Unplugged: Taming Technology

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Taming Technology

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No Facebook, texting, e-mail or cell phone use for seven days.

The students at two high schools in Shoreline, Washington, participated in a contest to see who could go an entire week without the technologies and applications that seem so intrinsically a part of life for teenagers. What an interesting experiment!

Some teens were apprehensive and some were excited about the challenge. It would be like stepping back in time—to 1995.

For teens growing up in the 15 years since that threshold-crossing year when e-mail and the Internet became widely available, technology is simply always there. It defines communication—often mostly texting these days—and convenience because small technologies like cell phones, iPods and e-readers are portable.

What's my (Facebook) status?

One student felt that if the week went by easily, with little hardship, he could then conclude that the technology was a positive "addition to my life." However, he felt that if the week was difficult and he experienced withdrawals, then he would know that these technologies had become an addiction ("Teens Go Tech-Free: No Facebook, Texting for One Week").

It is fairly common for people to take a "Facebook fast" when they think they are getting too addicted to the social network. Sometimes the seemingly trivial distractions of social networking, messaging and texting can creep into or eclipse completely a part of our life that is crucial—our relationship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

Talking tech…

Technology isn't all bad or all good. It simply is what it is—a tool we can use for business, education, personal relationships, inquiries and entertainment.

Newer, ever fancier and more powerful products advertised with witty, clever or futuristic ad campaigns can give technological innovations an aura of being able to do everything and fix or cure every human and societal ill. Reality suggests that they have produced more ills than they have cured. No technology can eradicate the dark side of human nature.

In moderation

Forsaking the old for the new isn't always the answer. If a close friend is ill and he or she needs a boost, don't just send a text that says, "SRRY UR SICK." Send a card or write a letter about how much the person's friendship means to you. If the occasion calls for it, step back to the low-tech to deliver your message with more meaning.

Even the most powerful tool in your spiritual arsenal—prayer—is low-tech. Yet it is the thing that keeps us connected to the God who created the planet with the oil, coal and water systems that supply the power stations that allow all of the high-tech to function. Think of that each time you plug in your mobile phone to charge it for the day's use.

Keep technology appropriate to its place. Don't let it grow out of proportion or obscure your vital lines of communication with God.