I’ve got a confession to make- I’m addicted to my phone. Seriously. The last two days I have tried to use it for its original designed purpose, talking and texting (well, and camera)… but it has really shown me how much I have been programed to use a device that was intended to be programmed by me…
This recent recognition of addiction is mostly due to watching a documentary called The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I saw many articles online about this documentary prior to reading it. (Turns out most of my addiction to my phone is mindlessly scrolling through and reading articles/blogs…) As I read the articles about The Social Dilemma, I knew I would agree with the content of the film and was extremely curious.
I have noticed time and time again; I have become too addicted to games and social media. I have had to put down social media- for like 2 years. I have quit games… Candy Crush… I have blocked all apps from sending notifications and even deleted the social media apps off my phone… But just because they aren’t there doesn’t mean you can’t access it… like through your web browser. Yet I am still addicted…
Back to the documentary…
I was shocked at how much was going on behind the scenes. I would highly suggest watching it. The documentary basically shows that we are being manipulated by Big Tech companies who have a more personal understanding of the way our minds operates that we do. They do this by calculating every click, like, post engagement, and so much more. They use this data to get you to stay on the social media sites longer and engage with more ads, so they can make more money… but in the process they are feeding you what you want to hear and changing the way you think and behave. Before you know it, you just believe all your thoughts are right and anyone who disagrees is wrong… the division (that is so obviously occurring) really is because of the way we use technology. I don’t want to say social media is the cause of the problems, that is inaccurate… Sin is the problem. Sin (greed) with the people trying to make money off of our time and keeping us addicted. And sin within us to want to feed our egos.
Two quotes really stood out to me from this film. The first, “If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product.” Free is not free if it is costing you your soul. And the second quote, “There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.” We are the product. We are falling into the trap of addiction to our screens without even realizing it.
It’s easy to see the problem when you are looking at someone else, but it’s hard to remove the plank from your own eye.
This is not a new problem… it is just one that no one wants to change.
Two Disney movies quickly come to mind in calling out this issue- The Incredibles 2 (2018)- the bad guy is literally called “Screen-slaver,” who makes the viewers slaves to their screen’s commands. And Wall-E (2008). In Wall-E, all the people are in a space craft, stuck in chairs, fat, and unable to do anything for themselves as machines do everything for them because they have become lazy and content with sitting in front of a screen all day… they lost sight of what made them human.
There is nothing new under the Sun. The heart of the issue is sin.. but more specifically- idolatry. Yes, I am going there.
My current Bible reading has me in the book of Hosea. Hosea was a prophet who God told to, “Go take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord (1:2).” Hosea and his wife are a representation of God and Israel. That’s how serious God thinks of our sin. It’s adultery! I, personally, can’t think of a more heart-wrenching, betrayal than my husband cheating on me, and that’s the representation we are given here. When we choose things like social media, drama, gossip, lust, food… those things are taking the place of God in our lives, and God sees it like committing adultery- a whore. Stop whoring yourself out to false gods. There is only one God that can satisfy.
Yet even Hosea’s wife ran away and found herself back in whoredom (chapter 3). Hosea had to buy back his own wife. This is obvious foreshadowing to God sending Jesus to pay for our sins by a blood sacrifice on the cross. We are already His. Yet, we turn back to our whorish ways… and He pursues us… and buys us back… with His blood!
“A spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore (4:12).”
Look I only connect these two thoughts, because I don’t think people realize just how much your phone whores you out. Numbing your mind by scrolling through whatever it is, is not fixing any problems or connecting you to anything other than yourself. How much time do you waste on your phone? How much time do you really spend on social media? Do you really need to check your email 1,000 times a day?
Maybe it’s just me… but I seriously doubt it.
Is your phone an idol? Is social media an idol? Where is your heart?
Turn back to Him with all your heart!