28 April 2018

Ten Tips for Taming Tech

In a recent blog we saw that most of the applications on our mobile devices are intentionally designed to addict us to using them.

As promised, here are a few suggestions to help you tame your tech. It is not a set of rules for you to keep and it is certainly not an exhaustive list. To be honest, I am guilty of breaking most of them, but I think they are still really good ideas to talk about:

1) Train yourself to have ‘holiday’ periods when you are without the phone or tablet completely. Health Warning: to avoid ‘cold turkey’ you may have to build up to this gradually, starting with small breaks of, say, 30 seconds.

2) If you are in a meeting (unless your wife is about to give birth or you are about to close the sale of your mansion) put the phone out of sight and in a place where you will not be constantly checking it; make a point of only reading messages when you are on a definite break. If you use your tablet to make notes develop strategies to avoid looking at all the other apps. If the meeting is not relevant or interesting to you, find a way to remove yourself!

3) Don’t constantly check or respond to social media unless you are being paid to do so as part of your job. That means, don’t have social media alerts enabled. Why would you? You decide when you want to read and respond.

4) In a church service or Bible study, try to read the Scriptures from a paper version or, if you are using your device, turn it to airplane mode to avoid being distracted. Paper Bibles are a much richer ‘user experience’ as you get to hold the whole book, can easily see around the text and find cross references at lightning speed.

5) When you meet up with friends or family try and give them your full intention by keeping your devices out of sight when you are talking with them. Realistically, in most groups these days people will be checking their phones at some point, but think about how you limit this. And NO PHONES AT THE DINNER TABLE. 

6) Get rid of junk mail by ruthlessly unsubscribing rather than deleting emails from companies you once bought something from or signed up to that are of no current interest. Deleting those emails is rather like chasing rats into their holes as opposed to poisoning them.

7) Think about a stop time at night after which you no longer respond to messages. This might mean you turn off your phone or charge it up away from the bedroom. I do not agree that checking your phone before reading your Bible is a mortal sin – for some people it’s part of the waking-up process. But if a few hours have gone by and you have had plenty of time for technology interaction and none for fellowship with God, something needs to change.

8) Use group chats, such as family or friends WhatsApp or Facebook messenger groups, with care. Think about how all members might react to what you say. If you don’t have a face to face relationship with all the people on the group be especially careful, because any damage done will be more difficult to rectify.

9) Never argue by text or email, but at the same time don’t be oversensitive; people have different writing styles and it can be extremely difficult to detect tone and intention when reading a few words of text.

10) Do enjoy and get the best from you tech. Thank God for the blessing of connecting with friends and family; be spiritually encouraging by sending Bible texts, articles, sermons, songs and pictures; share in people’s joy and sorrows; get information, navigate to your holiday destination, play music you actually like and convert inches to centimetres. Do not despise these blessings but give thanks to God for them; use them as part of the Creation, but not your Creator.

Graham Nicholls, Affinity Director


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