My parents bought my first cell phone when I was thirteen. It was a silver LG flip-phone that I carried on an eighth grade field-trip. It made my parents feel like I was safe, and it made me feel like I was cool. It took forever to send text messages to friends, and so I hardly ever used it for more than talking to my parents or making quick plans.
My little flip-phone was upgraded two years later to an LG with a full keyboard. I was moving up in the world and my fingers had the space to send longer messages and communicate more with friends. My friends still commented that I never returned text messages or calls but it was better than with my flip-phone. I was supposed to take this phone on a cruise trip with my school's music department, but I forgot it at home, so my parents mailed it from Pennsylvania to Florida overnight.
Two years later, I upgraded once again, but this time it was to an iPhone 4, and my cell phone habits haven't been the same ever since. While I was once known as the friend that never answered her phone or responded, I'm now known by my husband as the one that struggles to put her phone down at night. I still struggle with responding to friends, but it's no longer due to not using my phone. And I've never forgotten my iPhone at home while going on a trip.
My smart phone has changed me. For better and for worse.
Maybe you have a story similar to mine. Your smart phone entered into your life slowly, but has since then become a constant accessory.
I wrote in June about how I'm learning how to consecrate my phone to the Lord, and those thoughts were prompted by seeing the ways that my phone is making demands upon me that I never thought it could. These thoughts were further explored while reading Tony Reinke's new book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.
The title says it all: Reinke lays out twelve ways that our phones are changing us. The twelve ways are as follow:
I don't know about you, but my phone has changed me in all twelve of these ways and more. Before reading this book I had already thought about how my phone changes the way that I interact with others, how it makes me more lonely, and how it makes me feed immediate approval. But I had never thought about how it makes me lose meaning in that it disconnects me from what's actually going on in my life and how our phones make us lose our place in time.
If you have a phone, you should read this book. It is written towards Christians, but even if you are not a Christian you should read this book. After each chapter, I couldn't help but think through the ways that I've seen my phone change me and impact my life and what those changes mean going forward.
What I appreciate about Tony Reinke's book is that he does not make a case that phones are bad and therefore we shouldn't use them. He makes the case that phones are tools that we are called to steward and use with self-control or else they will control us. He ends the book with a chapter focused on thinking through what we might be called to do in terms of creating boundaries with our phones.
I've been thinking a lot about how to apply the principles from this book and how to exercise self-control over my phone, and I've come up with a few applications for my life. Now, these applications might not work for you, but I'd recommend that you would join me in taking a look at your phone usage, taking a gander at this book, and thinking through how you might be called to make a change in light of how your phone is changing you. Here are some of my applications:
There is more that I could share about this book, but in summary I would highly recommend everyone to read it and to think through the ways that your phone is changing you. If you don't believe me (or Tony Reinke) try not touching your phone for an hour. I bet it will be quite difficult.
My prayer is the same as Tony Reinke, that we would see our phones as a good gift, but one that we must steward. They allow us to do so much and they are so helpful, but they can also affect us in ways that are unhelpful. My prayer is that we would think through ways that we can use self-control with our phones, rather than allowing them to control us.
Have you ever thought about ways that your phone is changing you before?
I received a free copy of 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You from Crossway in exchange for an honest review. The Amazon links to the books mentioned above are affiliate links. If you click on the links and purchase any of the books, this blog is supported at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting She Laughs Without Fear!
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