Creating Healthy Boundaries with Technology

Multitasking has become an asset and for many a requirement in our pressure-cooker culture, so much so that we’ve come to think of it in positive terms. It suggests a quickness, clarity, and efficiency of thought. But those who study the brain describe it differently.

It’s not really that you multitask, it’s that your brain oscillates between two activities,” says the noted pediatrician and researcher Dimitri Christakis…Christakis’s research aims to identify optimal media exposure for children and his findings thus far suggest that multitasking undermines the capacity for sustained attention and deep thinking.'” ~ Catherine Steiner-Adair

This quote is from a book I am currently reading called The Big Disconnect. The subject matter of this book has shaken me deeply and made me pause and consider my own addictions to technology.

The Perils of Compulsive Connection

My goal in this blog posting is not to get you to trade in your smart phone. I think I only know two people who still don’t have smart phones and one is my 95 year old grandmother.

My goal is to perhaps cause you to think about how many times you look at a screen every day and why you do it.

Here are a few questions I asked myself to help get you started:

“How often do I really need to check my email?”
“How often do I really need to respond to text messages?
“Are there times during the day when I should just turn off my phone completely so it won’t be a distraction?”

If you are a parent or are married, you may benefit from pondering these questions:

“When my child(ren) or spouse are with me, how much of the time am I distracted by some sort of screen?”
“If my spouse or child were to describe my relationship with technology, would they say it is healthy? Would they say that in our home we utilize technology for specific purposes, but it doesn’t undermine our relationships?”

Friends, I don’t even consider myself to be very tech-savvy, but I winced when I realized that it has become a habit for me to “just check” my phone way more times during the day than is needed or even warranted. Just some food for thought.

 A Life of Unhurried, Undistracted Devotion

How might our dependency on multitasking or technology impact our relationship with God?

There’s that awesome story in the Bible of the two sisters – Mary and Martha. Here’s my own fun, modern-day version:

Martha was cranking out a Pioneer Woman recipe for dinner, posting pictures of it on Facebook, pinning her place setting arrangement on Pinterest and washing dishes at the same time.

Her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to his teaching. “Mary!,” Martha cried annoyingly, “Didn’t you get my text messages?! I need you to come in here and help me now!!”

“Oh, sorry, Martha – I turned off my phone because I wanted to give the Master my full attention.” Word.

Friends, we (daily) have a choice to make. Are we going to settle for a stressful, margin-less, compulsively connected existence? Or will we focus on setting healthy boundaries with technology, slow down to truly tackle the task before us or give our undivided attention to the people we are with?

It’s not going to be easy, but day by day, hour by hour, I want to fight to follow Mary’s example and choose the important over the urgent. Let’s be masters over our tech devices rather than allow them to master us. Will you join me?

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Laura M. Thomas is writer and editor at This Eternal Moment. A homeschooling mom to three little girls, she loves writing, reading, the great outdoors, and afternoon nap times.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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