I’m Not Giving Up My Smartphone, But How Else Can I “Go Light?”
If you’ve read my series on giving up my smartphone, you might be motivated to make some changes. But you might still be thinking you can’t live without a smartphone in today’s screen-addicted world. Some jobs virtually require a smartphone (although you'd be surprised at how often you can find workarounds). Is it possible to keep your smartphone but use it in a healthier way? Thankfully, the answer is yes.
Smartphones can be incredibly useful tools that serve valuable purposes for you, the Kingdom, and others. They can also be highly addictive and very damaging, especially for kids. So, if you choose to keep your smartphone, establishing some boundaries can help you get positive value while avoiding as many negative effects as possible.
Create a smartphone/device-free zone in your day. From 6-9pm, all phones, computers, tablets, etc., get silenced and put away, for example. Connect with your family face to face.
Eat family meals around the table with no phones allowed. Don’t eat in front of the TV. And don’t eat with your phones shoved in your faces. One of the most important things families do is eat together.
When you’re out with friends or family, put your phone away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in Culver’s and watched an entire table of people staring at their screens, not interacting with each other. To be honest, it’s lame. Get a life and put your phone down.
Use your phone as little as possible. Yes, it can do everything except hold the Kleenex while you blow your nose. But just because it can do everything doesn’t mean it should do everything. For instance, having the Bible on your phone is super convenient. But I recommend using a paper Bible instead of an app. When I’m reading my paper Bible, I don’t get a notification in the margin that distracts me. Most smartphones now have some kind of time tracking feature that allows you to see how much you use your phone. Set screen-time goals and put your phone away so you can reach them.
At the end of this series, it’s important to remember that we were created for communion with God, to know and love him. That takes time, commitment, and the ability to pause and listen consistently. It’s really hard to do that in the fast-paced, busy, and very loud world we live in, with its constant stream of information drowning out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. So, whether you go the “nuclear” option and get a dumb phone (like I did), or whether you keep your smartphone and use it carefully, remember why you were made and who you were made for.