The Smartphone Conundrum

Broken Phone

Last month I let my nine year old borrow my smart phone. She dropped it on an asphalt road, cracking the screen. A few weeks later I sealed my phone’s fate when I inadvertently stepped on it, expanding the original imperfection into a spider web of cracks. I remember the moment I realized that my phone was gone. I felt sick to my stomach, frustrated and even a little angry. Later that night as I lay in bed I caught myself reaching for my phone to scroll through the latest Facebook update. The addiction was deep.

Over the next week there were hundreds of other moments where I felt the urge to grab my phone. On one level I just missed the convenience that my smart phone provided. Google Maps kept me from getting lost (most of the time anyway). Facebook, Instagram, Podcast Addict, Kindle, and the BBC gave me an easy exit from reality in the moments that were either too boring or too painful to engage. What’s App, texting and Facebook messenger ensured that I didn’t go too deep with people too often.

The move away from convenience was annoying but what truly disturbed me was the rising sense of angst, impatience and entitlement festering in my soul. I longed for my phone and somehow I became increasingly aware that this sort of desire shouldn’t be fed. So here I am, still considering whether I should buy a new smart phone or dust off the old brick sitting in my drawer.

As I write the words the absurdity of that proposition sets in and I know that the smart phone needs to go but I’m also a little afraid of what life will look like without it.

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4 thoughts on “The Smartphone Conundrum

  1. rgrams says:

    Gabe, I can’t help but comment!  You know me on this….  Everything you say is about why I’ve resisted this so far.  But it now looks certain that we’ll be moving in February, and we won’t get a landline.  I also find myself depending on Wendy to use her phone for directions or finding a restaurant or hotel when travelling….  Some kind of phone is in my future! But I cringe when I watch people checking their phones all the time, stepping out of conversations, interrupting dinners….  Your point is a really important one about setting boundaries using new technology.  Wendy says, ‘People need high touch, not high tech!’   There are other issues here, too.  I’ve been thinking of writing something about what a comment on a blog should look like! Hope the weekend teaching went well! Rollin Rollin Grams


  2. john wilkie says:

    my 4 year old grand daughter got ahold of mine and started drawing patterns on my security page…of course it locked up and I did not have a password … the lady who set it up for me did not give me that because I took notes …as I always do when having to learn something …had to get the thing reset and lost some stuff…. in the short time I was without the phone …I was experiencing the same thin you described … not going to give it up …but the Lord revealed an area where He’d like to see some change … gonna do my best to make it happen … john Wilkie PS…hope all is well with you!!!

  3. Russ says:

    Embrace technology, consider opening new avenues of ministry via the smart phone. For example, without smart phone I would never read your posts or be able to keep up with you all. Plus knowing I can easily reach you on FB messenger is a plus. I agree with setting limits on devices for family time, but in my line of work I am able to be home more due to having access to my devices to work issues where in the past I would have to go to the office. Plus being practical, if you are in an emergency situation, being able to navigate easily is a huge plus.

    • Gabriel K Smith says:

      Good points Russ. I agree with you that technology, like most things, can be used for good ends. And I wouldn’t suggest that everyone get rid of technology. For me, in this season, at least for a while, I’m going to see how life goes without a smart phone. If it’s an epic fail I’ll write about that too.

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