According to multiple surveys, the average person spends something like 2 hours and 51 minutes on a smartphone per day, and among Americans in particular, 79% of adults daily spend 3 hours or more on a smartphone. (In both cases, this doesn’t count work-related usage.) As a matter of fact, chances are, you’re reading this on a smartphone! Given that these devices occupy such a significant part of our daily activities, it’s worth considering how they impact our lives.
Not surprisingly, numerous studies have looked at that very question. The research has discovered that excessive cell phone use often causes reduced social interaction, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and other emotional and mental health conditions. People can feel disconnected and isolated, and it doesn’t even matter if there are people around. All kinds of relationships suffer because the phone gets more attention than the family or spouse or friend. So what do we do about it?
Well, even though the Bible doesn’t specifically refer to all the various devices of our day, it’s full of examples where Jesus did something that gets right to the heart of this modern issue: He made people a priority. We read about how people interrupted Jesus when He was teaching or going somewhere. What did He do? He stopped and gave them His attention, and ministered to their needs. That’s a lot like us putting down our phones and focussing on the people around us. And not just sending them a text or DM, but actually spending time with people face to face. After all, Jesus didn’t just send word every time someone asked for help, but He would actually alter His course to go to them. Even though He had the power to do miracles from a distance, He chose to be up close and personal.
As it turns out, when we do this, and make the people that God has put in our lives the priority instead of our electronic devices, it helps both them and us. Even modern psychologists acknowledge that doing acts of service helps us to form bonds that lessen social isolation, and gives us purpose, which is shown to help lessen the effects of stress and anxiety. And having boundaries on phone use is known to help strengthen relationships. Of course, God is the one who made us for good works, and to love one another as He loves us. So it’s no surprise that when we do what He designed us to do, it comes out better for everyone.
So instead of spending every spare moment on our phones,
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another… (Heb 10:24-25 NLT)
We have to make the effort to prioritize people and relationships:
Don’t let technology take the place of relationships. We need to talk to one another and hear each other's hearts. (excerpt from Don’t Miss Your Destiny Due to Wrong Speaking, by Assistant Pastor Vondalier Pipkin)