What is Connectedness Doing to Us?

I can’t say that I’m a nomophobe, but I do love my Android phone.  I’ve got the Android S5 and do a lot with it.  I had one of the charge nurses comment to me last night that she would not be surprised to see it stuck to my nose sometime because she never sees without it and I’m always playing on it.   Additionally, I’m also connected on WordPress, Wattpad, Facebook, Google+, Youtube, and Instagram.  I had a snapchat, but I got rid of it once I left my old youth group, and  I had a Tumblr for all of 5 minutes before I realized I didn’t need another thing to keep up with.  After seeing how many I still have it’s a it overwhelming to realize how many I have.  Now granted, they’re different types of platforms, but still.   The below article makes really good sense.  Sometimes it’s necessary to disconnect.  I’ve started to go offline more often these days, maybe once or twice a month I’ll just sign out of everything for a couple of days, and you know what?  The world doesn’t end.  Read the article, it’s good stuff.

What is Connectedness Doing to Us?

My name is Adam. And I am a recovering nomophobe.

Nomophobia is the fear of being disconnected, of being without your device, as in the fear of “no mobile phone.” Today, we relish and crave our constant connectivity. If we don’t have our favorite devices nearby, we start to flip out in lots of tiny ways.

If you know what I’m talking about, you likely suffer from nomophobia.

We recognize the issue intuitively. And now, research is starting to paint a startling picture of our problem.

Our Problem

A study in Psychological Reports: Disability and Trauma says social media withdrawal closely resembles that of a drug addict crashing back down to earth, revealing that many of us respond more quickly to notifications from Facebook than to traffic signs.

You may also have heard that being connected all the time is bad for sleep. Too much blue light from our phones before bed can disrupt our sleep, according to research by Brian Zoltowski of Southern Methodist University. And the cumulative effect of poor sleep is terrible for our health.

According to Social Times, 18 percent of us admit we now can’t go more than just a few hours without checking Facebook. (And how many of us don’t admit it?)

When we’re separated from our phones, “we experience a lessening of ‘self’ and a negative physiological state,” according a study done by Russell Clayton of the University of Missouri.

While we generally no longer make idols out of gold or wood, sometimes our connectivity interferes with our communion.

As I use social media (it’s even part of my job and ministry), I know that Christians need to tread carefully here. We need to ask ourselves important questions.

The apostle Paul once pointed out that not everything is beneficial, even if lawful (1 Corinthians 10:23). And we are not to be mastered by anything, even if it’s within our rights (1 Corinthians 6:12). We know we can’t serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). Maybe we need to start asking ourselves if we can serve both God and Facebook.

Put another way, how often is our time on Facebook helping us to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, as we are encouraged to do in Philippians 4:8? Or is our constant connectivity keeping us from being still and knowing God is God, as is encouraged in Psalm 46:10?

While we generally no longer make idols out of gold or wood, sometimes our connectivity interferes with our communion.

For me, a tremendous amount of my life moved from other spaces into my device: maps, books, calendars, music, notes, lists, alarms, photos, banking, files, recordings, calls, calculations, weather forecasts, even my Bible and my friendships.

With so much of life tied up in my constant connectivity, I started to expect everything to always involve my phone. If I wasn’t using my phone, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything. If I wasn’t looking at my phone, I wasn’t seeing anything. If I wasn’t touching my phone, I wasn’t living.

What We Can Do

In the past year, I’ve had the chance to carefully consider how I’m connected, what I check when and how this tool is using me.

Here are five steps I’m taking to counter nomophobia, to keep both my connectivity and my soul:

Celebrate the Sabbath. This will be hard and uncomfortable at first, but an entire day without screens is refreshing. God commanded the Israelites to rest, showing their connection to Him. We need the same today. Put your phone on airplane mode or leave it at home, consciously stepping away.

Plan your consumption. Smartphones are useful and always with us. But that doesn’t mean we really need to check them 50 times a day. Constant checking interrupts our flow, thinking, prayer, conversations and work. I consciously connect just two to four times per day. Define how many times you’ll pull out your device, when those times will be and how long you’ll be on. I actually set a timer, and every time it goes off, I swipe to close Instagram or Twitter or Facebook or Snapchat. I’m growing in the self-discipline I should have as a follower of Christ.

Choose your channel. We have too many channels to connect—emails, texts, Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Hangouts, Skype, Yik Yak, whatever comes out tomorrow. I’ve found it better to just have one preferred platform (e.g. texts or email) that important people know. Keep on top of that one through notifications, but turn off everything else, and enjoy the calm. I’m happier and more creative without notifications from my phone. For me, switching to a no-contract plan where I pay for every megabyte helped with this.

Consider all those social ties. There are probably some people you interact with (or at least follow) on social that are a drag on you. You may need to stay connected because they’re family, are hurting or need Jesus. But for the many others, life is too short to spread yourself so thin.

Watch your heart. Practice noticing how you’re thinking and feeling as you’re connected. Maybe journal every day for a week for a few minutes after you check social. See what kind of patterns emerge. And pray through what comes up.

I still carry my phone with me all the time. I still use it an incredible amount. I am still easily reachable by people who may really need to get me.

But my head is clear. My soul is free. My eyes are up.

I am a nomophobe. But I’m in recovery.

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/tech/what-connectedness-doing-us#wbPOjwfdIyduXh0o.99

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