Recently I was reading an article about how my generation had been reclassified. Being born in the early 80s people my age don’t fully identify with Millennials or Generation X so we’ve been dubbed Xennials. Generation X were mostly adults before the huge technology boom of almost everyone having internet and cell phones, and Millennials for the most part won’t remember a time when they didn’t have instant access to their favorite forms of entertainment. Xennials on the other hand grew up in the middle of the technology revolution.
I remember a time where the only phone I had was attached to the kitchen wall, now I have one in my pocket where ever I go. I had to get up early on Saturday to see the good cartoons, now kids can watch just about anything whenever they want, including watching on their phones. When internet arrived it was dial up connected to your house phone, now it’s wireless and on your cell phone. My favorite video games were (and still are) 8bit, now they are 4K. Even the games on our phones have movie style graphics.
Gone are the days of mom giving you a quarter so you could call to be picked up when the movie was done. Most kids these days have never seen a payphone, and never had the joy of checking the return slot for forgotten change.
Cell phones are an amazing tool with hundreds of benefits, but as with most things it can have it’s drawbacks. Your phone and it’s contents can become an addiction. I can see a bunch of people reading this and rolling their eyes. Hey JP3 it’s not smoking, drugs, or gambling. What do you mean addiction? I can quit whenever I want. To those people I say what’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep and first thing you do when you wake up, what do you always make sure you have when you go to the bathroom? I’d guess the majority of answers involve cell phones and/or cigarettes.
I’m not saying cell phones are bad, we just need to know when to put them down. Similar to my previous post about routine the plus and minuses depend on you. The above picture is just a sample of some of the things in my phone. Multiple social media apps, hundreds of photos, email, games for me, games for the kids, movies, music, the bible, my online school courses and of course the entire internet.
While it’s fine to take some time and scroll through FaceBook or throw a couple birds at some pigs, it takes real willpower and self control to stay focused when using the phone for other purposes. Most of the time I do my school work on my cell phone. I tend to do my bible study on my phone as well, the issue comes when you hear that notification sound. Do you immediately open that text, or click open FaceBook to see that comment. If your constantly distracted when doing important things on your phone you have the option of turning off notifications, or if need be when possible and you have something important to do like school work put the phone away and use a computer. If your doing your daily bible study and are constantly getting emails, snap chats etc, put the phone down and break out the hard copy. I highly recommend during prayer time and anytime you put aside just for you and God you leave your phone in the other room, or at the very least put it on silent so you won’t be distracted.
Sometimes it’s just necessary to do things on your phone, the bigger issue comes during personal time. How many times have you been talking to someone and they look down at their phone, or they are even texting while talking to you? Worse how many times have you been sitting right next to someone and texted them instead of speaking to them directly? I’ve been in business meetings where the other person spent more time responding to texts and doing other things on their phone than talking and interacting with me. Before my pending divorce there would be times where my wife would be in the bedroom and I would be in the living room and we’d be texting each other instead of walking down the short hallway and talking face to face. Even when we’d be spending time together watching a movie or a TV show one of us would be messing around on our phones, pinning things or playing a game.
I’m not here to point fingers, I’m just as guilty as anyone out there of being addicted to my phone. We need to overcome this disconnect in human communication. For those with kids its doubly important as they watch everything we do, and their thirst for technology starts young. Not only do we need to monitor them, but we need to lead by example. If they see our face constantly buried behind our phone they not only think it’s ok, they think it’s normal.
In a time where the whole world is at our fingertips, we can’t lose focus at what is right in front of us.