Thursday, March 26, 2015

Double edged sword of technology

I have a very angsty relationship with technology. On one hand, technology allows me to do work I love from home, maintain friendships with people around the world, and access limitless information with a few clicks. Both my husband and I are completely dependent upon technology for our livelihoods. I also live thousands of miles from my family and without smartphones, I wouldn't know that my nephew just started crawling or see a picture of my little sister in her costume for her latest ballet performance. These are obviously ways that technology adds to my life in positive ways. But–and we all know what's coming here–technology also has the distinct ability to magnify the negative and selfish traits we all bear. We've all read articles about dealing with jealousy fostered by the picture perfect lives of others, the pressure to be pinterest-worthy, or the insidious creep of materialism fostered by the fact that we can order what we want instantly and have it delivered in 48 hours (with free shipping!). All those subjects are worth considering and have been written of extensively. What I personally find more challenging is that ways that technology allows me to constantly be intellectually stimulated, letting me slip from the more mundane moments of life.

Kara Powell in her lecture entitled Numb Generations calls us to think a bit about what this escapism is costing us in our real lives. How do we allow technology to rob us of being completely present? As a mother who works from home, I can easily justify reading an article on education instead of stacking blocks with my son. Ironic, I know. Powell takes the warning to another level that we don't often read about in articles on technology and mindfulness. Powell asks us to consider if the absence of silence and space effects us spiritually. Could our addiction to technology and the constant stimulation it provides hinder our ability to seek God's direction, to tune in to His leading in our lives?

Check out Powell's talk here. After watching it, come back and share your thoughts. Have you ever gone on a media fast? Have you given up Facebook for Lent? Do you limit your screen time? How are you trying to model mindfulness to your children? Let us know!

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