There are hundreds of studies on the detriments of social media.

Are aware of your screen time per day? Screentime is the amount of time you are on the phone and social media. You are already thinking, that is none of your business. As a spiritual growth coach, I am concerned about how the phone has replaced our quiet time and spiritual growth.

Are social media and smartphones a negative toward growing spiritually?  Let’s take a look.

The next decade will reveal a much broader picture of how social media affects our lives and children. We can compare social media to sugar, we know it’s terrible for us, but the cravings are real. It is not a surprise that smartphones and social media are an addiction. The average person spends 705 hours per year on social media, and phone addiction is a legit problem. And sad to say, few of us even want to discuss it.

Our smartphone is as private as our sex life. Jordan Raynor says, “most everyone is a phone addict and will not admit it.” People also suffer severe symptoms from being detached from their phones. “Phone separation syndrome” is undeniable.

The symptoms include:

  • 75% panic
  • 63% feel empty
  • 14% feel desperate
  • 7% suffer physical illness

Additional symptoms include restlessness, anger, sleeplessness, and a lack of concentration. The statistics do not lie. Most of us have a significant issue with our phones. Have we found a solution to the abuse? Not really. Experts warn us of withdrawal symptoms when struggling to cut back on smartphone usage.

Not only are the symptoms accurate, but as believers, we are in the snare of constant noise and unending distraction. Yes, we living the information age, and the information never stops coming.

Should we consider censoring our choices?

We are not short on Facebook posts, but every post is not equal. Yes, we must discern the value within the volumes. Social media streams update every second. The question is, how much social media should we allow? We cannot continue to allow our phones to determine our schedule or daily plan.  Endless scrolling is a “must stop.”

Carey Nieuwhof says, “Stop endlessly scrolling. Put limits on what you watch. If you can’t control yourself, delete the apps, load your favorite apps in a browser, and scroll once a day. Glamor and addiction wear off fast.”

Continuous scrolling is not healthy.  Scanning your phone is like dumpster diving. You may find something of value, but is the dumpster dive worth the outcome? The answer is no. Continuous scrolling also allows the entrance of continual noise into our mind-creating an information overload.

Have we lost the value of silence and stillness?

The pursuit of silence is underrated and overlooked. We seek the noise because we are addicted to the distraction and the noise.

The noise of this world drowns out the voice of God. Noise limits our ability to think. Jordan Rayner says, “only those in solitude can distinguish the essential from the noise.” The less critical noise will cause us to live distracted.

There are voices and content that carry a higher priority than others. The essential voice is the voice of God. His voice calms our fears, satisfies our soul, directs our life, and enforces our intuitions. 

The many voices of this world will draw you from one screen to another — the less essential life. We must tune out the unessential. The essential for the believer is not the noise of the world but the voice of God.

The less critical voices cause us to live distracted lives.

Can you remember how you spent time before owning a smartphone? Has the smartphone and social media drawn us into a virtual path of addiction and stolen our spiritual growth?

Do you give the phone and Facebook more time than God? If the answer is yes, don’t feel condemned; let’s change that. The change begins with an honest review honest and a new plan.

We can change our habits. I changed mine in 4 weeks.

Here are my changes.

  • Use do not disturb 16 hours a day (12 hours at night and alternative 4 hours in between)
  • Turn off all notifications that are not job or family-related
  • Have full access to your phone during working hours only (limited access after work)
  • Do not use your phone in bed
  • Delete unnecessary apps
  • Little scrolling and more defined searches
  • Cut your social media engagements to 50%
  • Designate meals as phone-free as possible
  • Block weekend days as half or full days as phone free
  • Put your phone in the other room while at home

The above changes are a great start. Stepping back from your phone is a step toward freedom and distraction. Less distraction means greater focus and a deeper focus on your spiritual life.

We can choose the noise of the world or the voice of God.

That should be easy, but it’s not.

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