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Are You Controlled by Technology?

How many times have you almost ran over someone in a parking lot, because they were looking at their phone, not watching where they were going?
Teenagers used to go to their room to shut parents out. Now they can be in the same room, with everyone on their phone.
Even dinner is interrupted by a buzz or a vibration that must be answered.
How many times have you been talking with someone and your phone rang? Do you have to look at it?
Isn’t that why they can leave a message?
My husband asks his teenage patients, “How soon after you text, do you expect an answer?”
Girls will answer, “Immediately, Now.” Guys will answer, "Within a few minutes, maximum 10 minutes."
How can students focus on school, or you (for that matter), if a text shifts their thoughts somewhere else?
Does it matter?

What does technology do to us?
In 2016, the 4th through 12th grades of Convent and Stuart Hall in San Francisco, along with some teachers and parents, decided to find out. They went on a three-day, Tech-Timeout Academic Challenge.
What did they find?
Some were addicted to just the presence of their phone. They felt lost, even handicapped without it. They couldn’t think.
Others found freedom. They had time to pursue activities they hadn’t before. They thought more. Found books. Listened to what others were saying. They connected with family and friends.
This was after only three days.

What happens over a longer period?
A mom shared what she found after a week without her phone.
She missed taking photos, but instead watched her children at their practices.
What did she notice? Her children smiled more because she actually watched them.
Later, they shared about their day.

But isn’t this new-generation’s thirst for information good?
The need to know has been inherent in mankind since the Garden of Eden. Didn’t Adam and Eve want to know what it was like to be “like God”?
But gaining knowledge is not always good.  Remember where Adam’s knowledge got him? Kicked out of the Garden.
There's a place for technology.
I share with you, using technology.
I depend on my boys’ texts to know “all is well” with them.
The next generation can manipulate technology to achieve so much information, and that is great.

But…with that tech savyness, people have become rude, disrespectful, and unable to communicate on a deeper level.
Being heard over your teenager’s music has always been a battle, but with today’s excellent ear buds, you can be tuned out, so much better.
When was the last time your child looked you in the eye when he spoke to you? Or does he even talk to you?
Or do you even notice, because you’re on your phone?
How many times have you told your child, “just a minute” then forgot to listen when he talked?
Do you look at him as he speaks, giving him your undivided attention?
How about your husband? Do you parallel play—sit beside each other, but play independently on your phones?
When was the last time you talked with your husband?
How do teachers hold the attention of 30 students, while their phones beep and buzz in their pockets demanding an immediate answer, and their minds wishing they could answer. How much learning is done?

Yes, we justify why our child has the technology we’ve allowed them.
“A phone is for their safety.” “I know where they are.” “I know when to pick them up from practice.”
Whatever the reason, all of them probably good; Does the good outweigh the bad?

Phones:
Someone commented to me recently about not allowing their child to have a phone. They felt pressure to give one. They feel less of a “good parent,” if their child doesn’t own one.

Here's our guidelines for phone use.
Not all our children NEED phones. What constitutes a need for us?
When they are driving on their own. Before that, they’re always within access of someone’s phone.
Why even then? Because we live in an area where they could literally fall off a cliff. Their work is dangerous. They cut down trees. They weedwack with poisonous snakes. They’re using heavy equipment. They are herding big cows that do damage when they run over people. They shoe mules that have a good kick…. I want to know if they're ok. That is for safety.

They use their phones for business. (They schedule their workload with clients.)
They use their phones to keep me posted (“Mom, I made it here fine.” On long trips, not every day trips.)
They use their phones to stay connected with friends. (Some long-distance.)
Smart phones aren’t needed, until they had their own businesses, then they paid for them.
Most of the boys have text and talk, no internet. Basic.

As to other technology, our rule: Keep it simple.

Television:
We don’t have a television. And yes, we do have electricity.
By not having TV, many other problems are eliminated. I don't have limit it, evaluate what to watch, fight for anyone's attention, or yell over it.
We talk more.
My husband had a roommate that watched too much television. He cut the wires of his tv, then later spliced them together when he couldn't go without it any more. 
How much is your television on? Do you even know if you are addicted to it?

Without a tv in our house, we aren’t tempted to have it on all the time. Nor do we watch when we’re bored, need to be entertained, or just tired. If we had a TV, I’d find excuses every day why it wouldn’t hurt the boys to settle down, and allow me quiet time.

The Nielson survey in 2015 reported, Americans spent ten hours and 39 minutes consuming media (watching TV, surfing web, using app on phone, listening to radio.) That’s a lot of time.

Yet we can't find time to read what God says is important?

What do we do insteads? We talk, sing, read. We go to bed early (7-8 PM) and are ready for work the next day.
We live. Instead of watching someone else live.

If there’s a good movie, that we can’t live without watching, we do have a computer.
Sunday evenings, especially when my husband’s gone, the boys often watch something. Many times, it’s the same movie, because that’s what we have. (Watching the same movie, may be better than watching a bad movie.) But I do draw the line on watching stupid movies too many times…Marc Brothers, Get Smart, Three Stooges. I can only deal with so much stupid. And I do not want to hear about the movie, if I've chosen not to watch it with them.

Computer:
When our boys go to college, they need a laptop for their studies. I don’t know what other schools demand before that, but their schooling can be done on my computer.

Our dependence on technology has become addictive, consuming, controlling, and changing our behavior negatively.
Yes, we need it.
But we must control its use or it control us.

Still aren’t convinced of its power over you?
Let me challenge you to not use technology for a week: 7 days. 
(Not including cars and work related needs, but no radio/CDs/ipads in cars.)
You must organize and plan ahead.
You must look on a map to get somewhere.
You must think, instead of listening to music.
You might even find you connect with your family.

The quiet times while driving or walking allow the Spirit of God to speak to you.
You can listen and hear Him better.
It’s what He wants. For you to know Him.

Accessed 8-23-2017
https://simplykerry.com/blog/2014/06/no-technology-challenge/
https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/03/06/turned-off-how-teens-respond-to-a-no-tech-challenge/



If you go on a tech-free week, what aspect would be the hardest for you?
 

There are obviously too many who are totally dependent on technology and "can't" live without it. We have go-phones, which means it's ONLY a phone. I'm with you, our kids need phones when they are driving, which is why we got a cell phone to start with, but other than that, it's so unnecessary. Fortunately our own kids are not into doing things on their phone all the time and the grand kids are very low tech. I think it's important to keep them that way. Once they get into all this stuff, they too easily become addicted. Thanks for sharing.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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