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Is your phone controlling your life?


Your smartphone is supposed to help you connect with your loved ones and live a more productive life. While that’s certainly possible, our phones can often be more of a distraction than a help for many of us. Do you think of your phone as a needed friend, a foe, or something in between?

Your phone may be controlling your life if you find yourself texting when you should be talking, watching when you should be participating, and scrolling when you should be working. From the very young to the old, we are being negatively affected by the overuse of phones. Sitting in a restaurant with my family, I noticed a husband and wife probably in their late 70s eating dinner together. The gray haired man was occupied with his phone the entire time, while his sweetheart stared into space. This is not how a couple’s night out is supposed to look at any age. Technology is quickly advancing, but what about our personal relationships?


Here are 10 ways your phone may be controlling your life. Take a look and see if any of these issues ring true in your life.

1. Texting Too Much, Talking Too Little. Do you find it easy to text, but not as easy to talk?  It’s great to text a grocery list or meeting place, but it’s not so great for meaningful conversation.  You can text “Love you” to a family member, and that’s positive.  But to stay close to family or friends, there has to be more.  Strong relationships are not built on texting.  When it comes to spending time together in person, put the phones away and talk and laugh with each other instead.

2. I'm Too Busy To Listen
I’ve heard many people talk about how hurt they were when their friend or family member took an incoming call or text in the middle of a conversation.  One survey of 6,000 Adults found that 54 percent of their kids checked their phones too often, and 36 percent said their parents’ worst habit was getting distracted by their phones in the midst of a conversation.  Make sure you’re not too busy with your technology to give those present your undivided attention.  This means putting away phones during mealtimes and maybe leaving your phone in airplane mode more often. 

3. Too Many Video Games
Although women can certainly overdo video games, men tend to be more at risk for video game addiction.  Understand that it’s not a fair fight; video games have been designed to be highly addictive, combining an immersive visual experience with a mission and social network of gamers.  Is your work or personal life suffering because of too much time spent playing video games?

4. I Can't Stop Checking Social Media
In this age of selfies and likes, women can spend endless hours scrolling through photos of friends, acquaintances, celebrities, or news.  Spare moments can easily be filled with a quick peek at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or the like.  Once there, it’s easy to lose track of time.  Social media can become a convenient escape when we want to avoid the responsibilities of the daily grind. 


5. Work, Work, and More Work
We used to leave our work at the office because we had to, but this isn’t the case anymore.  Now with technology, our work comes home with us.  We can answer emails in a myriad of ways – our desktop computer, iPad, phone, or laptop.  We’re almost expected to respond even when business hours have long ended.  Working without boundaries leads to stress and anxiety.
As Solomon says, “All things are wearisome, more than one can say.  The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing”(Ecclesiastes 1:8).


6. Is That Your Phone In Bed?
The end of the day is a welcome time for rest and relaxation, but many kids, teens, and adults are using phones until the last possible second.  Our brains need to rest from looking at screens before bedtime.  71 percent of today society sleep with or next to their smartphones.  If you aren’t an emergency worker or caregiver who needs a phone nearby, charge your phone in another room to get a better night’s sleep.  You don’t need a digital binky. 

7. Viewing Inappropriate Content
Think of the video clips, images, and games viewed on your phone.  Are they character building, pure, and good? Pornography used to be much harder to access, but now it’s easier than ever to find porn online or stumble across it accidentally.  Proverbs 4:23 instructs us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  We must guard our hearts from content that runs against God’s Word, whether it’s porn, violent video games, or inappropriate sitcoms. 


8. No Time for Contemplation
As we move from one task to the next, we often check our phones.  Our free time becomes phone time.  Silence is squeezed out by constant noise throughout the day.  Without time for prayer, stillness, reflection, or journaling, it is difficult to examine one’s life.  We can lose the sense of perspective and purpose that is strengthened through prayer and meditating on God’s Word. 

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 


9. Forgetting Our Manners
Common courtesy isn’t as common as it used to be.  Children used to greet adults with a handshake and eye contact.  Public conversation was free of profanity.  Family members were greeted when returning home.  Most courtesies begin with putting others ahead of ourselves.  We need a comeback of courtesy which places people first and devices second.


10. We Don't Look Into Each Other's Eyes
A kind gaze goes a long way in this society filled with people who are looking down much the time.  We are losing eye contact, rarely smiling at strangers while we do our errands.  At home, it’s not much better.  We can continue to shift our eyes from screen to screen, not really making much eye contact with our loved ones and friends. 



Compiled by Ben Chang




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