By Laura Reinke
With New Year’s around the corner, most of the country is resolving to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, quit drinking, or finally get that resume together and search for a better job! While these are all good resolutions to change your behavior in a positive direction, let me suggest a New Year’s resolution that will leave a greater impact on your life than merely fitting into your skinny jeans: Make a digital resolution to control your appetite for technology and resolve to connect with family and friends the old-fashioned way: in person.
Our families are at war with technology and digital communication. At a time when information is more readily available than ever and we can connect with friends and loved ones in an instant, there are increased rates of depression and anxiety among young adults and parents, who report feeling disconnected from their families because of technology. Something that was designed with the intention to keep us connected is actually making us feel more lonely! Just consider this: Why do you need to know exactly what your best friend’s skinny peppermint unicorn latte looks like on Instagram? What or whom will you miss at Christmas dinner if you’re constantly checking your smartphone to see all of the play-off predictions for the NFL?
This holiday season, consider making a digital resolution to turn off the smartphone at dinner; forget the holiday Facebook post; and talk face-to-face with extended family, friends, and your children. As beloved children of our heavenly Father, we were designed to be in relationship with one another. The very nature of our Triune God points to the interconnectedness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our digital age has given us such a false sense of interconnectedness by giving us so much information that we assume our relationships are more complete than they might actually be. Instead, we are lonely because we’ve stopped looking into each other’s eyes, and we’re anxious because we feel that we need to post or perform to receive attention.
Make a commitment to set a digital resolution this New Year. Set a specific time and place for technology use in your home. Have all family members agree on when to unplug or put away technology, i.e., during family meal times (visit www.mobicip.com) and at the same time every night (one hour before bed). Commit to not using technology before a specific time on weekends (Mom and Dad, this means you too!). Use the resources on your mobile device to set daily time limits for use for every member in your household. When you set limits around your technology use, watch for the blessings the Lord promises in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
May you receive the fruits of the Spirit when you resolve to curb your digital addiction in 2019!
For more information on safe and wise technology use in your home, visit the Family Online Safety Institute at www.fosi.org or CyberWise at www.cyberwise.org.
If technology addiction is negatively impacting you or someone you know, our professional counselors can help with practical strategies. Call 800-438-1772 or click here to request an appointment with one of our Christian counselors.