How Your iPhone is Disconnecting You
The year 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the beloved iPhone. With the promise of connecting its users, the iPhone has actually had an adverse effect. With billions of iPhones being sold in the last decade, a device that only a mere 10 years ago would have been seen as a luxury for the wealthy, has become a necessity for the average. This small rectangular device provides a portal into a world of privatization, where social isolation is encouraged and rather than living up to the original promise of connectivity, the iPhone provides an avenue to live independent of others. Prodding this notion, Mohler inquires: "And I use an iPhone, many people are listening to The Briefing, right now, on an iPhone, but the question the iPhone represents to us is: who owns whom? Do we own the iPhone, or, increasingly, immorally does the iPhone own us?"
Written from an outspoken Christian perspective, Reinke reflects on our relationship with technology, specifically the "smartphone" in his new book, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. It is tough disagreeing with Reinke with the title headings: we are addicted to distraction; we ignore our flesh and blood; we crave immediate approval; we lose our literacy, we feed on the produced, we become like what we "like," we get lonely, we get comfortable in secret vices, we lose meaning, we fear missing out, we become hard to one another, and we lose our place in time. Has the upgrade of the iPhone become the downfall of social interactions?
When it comes to your iPhone (assuming you're one of the millions who own one), what do you use it for? How often do you actually use the "phone" functions and do you find yourself more connected or isolated after using it? As our society continues to grow in technological advances it is important we evaluate what our relationship with technology is and how advancing technology might be changing the way we interact with others. In the case of the iPhone's promise of connectivity, it has fallen short. Despite us having more options for connectivity, we choose to socially disconnect and isolate ourselves from others.
However, what would a post like this be for if not to provide some practical advice for use to reconnect ourselves to others and help the iPhone live up to its original promise?
- Do something independent from what you would normally use your phone for. A great example of this might be going on a family road trip using only paper road maps and road-trip games. Have every person place their phone in a locked box, and use the hours on the road to explore the road, carry a conversation, and reconnect with others.
- Unplug at night. This is a common life-hack, but one that I fully support and recommend. Not only does the light from your phone stimulate brain activity, but you are most likely using it to browse social media or read some online article. Instead, use that time to talk about the day with your spouse, write down some last thoughts in a journal, or pick up that book you have been meaning to read. You will be happy you did it.
- Use your iPhone as a phone. Rather than using your phone as an alarm clock, calculator, web browser, flashlight, or gaming device, return the phone to its original function: making phone calls. Now, I am not saying that these other functions are not great to have, but they often distract us from truly connecting with others. Make a phone call. Call up your mom or grandmother. Instead of texting your friend to ask them about this upcoming Friday night, give them a phone call. At first it might seem awkward for both of you, but there is something special about hearing another person's voice when you communicate with them that makes the conversation so much more personable.
These are just a couple of things that you can do to unplug and reconnect. How do you find ways to disconnect from your "smart phone?" How do you find ways to not use your phone?