Why Your Smartphone Isn’t Ruining Your Relationships

SMARTPHONEWe live in some great times.

The potential we have for connectivity, relationships, and information is at an all time high. If we choose to be, we are connected to the outside world all of the time. Our smart phones have gotten so smart, that they’re seemingly smarter than us.

Any smart phone on the market today can search things on the web for us, provide us with weather and directions to anywhere we want to go, and even make hotel and restaurant reservations before we get there.

Another plus to a smartphone, it connects us with the world. Whether we’re riding down the road, sitting down to eat, or laying in the bed, we can be connected to people’s tweets, pictures, and videos from all over the world. It provides us an opportunity for conversation, networking, encouragement, and impact that no generation in the past has even dreamed of.

I understand how this can be a bad thing.

Like many of you, I’ve sat in the bed with my wife or in the living room with friends and found myself being absent from the real life situation because I was too present and involved in my iphone. Like you, I’ve completely ignored the people around me and failed to really hear my wife as she’s trying to talk to me because I’m thinking of a witty tweet.

However, It’s not my phone’s fault. We can’t ignore technology and it’s benefits because of the potential for distraction.

It’s up to me to have the conviction and the sensitivity to put my phone down when I need to.

We can’t eliminate every distraction that comes into our lives because we’re afraid it’s going to have a negative impact on us. If that were the case, none of us would have cars, TVs, or even newspapers. It’s not that we need to avoid these things or run from them, we just need to control them…

We need to control ourselves.

Take the time each day to think through what you’re doing and be present in whatever you do. Whether you’re at work, at dinner with friends, in a conversation with your spouse, tweeting on your phone, or taking an instagram shot with your family. Be present and be sensitive and aware of what’s controlling you. After all, anything that controls us apart from God is a very bad thing.

It’s not our phone’s fault, it’s ours.

So no, you don’t have to sell your iPhone and go back to your flip phone.
Your phone isn’t ruining your relationships.

You can stay connected, just make sure you’re courteous and present as well.

17 Comments

  1. Well said Jonathan. I get frustrated when i am trying to talk to someone and they are either on their phone or always checking it. I read recently where someone had a party and had everyone check their phones at the door. We need to take control, not be controlled.

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  2. While I agree we can find out everything and access everything, our ability to COMMUNICATE has diminished astronomically. Outside of your wife, can you recall when you actually looked another person in the eye and exchanged meaningful dialogue? I envision the day, while out having dinner with my wife, that I’ll look to the next table and see two people on their smart phones talking to each other. It’s a sad commentary on how we’ve learned to misuse technology.

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    1. I agree. We have lost some if that. I can remember a time I’ve had that kind of conversation with someone else. Maybe I’m just more intentional with it or just a relational person, but I don’t think we can ignore all of the good for the little bad… We just have to take steps to control ourselves.

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  3. good article. I have started putting timed reminders on my phone to remind me to be courteous, new words I want to introduce into my vocabulary, and questions I need to be asking people everyday. Is it okay to look down when my reminders come on? :)

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  4. Good post Jonathan. Sometimes I tend to focus on the negative aspects of technology and how it tends to distract us from those right in front of us. However, we live in pretty unique times in which we can build friendships with people all over the world. If we keep technology in its proper place, it can provide a powerful bridge to relationship.

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  5. Mike

    Some of the best days I’ve had is when I forget my smartphone in the morning. Very few times, but I get more done and communicate with people more.
    I’ve also been at lunch with friends/coworkers and my phone has notified me of a text or email and I just hit the button to kill the sound as I wear it on my side. I don’t pull it out and check it right away but always wait until later. This drives the other people I’m with nuts because I won’t check it immediately. I think they want me to check it worse than I do!

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  6. Boom. Nailed it.

    Smartphones are just a tool. Akin to money, cutlery, or a car. It’s ours to use or abuse.

    The problem stares back at us from the front facing camera. :)

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  7. Excellent post. It is us not the technology. Do we have the courage to put the smart device down at supper time (don’t even bring it to the table–our family policy)? Do we put the iPhone away for the evening? I keep mine charging down stairs overnight, so I don’t hear the pings and notifications during the night (which wakes us up enough to keep us from getting a true good night’s sleep).

    As yourself, would I pull my iPhone out and answer every little tweet, text, or check my FB page when I’m in a one-to-one conversation with my boss? Then why would I treat my boss with more respect than my family?

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