Smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more ubiquitous. Increasingly they’re our constant source of news and entertainment. Sometimes it seems like these devices are surgically attached to our hands – but this reliance on smart technology is also demanding us to make decisions about what we prioritize and how we will steward our time.
The phone alarm wakes my husband. He rolls toward me, and I see his sweet smile through my sleepy eyes. And here I’m confronted with the first decision of the day: to go on my smartphone or to talk and cuddle with Steve.
The answer seems obvious and the response a no-brainer, but for some reason, I’m drawn to that device and the endless information behind my 4-digit passcode. What if there was a major news break or another earthquake in Asia? What if my mom texted something urgent or a friend posted a great picture on Instagram?
And so as I laid there weighing my options, I realize what I’m doing and how uneven the options are. Suddenly struck by how foolish I am to even consider these choices, I quickly roll over to give my husband my attention. After a kiss on my forehead, we talk for an hour. This sweet time together was nearly forfeited in exchange for outside world charms, admittedly not all equal, but still all lower priority than time with my best friend. But I’m saddened with the thought of how many times in the previous months I had chosen the iPhone over him.
How often we’re willing to engage the lives of others instead of the spouse or child at our side. All too often I’ve given my iPhone priority—at breakfast, after work or while making dinner.
To be candid, I knew this had been an issue for months, yet I shrugged it off. Repeatedly, Steve asked what was so interesting on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I could only answer, “Nothing.”
The irony was that with my constant browsing I was becoming bored and uninterested. And yet I continually found myself in that state of head down, fingers scrolling, searching - but for what? It not only bothered me, but I know the habit irritated my husband.
So I’m glad that I decided it was time to make a change that morning. And you know what? Since that Sunday “wake-up call,” Steve and I have grown closer and learned to put each other first. Turns out the virtual world can wait and – surprise! – the earth has kept on spinning.
Boundless, Focus’ outreach to young adults, has tackled the issue of smartphone addiction. Earlier this year, Chelsey was a guest on the Boundless podcast’s popular roundtable segment to talk about the topic “My Phone is my BFF.” You may also want to read Boundless’ article, “I Got an iPhone Infection.”
If you’re a parent who wants to instill responsible and common-sense boundaries around your child’s use of digital media, I recommend the article “Digital Junkies,” part of our parenting series on “Protecting Your Family” that explores issues like cultural influences, sexualization of children, and technology. You may also want to check out Net Nanny, Focus’ preferred ally in the area of online safety. You can receive a special back-to-school discount this month by using the link www.focusonthefamily.com/netnanny.
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