Smart phones and touch screen tablets are devices that have become a part of our lives today.
Their availability, affordability and portability have made them ubiquitous. We use them everyday. We carry them with us wherever we go. They have become our preferred mode of communication and transaction.
I have no doubt such devices are useful tools. They do make living today more convenient, productive and efficient.
However even though these devices are useful yet they can be harmful. An unbridled use of them can lead to devastating consequences.
Let me just name a few of these harmful and lasting effects.
Clinical research by Dr. Aric Sigman reveals children who are introduced at an early age to such devices suffer permanent damage to their still-developing brains.
Their abilities to focus, concentrate, sense other people’s attitudes, communicate and develop vocabulary are stunned when they spend too much time hooked on to the screen of the tablet or smart phone.
A story read by a mother to her child is vastly different from a story told to her on a tablet or smart phone.
When devices do all the thinking for the young child by spoon feeding images, pictures and words, the young reader does not need to take the effort to process a mother’s voice into words, visualize images, focus and concentrate on following the story. The unintended result is that the young child becomes lazy and her learning ability is impeded.
Come to think of it, smart phone does not produce smart kids.
Another researcher, Yalda Uhls commented that young adults who immersed extensively on to their digital devices are losing their ability to understand the emotions of other people.
You can’t learn nonverbal emotional cues such as facial expression or tone of voice from the screen of these devices.
With less and less face-to-face interaction, these young adults may not develop that important social skill needed in the real world relationship.
Even more insidious is many young and even older adults got so used to the pleasurable stimuli of their device where every swipe or touch of their finger brings quick response and immediate effect. Such feeling of immediate gratification and pleasure is not unlike drugs or alcohol. It triggers a feeling of pleasure in the neurotransmitter of the brain. Such stimuli are highly addictive, which explains why so many find it hard to tear away from their devices.
Now I am not demonizing such devices. Neither am I suggesting the abolition of usage of such devices.
Rather I am drawing attention to the potential danger and harm that these devices can bring into our lives.
These devices are like fire, which has its good and usefulness yet when they are not managed well or used carefully can have harmful and destructive results.
Remember the words of Jesus: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
Translated. Modern devices are meant to serve us. We must not become their slaves.
“I am allowed to do all things, but not everything is good for me to do! Even if I am free to do all things, I will not do them if I think it would be hard for me to stop when I know I should” (I Corinthians 6:12).
Deliver us from the “dangers” of devices!