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Cell Phones and Media

Doom scrolling, angry scrolling, comparison scrolling, jealousy scrolling, distracted scrolling, lust scrolling… why do we do it? 

A couple years ago, I decided to get rid of my smartphone and replace it with the cheapest dumb phone I could find on Amazon. I think I made it 6 months before I caved and bought an iPhone… But I locked this new iPhone down so that I couldn’t download apps or use the internet and it’s been two years since I’ve had a fully functional smartphone. A couple days ago I ordered a new minimalist dumb phone that will further estrange me from my peers and return me to the stone ages. 

Why do all this? Why choose to be a weirdo? Why choose to be disconnected and out of touch? 

I’ll give you a one-word answer: peace. Peace is something we all want, but is increasingly difficult to find. Does social media bring you peace? Does online shopping bring you peace? Does binge-watching bring you peace? Does watching porn bring you peace? Does watching the news bring you peace? These are questions for self-reflection, but for my part, the answer to all these is an emphatic no.

So why not just use your phone well? You don’t need go crazy about it. The problem with this is that smartphones are addictive. Social media is addictive. Pornography is addictive. Netflix is addictive. Shopping is addictive. Video games are addictive. The news is addictive. Being angry is addictive. If you can use your phone temperately and not fall into sin (pride, lust, jealousy, vanity, unrighteous anger, etc.), then do it. I’m all for temperance. But if you’re weak like me, you’ll just slide back into your bad habits once the initial zeal for change has worn off. Smartphones are tools, and they should be used as such. Very often I think we surrender our volition to these tiny devices and let them control us instead of the other way around. To me, it just seems way too difficult to use my phone well, so if I can live without it, I will. My luddite tendencies are because I’m weak, not because I’m against technology.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge you for having an iPhone. Technology can do so much good, and that’s why I still have my laptop. However, if I don’t set good boundaries with my devices, they are guaranteed to steal my peace. During this season of Lent, I encourage you to consider detaching from your smartphone to receive the peace of Christ. This may look like deleting certain apps, setting screen time restrictions, or taking a permanent break in your relationship with your phone. 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30


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