Is it you who is using your cell phone – or is your cell phone using you? Does the Bible say anything about cell phone addiction?
Recent studies reflect that the average person can check his/her phone at least 85 times a day.
The same study also says that young adults use their phones an average of 5 hours per day – which is roughly one-third of their total waking hours.
It is evident by simple observation that the cell phone has become one of the most necessary technological gadgets for a large part of the world’s population.
The cell phone is no longer just a communication device – but for many people it has become more like a “friend”, a “companion” and a “partner”. In fact, cellphone use has become addictive for many smartphone users around the world.
Studies reflect that cell phone use negatively affects your social life and relationships with friends and family. Cell phone addiction might also affect one’s ability to work or study because a person may want to be connected to his/her smartphone at all times. For example, it is believed that almost half of adults admit reading or sending a text message while driving and that injuries or accidents related to cell phone use have been on the increase.
It’s therefore very evident that cell phone use and cell phone addiction is increasingly and negatively affecting how people think and feel. The use of the smartphone is also negatively rewiring or altering people’s brains and people’s priorities in life.
Smartphone use has reduced people’s ability to concentrate. It has also affected people’s ability to memorize or remember information.
The apps that exist on many smartphones such as Twitter or Facebook are designed to be addictive and to keep the user preoccupied with social media. The reason is because smartphone apps all compete for the user’s attention for the purpose of their social media advertisers.
It is therefore important to have a Biblical view of cell phone addiction and the potential negative impact that it can have regarding our relationship with others and with God.
For example: imagine if we checked and read our Bible just like we read our smartphone? Suppose we used our Bible more than we used our cell phone?
Has the use of your cell phone diminished your desire to spend quality time with God or with other people? Has your smartphone consumed more productive time in your life?
Therefore whilst using a cell phone is not a sin – it is important for one to discern if the cell phone has become an addiction in your life rather than a tool that you control.
1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up
Whilst there are many advantages to using a smartphone it is very important to realize that its unproductive or unnecessary usage may have long-term detrimental effects on our brains, thinking patterns, social life and our spiritual life.
Therefore excessive cell phone use draws us away from the very things that we should value the most. Such as face-to-face relationships; spending quality time with loved ones or even the amount of time we spend with God.
Below are a few ideas of how you can break your cell phone addiction:
1. Remove notifications from your social media apps – Removing notifications will prohibit the apps from constantly alerting you or updating you whenever you have a new notification. Doing this helps you to get focused on your work or on other productive things.
2. Do not go to sleep with your cell phone near your bed or under your pillow – If the first thing you do when you wake up is to look at your smartphone then it is a sign that you have a major dependency on your cell phone. Instead, keep your cell phone in a different room on in an area of your bedroom where it is not physically easy to reach. Let the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning be to pray to God and to thank Him for the new day. Start your day by reading God’s word and not reading social media messages on your smartphone (Psalms 1:1-3).
3. Have productive habits in your life – For example, instead of using social media app, buy and read some physical books. Think about doing something that does not require your cellphone but will edify you and build you as a person. Remember that your life does not revolve around how many “likes” and notifications you get on your social media app. There is more to life than the virtual world of social media.
4. Set goals and be focused – Determine to overcome your addiction. Have a limited set time during the day when you will view your social media apps and stick to that set time. Otherwise most of your day should be spent productively.
Bible verses such as Proverbs 25:28, Galatians 5:22-23 and 2 Timothy 1:7 encourage us to have an attitude of self-control.
Our ability to exercise self-control is an important virtue for every person in life because without self-control we subject ourselves to every form of temptation and vice. We become slaves to all kinds of temptation and sin.
Therefore to overcome cell phone addiction, we must be self-controlled and disciplined in life.
Colossians 3:1-2 ESV
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Our minds and our focus should be on real and genuine relationships that bring value and edification to our soul.
The human brain and the human life is not designed to be addicted to anything that is capable of diminishing or destroying us. We should never be consumed by any kind of substance or technology that will ultimately affect our health, our relationships or our spiritual life. The things of this earth are temporary and can mislead us from focusing on what is truly important in life.
Instead our minds should be focused on the heavenly things that bring life. Our minds should be focused on God and be consumed by heavenly things, because without Christ or the mind of Christ, we cannot overcome the negative things of this earth.
How Would You Rate Your Use of Your Cell Phone? Take a Smartphone Compulsion Test here