It’s interesting to think about the challenges each generation faces. Our grandparents probably couldn’t have imagined a world where we have access to virtually every source of information, every buying opportunity and every social conversation in the world. And while this advancement is good in so many ways, like everything else, it has grave pitfalls.
The worst part, to me, of our Internet Age is that these things have access to us in a way that makes it feel impossible to resist. Most of us carry a phone around because it’s convenient. But the trade off to convenience is that we are expected to be available to anyone who needs us, 24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week. (The only way I’ve found to avoid this dilemma is to simply not carry a phone. Believe it or not, one can survive in the 21st century without one unless it is needed for work. Most of the human race has survived for centuries.)
So we’ve created a great irony. For the sake of convenience and/or saving time:
- we’re expected to be constantly available to throngs of people, making us busier than we’ve ever been, negating the original purpose of the technology.
- We’re in touch with more people, and lonelier than ever.
- We have access to more information but think less than ever because of distraction and stimuli.
Perhaps even worse, it puts our face-to-face relationships in jeopardy.
The one texting you doesn’t know you’re in a conversation with your husband. But if you don’t answer, you know they’ll feel ignored. And ignoring people is rude. And we don’t want to be rude. So to avoid being rude to our friend who texted, we are rude to our husband by interrupting the conversation we’re having to answer our friend.
For one of the most powerful, eye-opening books about this subject, go and get Simplicity Parenting. It is so, so good.
Even where we use our devices for work–and many people truly depend on them–it allows our clients, employers/employees to have constant access to our personal lives and interferes with our family relationships, as opposed to the old-fashioned 8 hour work day.
And when our children, who have less self-control than we do are given devices–when our whole family is now consumed with looking, playing, texting, shopping, answering–we stand to lose so much more than what we were supposed to be gaining.
And sometimes, more is less. A lot less.
We are no longer able to be “all there” wherever we are. We are scattered, with attentions split, 16-tabs-open-at-a-time people. And ironically, as advancements in technology do buy us more time, we just fill it up with more activities or browsing, or connections. We don’t like to admit it because it might mean drastic change.
(I could insert here the studies about what all this does to our brains, but there’s enough to talk about without it.)
Can we use the benefits of technology for the glory of God in our lives? Yes, absolutely! But we need to be extremely aware of how easily it can rob us of the important, simpler things in life.
I may be the meanest mamma in the world because I haven’t bought my kids a smartphone (I’m sure by now “smartphone” is so last month but I don’t know the newest cool thing). But maybe one day they’ll think I’m smart and not so mean after all.