In Why I Don’t Own a Smartphone I stated that my decision not to get one was a matter of ethics. Because as a Christ follower, I believe ethics should extend to every area of my life. And not only those traditionally viewed as spiritual. So have I reversed my stance? No, and with God’s help I hope to never do so.
But life is an ongoing process requiring continual change and evaluation. And the time had come to reevaluate. I had not previously made the purchase because I did not need it. I’m home most of the time with a good internet connection, and did not need to be connected when out.
But as time progressed, the need for a smartphone did come about.
My old phone died suddenly; not surprising as it must have been between 12-15 years old! So I bought another old-fashioned (non smart) phone. Only to learn that it didn’t work with the cell phone provider I’d been using. It just wouldn’t pick up here in our town, making it practically useless to me. But at least I was able to convert that into a new (and needed) home phone for us. (Which I will not go into here, as it’s long and complicated.)
Anyway, I had to change providers, and ended up getting a much better deal. Calls to the USA are included in my large amount of minutes, which is a big benefit with all my family over there! And all for only €7 monthly!
The only problem was that the new phone still wasn’t working. The SIM cards just did not seem to like it! So Hubby and I traded phones, and my SIM worked in his smartphone. But then his wouldn’t work in the new phone and he needs a phone for work.
So to make a long story short, I realized the time had finally come to get a smartphone.
I thought I would feel bad about having to do so, because I really had not wanted one. And felt quite strongly about it.
But surprisingly I didn’t, because there is no sense in sticking with something that is just not working! And because I was able to make the purchase while keeping to my guidelines regarding technology.
Technology and internet should:
1. Empower us – not control us.
To avoid being controlled by these things, I connect to internet only when actually needed and keep social media notifications turned off. Internet and social media, I believe, should not become the tyranny of the urgent for us, but remain useful viable tools, to be used when and as we choose.
2. Meet real needs – not market-generated wants.
Just as companies are experts at getting us to buy unnecessary items, social media and other services are proficient in making us think we need to be constantly connected. But the risk we run in chasing after these non-essential items or services is that of being unable to meet the real and essential needs of our loved ones or of those around us. Disconnecting from them or over-extending ourselves financially could make us unable to meet their emotional or material needs.
3. Constitute a wise and necessary use of money.
Why buy things we don’t really need, or replace things that function perfectly well?
4. Help us fulfill our social responsibilities.
By limiting technology purchases and connecting less, we are able to do so much more for those around us. Poor, needy, lonely, or hurting people are everywhere. Let’s connect less to internet and more with them, and even reach out in practical, tangible ways that can really make a difference in someone’s life.
Ethical Christial living, to me, is about keeping right priorities and deciding what’s really important.
And for me a big part of that is connecting to those around me. Which includes trying to serve and help them. Reaching out to the poor, the lonely, the hurting. And sometimes that means digging into my pocket or buying a bag of groceries. (Which I find hard to do if I’m overspending on things I don’t really need.)