PhotoCredit: DragonTash, sxc.hu

There is no doubt about it – smartphones are really smart. The level of connectedness, speed, and features are unfathomable to the previous generation, now we’re holding it. Steve Jobs, on the debut of the first iPhone, said that the device is five years ahead of its time. No one refuted him because it is true, as well as the next smartphones that came out in competition.

We’re like living in the future. Hundreds of thousands of apps are available, most of them are free. They can make thousands of activities easier and more efficient like note taking, airline booking, reading, and video streaming. Also, games are widely available to kill any boring time and delight every child and adults alike.

With the handy ability to connect to the internet, you’re almost holding the world’s information in your hands (thanks Google). Waiting for evening TV weather forecast? That’s old school, ask Siri or swipe up for Google Now instead.

With Facebook, Twitter and other social media, it’s almost impossible now to say that you’re alone. You can connect to the friends and events that matters to you in seconds. They are just a tap away! Well, in digital terms.

Smartphones are the products of the collective smarts of thousands of geniuses collaborating in delivering one of the most advance technology the world has ever seen. Now, the power of the billion decision maker per second computers is in our hands, literally.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, HTC, LG, and numerous technology companies are in a mission of delivering the best technological life companions (borrowing the slogan of Galaxy S4) to make our life better.

With all the potentials of smartphones, we must be aware of what they can do, positively and negatively. Like power, sex, and money, smartphones can be operated in a way that would cause harm to us and others, intentionally or unintentionally.

Smartphones are for betterment not for detriment.

Let’s always remember that. Smartphones are for betterment of our lives not for damage. Never let your smartphone outsmart you!

What do I mean? Well, your smartphone is probably the top device that consumes your time because it’s always with you (or you’re never willing to leave it) - beside you when you wake up, while commuting, while in the class, while in the comfort room uninstalling processed food, while the Pastor is preaching and you can’t help checking notifications. With all honesty that we can muster, does our smartphones really deserve that attention? Can you really justify not looking in the eyes of who you’re talking to because you’re busy and passionately tapping that flappy bird?

Facebook updates. Tweeter notifications. New trending videos. New version of “Let It Go”. New blog post. New tagged photos. New app update. New selfies of your rival. Reasons that are large and small, important and unimportant are weaved every minute to pull your attention from what you’re doing in the real world into your 4-inch screen world.

It is addictive.

Smartphones can dominate anyone who has a baby-like self-control. Some writers goes as far as saying that smartphone is the new cigarette. The small highs that we are feeling whenever we’re drooling in the front of the screen is alike to what smokers are feeling whenever they’re smoking. Dopamine are release whenever we’re tapping something interesting on the screen.

Don’t be at the mercy of your whims, the screen is exciting and tempting but it doesn’t means that is really fulfilling and nurturing. If you only have one week to live, would you still spend two hours every day overcoming that next levels in 4 Pics 1 Word?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not killing joy here, I just want to reaffirm what are truly important. And the important things in life are not always in the screen.

Be intentional. Make sure that every tap, pinch and swipe are leading you to something for the better, not spiraling you to something detrimental.

Suggestions:

Have a limited (and intentional) time for social media. Have more activity in real social life than in digital space. Besides, servers, codes, and network cables can never replicate the full human connection we’re getting when we’re bonding with our loved ones in real space.

Remove the unnecessary apps. Retain only the essentials. Don’t make it your life mission to finish all the games ever coded. Lessen your time in role playing games inside your tablet so you can have more time and success in the most important roles in your life.

Have a weekly digital fast. Choose a day or half of a day to disconnect from all of your technologies (especially the Internet). Saturday or Sunday is the best. Invest the time to connect to the people that matters to you, to enjoy nature that can never be replicated by technology (even by the highest definition screen in 2070), and to link to the ultimate source of happiness – your God, He’s still preferring to connect to His children via traditional way not via iPhone.

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