur you into downloading the app that has helped me so much.
I’ve attached my own personal screenshots below so you can get a peek at what to expect:
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