Confessions of a Missionary: I Am Addicted to My Phone

wpid-darkphone-2014-02-16-16-15.jpgFew advances in technology have done more to change the way people communicate with each other than the cell phone. Of course being able to call other people at the touch of a button is a big change, but I’m talking about the ability it gives to communicate with hundreds of people instantly using Applications. In the past when something exciting happened to us our first thought would be to meet a friend so that we could talk about it, later this became calling someone on the phone, or sending a text message. Today when something big happens our first thought is “I have to put this on Facebook!”

Please don’t think I’m trying to criticize others who do this because I am one of the worlds worst at overusing the social media features of my phone. This isn’t really dangerous at first (and is actually a blessing since we are able to communicate with friends around the world) but it’s incredibly easy to become addicted to your smartphone apps. And if we aren’t careful that addiction can focus us so much on sharing cool experiences that we neglect the people we are making memories with.

Last Wednesday morning I drove to my brothers house in Lexington VA and spent a few days with my niece and nephew (successfully avoiding the beginning of Snowmageddon). This was something I really looked forward to because it allowed me to embrace the role of “Silly Uncle John” and make awesome memories with loved ones. The basic idea of being a Silly Uncle is giving my brother and his wife some free time for Church meetings, ministry planning, or just rest while I am playing with the kids. There are some drawbacks to Silly Uncle John coming over (greatly heightened decibel level and injury count) but the fun and excitement definitely makes up for that.

The thing I love about being a Silly Uncle is all the memories, and special experiences created while with my niece and nephew. My phone addiction however comes into play here because my first thought after many of them is “I have to put this on Facebook!” Now it only takes a few moments to create a Facebook post, but things sort of grow from there.

You check every other minute to see who liked or commented on the post
While there you read what other people are sharing
Of course you have to comment on a few of their posts yourself
And while you’re at it you may as well check the latest news or Google something
Of course checking your email is absolutely necessary as well
Before you know it thirty minutes have passed with your eyes glued to your phone

The funny thing is children understand we use our phones too much and it bothers them because it takes away playing time.  My favorite memory from last week was creating a game called “Uncle John Hunters” which involved their chasing down a dastardly criminal named Uncle John with nerf guns as he hid in the house. Once caught the criminal was taken to jail and two things were confiscated, his wallet and (you guessed it) his phone. For around an hour I had no access to the online world since my smartphone was being securely guarded (I was too busy sneaking out of prison) and surprisingly the world didn’t come to an end.

We should keep using our phones to share the precious moments of our lives…but sometimes the best thing we can do is turn our phone off and enjoy those moments themselves.

Published by

John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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