The world has radically changed in the last two decades. This is in no small part due to the rise of smart phones. While the technology is undoubtedly incredible, have you ever stopped to consider the effect of the smartphone on our lives? Tony Reinke has, and it’s the subject of his book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.
Time Magazine designated the iPhone as the single most influential gadget of all time. Whether this is true is open to debate, but in light of such a statement, Reinke seeks the answer to an important question: “What is the best use of my smartphone in the flourishing of my life?” (p. 20). Writing from a Christian perspective, his discoveries are startling.
According to Reinke, we “check our smartphones about 81,500 times each year, or once every 4.3 minutes of our waking lives” (p. 41). Hopefully, that startles you as much as it does me!
The author explores the challenge of digital distractions such as Facebook and YouTube that lead us to procrastination and dull our cognitive functions. He writes, with tongue in cheek, that “The philosophical maxim, ‘I think, therefore I am,’ has been replaced with a digital motto, ‘I connect, therefore I am,’ leading to a status desire: ‘I am ‘liked’, therefore I am.'” (p. 46)
“The more distracted we are digitally,” he writes, “the more displaced we become spiritually.” (p. 52) This is where the rubber really hits the road. When smartphones affect our spiritual lives, serious problems start to arise. It’s this problem that Reinke faces head on.
12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You is a fascinating look at the dangers and pitfalls of a digitally connected world from a Christian perspective. Whether you find yourself caught up in the technological world or not, this book is very much worth reading for the simple fact that someone in your social sphere is. For that reason, I highly recommend this book!