The Smartphone: A Necessary Tool or Distraction?
It is often said that what one doesn’t know the purpose of they are likely to abuse it. This can be said for pretty much everything in life, from food, to relationships and even our mobile devices. Yes, we know that smartphones are here in the world to assist us with everyday tasks, but they have also become such a part of us that we would never dream to part from.
Many of us carry our smartphones with us daily and use them constantly throughout the day (nearly 150 times!) I’m looking at mine now as I write this, because, God forbid I didn’t know where it was, I’d go into a hysteric panic.
Let’s face it—many of us have a tendency to use these our devices beyond their use as a tool for communication. According to one study, adults (18 years and up) use their mobile devices for 2 hours and 51 minutes per day in 2016, with young adults (18-24) spent as much as 4 hours and 5 minutes per day.
That’s a looooot of YouTube, Facebook and texting.
What we tend to use our mobile devices for varies from person to person, but social media takes the cake. Iit can be a tool or a hindrance to our growth—if we let it. Psycom shared a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine that states the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and report symptoms of depression.
This a celly/That’s a tool, rapped Childish Gambino is his viral “This Is America” music video. High Snob Society broke down those lyrics and more in a video on how our mobile devices can be harmful, from being mistaken as a weapon or a distraction that leads to apathy towards the suffering of others. Donald not the only artist to shed light on what our devices could be. Kanye West used his platform to share how our phones can be tools:
Look at your phone as tool not an obligation. Would you walk around with a hammer in your pocket? You would pick up a hammer when you needed it you would never be addicted or obligated to it. Use your phone like a hammer only pick it up when you need it. — ye (@kanyewest) May 21, 2018
Our mobile devices can affect our mood and entire day should they not work at the level our Wi-Fi or 4G+ connection allows. This is where we spiral downwards into idol territory, which is a bad place for any believer. In a nutshell, anything that we willingly give more attention to than God is an idol. It can be the simplest things that can steal your attention and eat up your day. This can also have a harmful effect on your spiritual walk, if you are not spending that time you do have with God in His Word.
Smartphones are tools, but how can we appropriately distinguish our use of them from distraction and necessity? Here are some practical ways to change up how you use your phone and social media as tools and not crutches:
1. Do an app purge
Get rid of the apps that don’t serve as a help and serve more as a distraction from your productivity.
2. Engage more in person
Use your device to set up a time to go out with friends or loved ones and disconnect from it once you’re together. That one-on-one communication is needed for individual growth and fosters esteem in all participating parties. Basically: get out more and use your devices less! Save the selfies for later, k?
3. Put yourself on a time limit
There are apps to serve as your accountability partners in lowering your time online or on the device in general. You can also consider fasting from social media. I have before and it brought so much peace to me after I put my phone away.
4. Break your worst habit with the device
Is going to your phone or social media profile the first thing you do in the morning? Or maybe it’s looking at your phone while in conversation with others in person. Whatever your worst habit may be, take the steps to break it for good.
Hey ArtSoul fam! What other ways have you used your mobile device or social media as a tool for good? How has it been a distraction for you at times? Share below!