Friday, June 8, 2012

The Continual Pursuit of Digital Crack

ad·dic·tion:  the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma (

Image by Petr Kratochvil  
As a teacher at a school with a “no cell phone” use policy I have come to rue the moment that I have to ask a teenager to give up a cell phone (cue temper tantrum). For me, this reaction is proof of an addiction. Over the years, the social expectation among teenagers is that everybody has a cell phone and to properly interact with everyone a cell phone is needed

The reaction to losing a cell phone is so visceral, so intense. In my mind, it was unwarranted, but I didn't understand what was going on underneath.   I eventually came to understand the role of the cell phone in a teenager's life.  It is their connection to the social world, but it can also be a crutch that limits the ability to conduct true face-to-face friendships. 

Many of my  former high school students are now college students and the cell phone has moved to a different (although important) role.  It is the link to what was left behind in high school.  At some point the real work of developing new relationships must begin.

Loneliness is a top reason why people drop out, and I wonder what the role of the cell phone is in all this.  We need face-to-face friendships.

Our society is still "negotiating" the rules surrounding digital media, so there is a lot of disagreement regarding what is offensive.  To put it simply, our usage of digital media should not come at the expense of reality.  How often have you seen two people sitting next to each other texting away ignoring each other?  Pity the poor fool who has to stand there "looking stupid" while their companion texts.  Most likely the other will whip out their phone to look busy.  Texting is a way to look busy, but we don't need to be busy.  In fact busyness can cause us to neglect what is really important (Luke 10:41-42) .

If any activity hinders our true calling, than that activity has become a problem and should be jettisoned (Hebrews 12:1).  God has called us to love Him with true concentration.  It is hard to do that when we have filled every second with something.  There is opportunity in boredom and we don't need to be externally stimulated in every waking moment.   Pondering takes time and quietness.

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

This post is one in a series with the Christian Writers Blog Chain.   This month’s topic is ‘Pursuit’. You can find links to the others in the blog chain in the link list to the left.