It’s one thing to realize that our technology habits are a problem. It’s another thing entirely to actually do something about it. If you’re ready to make some real progress, here are some helpful places to start.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little reminder to live beyond the mindless cycle of browsing and swiping. Try these reminders on for size:
- Download these wallpapers for your phone/tablet/desktop as a visual cue to stroll more and scroll less.
- Use your phone for something more transcendent than Facebook. Download the Crossroads app and connect with God through Scripture, prayer, and daily challenges. Bonus points if you set a recurring alarm on your phone to remind you to engage with God through the app.
ARTICLES/BOOKS/VIDEOS/ CONVERSATION STARTERS
Part of getting a handle on technology is understanding how it’s changing us. Take a deeper dive on the hidden side of technology with these articles, books and video clips.
Andy Crouch, Tech-Wise Family
Simon Sinek, “How do cell phones affect our relationships?”
Richard Freed, The Tech Industry’s Psychological War on Kids
Mark Parrett, Give Boredom a Chance
TECH MANAGEMENT TIPS
MAKE IT MANUAL We are all prone to temptation. Some of that temptation is unavoidable, but some of it we actually inflict on ourselves. Whenever possible, turn off notifications on your phone (here’s how for iPhones or Android). And do the same for your brand of entertainment - here’s how to turn off autoplay on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Prime.
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE WATCHING When it comes to entertainment, controlling our binge watching (or that of our kids) is easier when you know what you’re getting into. For content summaries and watchouts, try Common Sense Media.
TRACK SCREEN TIME Just like financial advice often starts by merely tracking spending, it’s helpful to know exactly how we’re “spending” our screens. The newly released Apple iOS 12 has a “Screentime” feature that enables you to track this clearly; other programs like RescueTime may be a better fit for households that are primarily browser rather than phone-based.
LIMIT ACCESS Once you know what you’re dealing with, try setting clear boundaries for how much tech use is allowed, and what times of day are fair game. You can do this physically (old-fashioned unplugging the router), or through a device like Disney’s Circle. Circle allows for specific boundaries, like limiting types of sites and apps and giving users the ability to create different profiles for each member of the household.
Pick something from the list above, and try it on for size this week—call it a challenge, a good old-fashioned experiment. Commit to it for seven days. And then afterward, take stock of how you feel physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. The progress you make may surprise you.