Ten years ago ...

September 26th, 2017

In January of 2007, Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone to the world. Since that time, as Apple and other companies have worked diligently to make phones more and more functional, we as a culture have wrestled with how to manage this ever-growing influx of technology. Fifteen years before the iPhone, we wrestled with the worldwide web and the ease with which all information — good or bad — entered our homes. With the availability of the smartphone, the same issue exists; only now, we carry that ability around in our pockets. As people of faith, it’s an even bigger dilemma: How does this access impact our faith in both beneficial and detrimental ways?

It’s a balancing act

Last week’s announcement of Apple’s nearly one-thousand-dollar iPhone X is an excellent opportunity to help teens think through the power of the tool that 76 percent of them will possess by the time they are 15. According to Pew Research Center, 91 percent of teens will access the internet on some kind of a mobile device. And while our teens are mostly bombarded by stories of how smartphones can easily lead to trouble in the media, it would be a mistake to ignore some of the ways the device can actually support our faith and encourage our sense of community with other Christians, especially with others in our church and youth group. However, let’s also address the challenges of an always-on connection to the outside world that can be less than kind to young people in particular. There is a delicate balancing act we want to help students maintain as their smartphones open up the world for them. Helping them navigate that world as a person of faith and follower of Jesus is a worthwhile investment of our time!

Food for thought:

  • 92 percent of teens report going online daily, including 24 percent who say they go online “almost constantly.”
  • More than half (56 percent) of teens, defined in this report as those ages 13 to 17, go online several times a day, and 12 percent report once-a-day use. 
  • Just six percent of teens report going online weekly, and two percent go online less often. 

Question of the day: Does your phone help or hinder your spiritual life?
Focal scriptures: Hebrews 10:24-25; Philippians 4:8-9; Proverbs 4:21-27

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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