HomeOpinionOpinionSmartphones: Redeeming our time while staying connected — Vivienne Solomons

Smartphones: Redeeming our time while staying connected — Vivienne Solomons

 

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A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.

So how much time do I spend on my mobile ‘phone? This was the question I asked myself this past week, a question prompted by a video I came across on Facebook.

It was the recording of a woman with what appeared to be her young child. It looked like they were in a waiting room and mom was texting someone on her phone, all the while her little girl was trying to get her attention.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t working and the little girl started crying. She desperately wanted her mom … to respond. Eventually, after what seemed an age, mom picked the little girl up and placed her on her lap, still holding the phone and texting.

I was shocked and saddened but it got me to thinking. Not only about how we parent our children in the modern age but also how we spend our time. And whether we are indeed redeeming it or, dare I say, “smart ‘phoning” it away.

But it is difficult. We live in an age where many of us, to a greater or lesser degree are dependant on our smart phones, both for work and for recreation. So much so that our phones go everywhere with us. They may be the first thing we reach for in the morning and the last thing we check at night.

Apart from connecting us with others via voice calls, text and email, they enhance and simplify our lives in so many ways: we can bank on them, shop on them, arrange transport with them, order food with them, and – my personal favourite – arrive at our destination without the use of an old school map.

We can also now take professional quality photographs on our phones. Not to mention the fact that we have access to newspapers and a world and wealth of information at our finger tips.

I even recently discovered a security app that integrates all components of an alarm system on a mobile phone, to be accessed and managed wherever we are, as if we are present on the property concerned. Needless to say, there are many valid reasons to own a smart ‘phone.

But what of the drawbacks? Drawbacks? Yes, there are drawbacks! Ever since Motorola produced the first mobile phone in 1973, there has been some debate around this topic.

Indeed, much has been written about the dangerous and negative effects of screen use in general, on children. My 10 year old likes to call it digital cocaine – his words (borrowed, of course) summing up his own experience with a phone that we allowed him to have and then thought better of it – until he is older.

But what of adults? While many studies have been conducted in this regard, the following issues have been found to be common points of concern:

  • Distraction: Our phones can distract us from our work and important time-sensitive tasks, not to mention our relationships with others.
  • Interruption: The constant ringing, melodies and vibration may interrupt important meetings, time spent with loved ones and even our sleep.
  • Cost: Airtime and data bundles cost, whether on contract or not, sometimes at the expense of other priorities.
  • Dependency: We can become so dependent on (read: addicted to) our ‘phones that we fail to communicate in real life, with the people around us.
  • Isolation: While the phone is designed to connect us, it can also isolate us — if we allow it to monopolise our time and/or attention.
  • Security issues: There is the constant risk that if someone should access our phones (either physically or remotely), our identity (including passwords and pin numbers), contacts and photos might be exposed to theft.
  • Eyesight issues: When we hunch over our phones in the dark for long periods of time, we run the risk of straining our eyes.
  • Text neck: When we have our heads hung forward and looking down at our phones for extended periods of time, we experience “text neck”, a repetitive stress injury to the muscles and soft tissue of the neck, resulting in chronic headaches and even curvature of the spine.
  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI): The constant tapping of our fingers on our phones can lead to RSI in our fingers.

There is no doubt that the use of a mobile phone can and does enhance our lives in numerous ways. As Christians, however, we are encouraged by the Word of God to be wise and redeem our time, making the most of very opportunity.

So how can we redeem the time while staying connected? While this will look different for each one of us, what is clear is that our use of the phone must be intentional and within limits, if we are to not run the risk of its use having a negative impact on our health, our relationships, our work and ultimately, our quality of life.

 
Smartphones: Redeeming our time while staying connected — Vivienne Solomons  

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2 Comments

  1. Hugh G Wetmore says:

    16c SMART-PHONE LONELINESS

    Have you seen the people,
    lonely in their crowds,
    pecking at their smart-phones,
    hour after hours?
    Fam’ly meals are silent,
    friends connect with friends,
    blind to those around them,
    deaf to social ends.
    Pity all the people,
    lonely in their crowds,
    pecking at their smart-phones
    hour after hours.

    Spilling out their secrets,
    sending stupid views,
    getting into trouble,
    spreading their fake news.
    I have opted out of
    this empty, hollow bliss.
    Proud to be ‘a faceless twit’,
    and I’m glad of this.
    Follow my example,
    quit this hollow bliss,
    Be a ‘faceless twit’ and
    you’ll be glad of this.

    I’m still in control of
    my restricted days,
    happily avoiding
    these addictive ways.
    I have better ways to
    use my precious time ~
    writing my convictions
    in this alerting rhyme.
    So be careful how you live,
    understand God’s ways.
    Do not be unwise, but
    buy back wasted days.

    Words: Hugh G Wetmore © 2018.
    An application of Ephesians 5:15-17
    Metre: 6565 triple
    Tune: St Gertrude (Onward Christian soldiers)

  2. Sjp says:

    All the way behind you brother.They are so blind they do’nt see the hole in front of them.