I’m not old enough to remember “the party line” … but I very much remember the days of call waiting and dial-up internet. I remember rehearsing our answering machine greeting with my sister… “Hi, this is Matt. Hi, this is Emily. We’re the Trammel’s! Leave a message please!” It must’ve taken a hundred times to get those few sentences right. My first cell phone was given to me as a high school graduation present. It was the flip phone, StarTAC, and could only hold fifty numbers. I remember when I got my first “texting package” of fifty texts A MONTH… and don’t you dare go over! Many people now send fifty texts an hour. Sometimes it’s hard to remember life before devices. How did we ever survive without Google, Siri, and Alexa?
Technology can be a really good thing. Advances in medicine, transportation, and indoor plumbing have made life exponentially easier. But as with all good things that humans attain, the tendency for abuse and excess is always present. The introduction of the cell phone has been incredibly convenient. My parents live in Florida, so FaceTime has been amazing to have for grandparents that desperately miss their grandkids. With all the good, I fear there’s more bad, and we’re yet to see just how much this technology is affecting us.
Today I’m putting forth the belief that if we don’t seriously pump the brakes on this cell phone lifestyle, we’re going to create generations of social and emotional invalids. The average American spends almost four hours every day on their cell phone! FOUR HOURS!!! That means that each week of your life you’re spending at least a full day staring at a little glowing rectangle! Start doing some math on that and see how devastating this addiction is becoming. The life scenarios that I see each day… kid playing at the park… parent staring at their phone. Walking around the weight room… on your phone. Group of friends at the dinner table… everyone looking down at their phones instead of interacting with each other. Don’t even get me starting about using your phone while driving. How many cars have you sat behind at a green light because they’re looking at their phone?! There’s no such thing as idle time anymore. If there’s a split second of downtime, you’re reaching for your phone. To do what? More than likely nothing important at all. These devices are not so subtly taking over our lives. We are turning into the most connected-disconnected culture the world has ever seen.
I can promise you this… at the end of your life, when you’re lying in your bed ready to meet Jesus, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be thinking and wishing that you’d have had just ten more likes on that one post from thirty years ago. You won’t be wishing that you would’ve gotten a hundred more followers on your Instagram. You won’t want five more minutes of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. You’ll most likely be wanting one thing… time. Time with your kids when they were playing on that playground. One last meal with everyone sitting around the table talking about their day at school. I’ll be wanting one more lifting session! Time is such a crazy thing! Time invaluable and how you choose to spend it is important.
You’re likely more addicted than you know. I’m encouraging you to disconnect… disconnect from your cell phone and connect with someone or something that can actually add value to your life. At four hours a day, you could even pick up a new hobby. Get outside… exercise… go on a walk with your kids or spouse. Just please put the cell phone down! Don’t waste your life. It’s already too short as it is! Love y’all!