Over the past five years, the rise of the smartphone has been incredible. They have changed the way we live, the way we work, the way we communicate, and—with the recently released iPhone 5—the way we pay for things. We have been enamoured by the features of these gadgets and the innovative ways to perform new tasks on a small device. So have they really made us smart, or are we really just dumb for failing to see the big picture?

Technology has changed the world for the better in many ways. We are now able to do more things in less time. But what if those “more things” have exceeded the benefits of time saved. What if we have sacrificed real relationships for unreal “connection”? What if we have virtualised so much of our lives that it is nearly impossible to alight from this twenty-four, seven crazy-train.

Technology addiction

Putting aside the morality of the content, technology addiction is an unmeasured and emerging issue. Like Pavlov’s dog, we salivate every time our device beeps, rings, vibrates, or cries for our attention. Waking at night to check Facebook, living on email, and never having any real life connections is a sad indictment on life today.

I am not suggesting that we become Amish, but I believe we need to develop self-control and maintain boundaries when it comes to our use of technology. Man was not created to be a machine or measure value by electronic links. We were created for relationship. Adam and Eve’s relationship with God was one of communion that occurred by daily walking in the garden. It involved face to face discussion and quality (quantity) time. It did not involve sound bites. By knowing less information they knew more.

I believe we need to restore deep and meaningful relationships. This requires a deliberate effort on our part to set technology-free times. It often means getting out of the house or the office and into nature. There is something therapeutic and conversational about gathering around a fire or just being outdoors. I would say that is truly smart.

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About Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at jeremy@jasonharris.com.au.


  1. Greg 26 September, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I agree!
    I also want to add how unloving it is to have a conversation with a person, the entire time being on your phone. I mean there is a large difference between taking an important phone call and texting/facebooking the entire time. Have we forgotten that one of the reasons sms was invented was so it would not HAVE to be answered immediately?

  2. Jeremy Crooks 26 September, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Great point about SMS.

  3. Kezia Dennison 26 September, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I think your post has several good points, but as far as relationships go, technology can be incredibly beneficial. I have a friend who was dating someone long distance and the benefits of being able to communicate effectively for the months and months of seperation was invaluable. It also limited the temptations a young Christian couple can face through the process. The use of instant texting, skyping and facebooking allowed them to build a God-centred, strong friendship that was not focused on the temporary or physical. They were able to do Bible studies together, pray together and share their struggles and hearts. They’re now engaged and have a sweet, fresh, strong relationship that would have been very difficult without the uses of instant communication.

    Also, as someone who always has a phone in my hand, I have found instant communication to be an extraordinary blessing in seeking advice, giving encouragement and maintaining good, godly friendships. It is a tool that is now common and most effective to communicate with both acquaintances and stay in close friendships with friends all over the world at any time. It allows a connection with others never possible before.

    That said, I do think there is some benefit to occasionally taking a short sabbatical from technology.

    • Jeremy Crooks 26 September, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks Kezia. Technology absolutely has benefits. It is like most things – good in moderation. I guess I am questioning if we have moved from technology supporting real relationships to harming or replacing them.

    • Jeremy Crooks 26 September, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Steve Wozniak of Apple suggested today the in our lifetime robots will replace teachers. Can we really let technology nurture our young ones?

  4. Kezia Dennison 26 September, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I think to quite a large extent, technology pretty much already does teach our children. In Uni, every subject requires the internet or at least a computer. Most kids learn more from google than from any teacher.

  5. Alen 27 September, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I think the people who are the most drawn to technology are the ones who are probably most withdrawn. As an introvert, my technology gives me access to not only entertainment and the ability to do my job, but a way to connect with people on my terms. I have very few friends (as my facebook list may suggest) in a general sense, and out of those I only see one on a semi regular basis; the rest I see every few months, at best. Outside of work, I have zero interaction with people outside of my online life. So in some ways it’s fostering and nurturing my relationships with other humans, rather than hindering it.

    As for people being on their phones while with others, I don’t really think it’s rude if someone checks an alert they’ve received off their phone, as long as the conversation is flowing I don’t think most people care. Though it does make me recall a time I was in a restaurant where an entire family was all on their phones and outside of ordering their food, I had hardly heard any of them speak, let alone to each other.

    • Jeremy Crooks 27 September, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Alen. I think you have hit on something with introverts being drawn to technology. Some people think and communicate better in front of a keyboard. However, I am not sure that it is healthy to have online communication as our primary relationship outlet. Feel free to disagree with me.

  6. Elizabeth 27 September, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    “I am not suggesting that we become Amish”

    It wouldn’t be such a bad thing Jeremy.

    • Jeremy Crooks 27 September, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      I have mixed feelings on An Amish conversion. There is something exotic about the idea of going off the grid, but it may be a case of the grass is greener from our view.

      In the end we are called to live in the world without being of the world.

  7. Elizabeth 28 September, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    “In the end we are called to live in the world without being of the world”.

    I’ve often wondered about this thinking regarding the Amish’s way of life as I’d like to live in the country someday and “keep it simple”.

    I’m wondering how we ought to determine what is “living in the world”?

    Provided you are evangelising to the lost when the opportunity presents itself, I can’t see anything wrong with the Amish way of life.

    Watch this when you get a chance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg81VwdRAVA

    Amish guy gets saved (hehe) and starts tracting.

    It’s a good watch.

  8. Jeremy 29 September, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    If by Amish, you mean no electricity and a simple lifestyle, I say – if that is your thing – go for it.

    However, most Amish are also know for their extreme legalism (relationship breakdown over the colour of shirt buttons) and ostracism from the world.

  9. Elizabeth 30 September, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Point taken.

    I am now left wondering what colour buttons are most spiritual.

    I’ll leave it there.

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