“There’s no real divide between home life and work life. Technology has erased the divide between work life and home life. Our phones and portable devices mean we’re always on—as much as seventy hours a week or more. That’s not all happening at the office. It bleeds into nights and weekends, which leaves little to no room for family. And this goes both ways. When our personal lives are out of kilter, it wrecks our professional performance. We eat up family time, and our family suffers. Then we drag that stress into the office. I can’t think of one person I’ve worked with in forty years who’s productivity improved while their marriage ended or their kids were going off a cliff. Bottom line: A culture that encourages employees to work all hours will damage the support structure at home that makes those employees good at their jobs in the first place.”
The two sentences that particularly grabbed my attention I placed in bold. Hopefully the first bold statement is not true of you. If you have already set good, healthy boundaries around your use of technology, chances are you took this responsible step at some point in your past because you started realizing what it was costing you and what you would lose if you failed to implement such guidelines. But, for most of us, we are slaves to our technology rather than our technology being a tool that actually serves us.
When my wife and I go on a date, we either leave our phones at home or we carry them with us and leave them in the car. Also, we made a rule that while one person is driving, the other person cannot be sitting there interacting with technology rather than the other person.
Another boundary I have instilled in my personal life is that when I arrive home after my workday, I walk into my little office and set my phone on my desk. I often turn it on vibrate. At this point, my technology is out of reach of all five of senses (no, my cell phone does not really have a particular smell though I am sure someone is working on an app for that). Periodically, I may walk in my office throughout the night and check to see if anyone has texted or called, but other than that, it is made to bow before my family.
Below are a few questions for personal reflection:
- Is your technology an escape?
- Do you hide from your family, friends, and even strangers through your technology? Why did I include strangers in this list? As Christians, are we not commanded to be salt and light to those around us? How can you be an effective witness to people if every time you are in a checkout line or any other public setting, you refuse to interact with people because you would rather check social media, eBay, or fantasy football? Get a grip.
- Is your technology an idol? Does it keep you from praying throughout the day, listening to the Lord, and being tuned in to the gentle Holy Spirit who tends not to shout? At this point, technology becomes unethical for a follower of Christ because it serves as an obstacle to you fulfilling the moral command to love other people. Another way of saying “unethical” within the Christian worldview is sin.
You get the idea. Use, enjoy, and benefit from your technology, but don’t let it use you.