Technology benefits humanity in countless ways. Medical treatment is better than ever, communication is easier, bigger and better buildings are constructed, etc. Technology allows many of us to work from home. In the area of work and health, I can’t argue that technology has been a huge win.
My concern is in the area of recreation, media, and socialization. As individuals, are we slowly losing our ability to think creatively? To socially interact with others? To appreciate the outdoors? I’ve been mulling over these thoughts amidst the Corona Virus scare where we have all been ordered to stay home.
There is no doubt the masses are turning to technology more than ever for entertainment. I myself am guilty. I am recovering from knee surgery in addition to being stuck at home due to the virus. As a result of so much sitting around, I have allowed my normal barriers and values to slip. I find myself constantly needing entertainment. If the TV isn’t on, then I’m on my phone. I consistently check social media and scroll brainlessly. Or I shop for things online I don’t really need. After several weeks of this behavior, I have observed myself becoming more unsatisfied. I feel more and more useless, my brain feels like mush. I’ve observed a decrease in proactivity and in the desire to even read a book. I can just click on the TV and effortlessly be preoccupied with pointless “entertainment”.
I know this kind of lifestyle is not beneficial. Besides the inactivity of my brain, I am filled with comparison as I only see the good things other people post. Or, even worse, I allow myself to watch shows or movies that slowly create cultural norms against my values. We become what we fill ourselves with. I have heard it said you are the culmination of the five people you hang out most with. How much more so do we become what we listen to and watch on TV constantly? Hollywood does indeed tell America’s stories with much power. So does the news media and social media. Normalizing new values happens through subtle introductions in media and entertainment until original, opposing values are viewed as old fashioned or wrong. We must be careful how much time we spend on technology. It is more powerful than most recognize.
Please don’t take me to the ultimate extreme. I’m not advocating everyone should delete all social media and never watch a movie again. I’m advocating for us all to limit our time with technology and think about what values we are letting Hollywood sneak into our lives. We should consider the validity of news media as well. Just because it’s on the news, doesn’t mean it’s true. Unfortunately, news media always has a bias and an agenda. The more drama they stir, the more money they make. Instead of constantly surrounding yourself with all of the noise, go for a walk with your spouse or friend. Get outside. Read a book. Play a game. Enjoy a real conversation. Think about what your values are and what you are filling your mind with. If your kids see you on your phone all the time, guess what they will want to do?
Here are a few signs you may need to cut back:
- Can you go a few hours without your phone? Or do you feel naked without it?
- Are you able to sit silently alone and think for 20 minutes without being distracted with a screen?
- Can you go to the bathroom without taking your phone?
- Do you pick up a book or the remote more often?
- In regard to news media, are you responding out of fear or truth?
- Do you set any time aside in your day for reflection, goal setting, creative thinking, or gratitude?
I’ll be honest, the last few weeks I have not liked my answers to these questions. It’s time for me to cut back. What about you?
1 Corinthians 6:12
“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” - but I will not be mastered by anything.
- Jess Patrick