I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal recently that reported Americans are paying so much for their smartphones (iPhones, Droids, etc) that they are having to cut back in other areas, most notably in dining out. I thought to myself, this is a perfect illustration of one of the major problems in America: spending quality time with others is not highly valued in America. One of the best things that could happen to America from a relational standpoint would be for all our smartphones to cease from operating and never work again.
Some of the best times that I have had in my life from a relational (and spiritual) perspective have been on church mission trips where I had no (or very limited) access to any type of cellphone or Internet service. It wasn’t just unplugging from the Internet and the rest of the world that was beneficial, but that there was a group of people that was also unplugged from the Internet with me and we were all in the same situation. There was nothing that we could retreat into to avoid spending time with each other; it was our only option aside from sitting in the corner in silence.
I think that everybody wants close relationships with other humans, but when we spend our free time with our phones, tablets, and computers instead of those whom we want to establish close relationships with we end up shooting ourselves in the foot. If Americans are indeed more dissatisfied with life compared to other nations one of the likely causes is that apparently we would rather spend time with our phones and computers rather than our friends.
Some people believe that technology will save us, but I do not. If anything technology (in the context I have mentioned here) will drive us to isolation and loneliness and be our destruction rather than our salvation. Our problem is our heart, our internal state, not our external state or life. Jesus is our salvation, not technology.