What digital thing are you addicted to?

I thought a course a few times last year for youth workers called, “developing real relationships in a digital world”, and one thing that surprised me was that when we talk about “their” addiction (students), we never realize ours.  We are just as addicted to technology as anyone else.  The only person that I taught this past year that didn’t seem to have a problem with technology was a youth worker who didn’t have a computer or smart phone…They had a flip phone.

We are being controlled by our devices.  Marshall McLuhan a Canadian philosopher of communication theory shows how we can become what we behold, “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”  Our amazing devices are controlling us.  We need to know why we are using something and to put up a boundary so that we don’t become dependant on that device.

Facebook is huge.  I know that it seems like there are reports coming out each week that state that it’s dying or that teenagers are moving away from it.  What those reports don’t say is that Facebook has 1.6 billion active users.  Facebook is still the largest and most used social network.  It will be that way for sometime.

Take a look at this infographic from Who Is Hosting This, called How to beat Facebook addiction.

Here are some things that stand out in dealing with a Facebook addiction.

  1. Surfacing your addiction. Check out the bergen addiction scale, and see if you have 4 or more in the often or always category.  If you do, they say you have an addiction.
  2. Unfriending people.  I remember being at a youth pastor gathering and someone saying that they had 2,000 friends.  I remember that year a mega pastor stating that they maxed out their personal account of 5,000 friend(this was years ago).  Do you need all those friends?  I go through my account at least once a year and prune a bit.  It’s a helpful way to connect with the people I want to connect with.
  3. Turn off notifications.  I never get notified.  Actually, it’s pretty bad.  I am not the easiest person to reach sometimes because I don’t get notified for anything.  I don’t think it’s good for your brain to be notified all day about random stuff. When I had these notifications on, I had a hard time focusing.  I was frustrated when someone would interrupt me during important work.  Turn off your notifications.  You will get more done, and you will be more effective because of it.

Facebook is a great tool that can be incredibly useful for ministry.  Getting back to Marshall McLuhan quote, “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”  Be careful how you use technology or else it will end up controlling you.


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