Chet Collins

Chet Collins

Devices Down, Please

When iOS 12 comes out later this month, there will be a new feature that will tell me how long I’ve used my iPhone and how much time I’ve spent in each app. The data itself isn’t scary; the scary part is the fact that it will quantify something I minimize.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time this year in deep thought over my digital usage. What devices do I use, how do I use them, and what benefit do I gain by them? Most of the time, I’m all “caught up” and am just mindlessly surfing. I’m reading news articles that aren’t worth the bytes they take up or I’m watching YouTube videos that aren’t sparking my imagination.

I recognize that I need to develop discipline in all areas of my life, and this is a major battlefield.

This isn’t just about me. I’m raising three kids in a digital world, where people, thoughts, and ideas can bypass me and speak directly to them. This isn’t about raising kids in a bubble. It’s Alison and I’s prerogative to raise our children the way we see fit, and we want them to be fully alive. This is about forming them as authentic human persons, with strong intellects, and a keen interest in the beauty of the world that they inhabit.

The digital world distracts and becomes a barrier between us. Not only that, the behaviors that I’m modeling for them don’t line up with the ideals that I want to impart to them.

So I’m putting my devices down. With few exceptions, when the children are awake, the computers will be asleep, the television will be off, and my phone will be on a shelf in the kitchen. I’ll grab it to log my food, text with Alison, FaceTime with family, and perhaps compose a haiku, but always with intentionality.

Many of us have made similar pledges and resolutions in the past, only to backslide. The great thing about my life is that I’m in control. I am master of my devices, and they serve at my pleasure. It’s not about the last play, it’s about the next play.

© 2019 Chet J. Collins