We all have them. According to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of American adults have a smart phone, up from 35 percent in 2011. Whether you use an iPhone, Android, or Blackberry, your smart phone has probably become more attached to you than your car keys, wallet, or Bible. And despite its many benefits, your smart phone might be hurting you spiritually.
1. They destroy personal relationships.
Electronic devices put a distance between otherwise close friends or family members. We are on social media more than we are with friends. When we disagree with what someone says, we quickly “unfriend” them, thinking that will solve the problem. But Christianity is about having personal relationships with each other and God. Scripture commands us to never “forsake the gathering of believers together” (Hebrews 10:25). You can’t do that on the Internet or on a smart phone.
2. Smart phones expose the worst in us.
When someone says something you don’t like, it takes real effort to go to that person and work it out. But with a smart phone, you can respond immediately, for all the world to see. So you add a quick post, criticizing someone or an institution. And once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. The Bible says to be “slow to anger” (James 1:19).
3. They separate us from the world we are called to reach.
There was a day when people walked around and made eye contact with each other. They even spoke when meeting on the street. However, today we can walk right by our own best friend and not even know it. We’re so busy texting that we don’t notice things or people around us. More importantly, we disconnect from those with whom we disagree. And this separates us from the very people we are called to reach for Christ. It is an affront to the Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
4. Smart phones consume all our time.
A recent study by mobileinsurance.com shows that the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their smart phone. That amounts to 23 days a year and 3.9 years of the average person’s life. Our electronic devices take us away from things more important in our lives, such as prayer and reading God’s Word. They take away family time and personal growth time. Paul wrote, “Redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16). Few things waste more of our time than smart phones.
5. Smart phones bring temptation as close as our fingertips.
Forty million Americans admit to being “regular viewers” of porn. According to roadtograce.net, 45 percent of this occurs on smart phones. The average view time is nine minutes and 40 seconds. Another study confirms that every second, 28,258 users are watching porn on the Internet or smart phones. Sadly, smart phones make sin and depravity more accessible than ever. For the believer who is commanded to “flee immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18), the smart phone is our great temptation.
6. They are dangerous.
Statistics from 2013 indicate that 3,154 people were killed in distraction-related automobile crashes. About 424,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. In 2013, 10 percent of all drivers ages 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes were reported to be distracted at the time of the crash. The God who wants us to “dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8) and who created life itself is not honored by believers who intentionally distract themselves at the risk of others.
To be sure, smart phones have much to offer for those of faith. There are limitless apps that strengthen our faith and encourage our Christian walk. The problem really doesn’t lie with smart phones – but with dumb people.