Checking texts, scrolling through Facebook, posting pictures, and typing emails are all part of our everyday lives – a big part. Think about how much time you spend on your phone, tablet, or computer each day. Thirty minutes? An hour? One report says that the average person spends about 90 minutes a day on their phone. Another says that number may be even higher, up to 4.7 hours a day. Even if we take the smaller statistic and add up those 90 minutes per day, it amounts to 23 days per year and almost 4 years of the average person’s life. We also check our phones an average of 85 times per day.
Most of us wouldn’t deny that we spend too much time on our phones. But we justify our constant typing, scrolling, and liking by saying that “it is just a part of life.” “That’s the way it is these days.” While it’s true, there is nothing inherently wrong with texting, emailing, and most social media sites, should that be our standard? Should we continue to spend hours upon hours on something just because there is nothing bad about it? While he probably didn’t know that it would apply to smart phones and iPads back in the day, Paul wrote a verse that is relevant to this very subject. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” In other words, just because checking our phones isn’t sinful, it is not doing anything to help draw us or those around us closer to God. Our phones are not bad in themselves, but when we are controlled by the need to check our messages or see how many likes our posts have gotten, we are brought under their power – and we are more focused on that than on our walk with the Lord.
Set aside a day this week to put down your phones, close your laptops, and talk to the people around you, instead of those that pop up on your screens. For just one day, challenge your family to unplug and find something to do together, face to face. Explain to the kids that it is not a punishment, rather a way to talk and spend time together without the distractions of your emails or their snapchats. Spend time enjoying the people and places around you. At the end of the day, talk about what was hard about giving up the phone or computer, as well as what was beneficial. Build on those responses to come up with a plan to encourage the family to look up from their screens in the days, weeks, and months to come. It doesn’t have to be drastic, but a few simple changes can lead to a world of difference in the way your family members engage and interact with each other and with the world around them.
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