I love Facebook! I keep in touch with tons of people and have a general knowledge of major events in their lives that I never would be able to have without social media. Because of Facebook I am in closer contact with my own children, as they all live in different states, and can enjoy their interactions with each other each other even though we don’t get Sunday dinners together. My parents are even in the mix and we all share photos and life events etc.
Email has changed the business world. Interactions can happen electronically that can save hours of travel time. Skype has become a verb now and you will often find a sticky note on my office door letting people know that even though it looks like I am alone I am actually in a meeting. And texting… don’t even get me started. I love it! Everything from sharing funny things, to getting rapid response is all possible in a moment now. Again, my interactions and connections have improved significantly due to technology.
And yet often technology in general gets a bad rap and rightly so. Technology can easily be misread and therefore cause serious misunderstanding, it can keep people from actual human interaction through handling things in an email that could be handled if just got up from your seat and walked to the office next door, or saved your questions for a meeting. Worst of all, in my opinion though, is that technology can suck attention away from presence in relationships.
My husband just got a new Iphone. I am so happy for him. He has really taken great leaps in this last year getting his own laptop and switching to a smart phone. He had avoided it for years as he didn’t want to know instantly whenever he got a new email etc. He just wanted to leave work at work. And yet here we are with a new Iphone – a 5 even. He’s having a blast. He’s able to get places, figure things out, catch up with people, get inspired (he loves earthlink on twitter) and so much more… He’s calling it a phomance. (That’s a phone romance for those of you who didn’t pick up on that.) I know it’s just a phase so I’ll just wait it out.
But what about those people who are not in a phase?
Some people are so connected to technology that they feel compelled to answer a text right in the middle of talking to you, or how about the person who can’t go the bathroom without checking their newsfeed. Sorry to be so graphic, but really…?
How can you know if you have an e-ddiction? Ask yourself these questions:
- Who/what is in control? Does your phone dictate what you do with your next moment or do you?
- Are you able to have e-free moment/zones? Can you not check your stuff for a time or does it drive you crazy not to know what you might be missing.
- Do you ever prioritize technology over presence? Is the buzz in your pocket ever more important than the voice of the person talking to you?
If you find yourself in a possible e-ddicttion don’t throw out your phone or give away your computer! Just make some corrections. An e-ddiction means that somehow you have come into an excess. The gadget isn’t the problem, it’s a user error. Just ask God to help you set appropriate boundaries and get your life back into a balance. Use your tech and don’t let it control you!