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Screen time for grown ups

Si Walker, 26th January 2019

Walking with phone warning sign

What is your relationship like with that very important friend in your life? I mean that friend that goes everywhere with you, who you commune with every morning and night, laying to sleep before you yourself drop off. Who joins you at the dinner table...sometimes....and who you stare at with utter engagement.

I’m talking of course about our dear friend, the smart phone. Delete as applicable as the reader, and replace with tablet or laptop if you like.

Apparently our technology and devices are rewiring the brain and the way we think as they suffuse every area of our day. We have all heard tragic stories of people using their technology in such precarious places, that it even placed them in mortal danger. Selfies at the cliff edge! Electronic devices in water! When the first computer was invented, who would have thought humans would be so enraptured that we would take our screens literally everywhere.

'attention is now a very valuable commodity'

Dr Frances Ward was saying recently in her fascinating presentation I attended through the diocese, that our attention is now a very valuable commodity. We perpetually live in the market place. Marketing algorithms now draw us in offering rewards and when we come to the web we think we are spiders, but we are flies. As I think about it, previous generations had so much less to be distracted by. Sometimes they would just sit and stare and watch. No screens to fill their every minute! Now of course I’m painting a dramatic picture, and of course technology can be used well and wisely. I personally sometimes over use it, but I also have some life rules surrounding it that have helped me in the past couple of years. These have been a blessing.

Could it be that distraction, might be the 21st century word for sin? Our speaker, pointed out that unlike us, God is not distracted. How refreshing! I have questions. Could it be that Adam and Eve were essentially distracted? And how does this make our days look? Finding ways of spending time with the Lord without our minds flitting everywhere is perhaps part of the spiritual battle. And finding ways of being truly present to others and sharing fellowship. Could the answer be as brutal as screen time for adults?