How do you use your smartphone?

Looking around us, it seems like everyone has a smartphone. You probably have one yourself; 77% of people do! Smartphones are not inherently good or bad, but the way that we use them has a large influence on our daily life. How comfortable do you feel with how you’re using your smartphone?

Do you want a computer in your pocket?

If you own a smartphone, you basically have a fully functioning computer sitting in your pocket at all times. This means online activity, social media, and the answer to any question you might have is only a click (or an app) away. It is healthy to think through the pros and cons of this, and to use your phone wisely. Are you choosing encouraging, wholesome, helpful websites? Are you missing opportunity to talk to or engage with the people around you because your phone is in front of your face? Remember that it’s a good and healthy thing to wrestle with a question or mystery, or to use your memory to try to recall an old trivia fact instead of instantly using Siri to find the answer. If you find yourself easily distracted, feeling isolated or lonely, or needing your smartphone to handle basic tasks (perhaps 5+8 on the calculator) it may be helpful to take a break from the instant-availability of this mini-computer.

Are your big life events still meaningful?

These days, many people are using smartphones to handle online banking, house hunting, and even submitting job applications or taking educational classes. We read the news on our smartphone, stay connected with people through social media, and can even read books and watch movies on our pocket-sized smartphone screens. These are great ways to broaden our horizons! But it also means that you are relying on computerized algorithms for information instead of conversation with people in your community, and you may be straining your eyesight to watch a two-hour movie on a smartphone screen. Are you able to share life events in the off-line world as well as you are sharing them in the online world?

Personal comfort is different for everyone.

Hopefully, when you look at the smartphone in your hand, you are thankful for the creativity God has given humanity, and for the intellect, innovation, and risk-taking that has brought us this incredible technology. But don’t be surprised if you also feel distracted, frustrated, overwhelmed, or stressed. These are common feelings of smartphone users. There is great benefit to pausing and evaluating your use of such a small, common, powerful item. Remember, you own the smartphone; you don’t want to let it own you.

Get more information with the Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015 by Aaron Smith.