May 2013

SMARTPHONE AND SMARTLIFE

Cyril Georgeson

Smartphone users tend to be connected from the instant they rise until they fall sleep and revel in every minute of it, a Facebook-sponsored study showed.

"Smartphones, coupled with rich applications and mobile data services, allow us to connect with our family, friends and community from the moment we wake up until the end of our day," IDC researchers said in the report released this week.

About half the US population uses smartphones, with the number of people expected to reach 181.4 million this year and climb to 222.4 million in the coming four years, according to IDC.

A week-long IDC survey of more than 7,000 people ranging in age from 18 to 44 years old with iPhones or Android-powered smartphones showed that four out of five check their handsets within 15 minutes of waking.

The top three applications used were for messaging, web browsing and Facebook, in that order, according to IDC.

"People have a universal need to connect with others, especially those they care deeply about," IDC researchers said. "This, coupled with mass market adoption of smartphones, means that social engagement via phones has become mainstream."

About 84 percent of the time spent communicating with smartphones involved email, text messages, or social networks while only 16 percent relied on voice calls, the survey indicated.

"This increased sense of connectedness is the primary reason we use these technologies with the frequency and duration that we do," IDC researchers concluded.

So What?
Technology has neither been our enemy nor our friend, though it is apparent that Satan has often encouraged the misuse of technology. The earliest invasion of technology in the lives of Gen X and Y’ers has been the video game and subsequently the gaming console. These have more-or-less ensured that the creative impulses in children have been suppressed. They no longer go on curiosity-propelled engagements with the world at large. When the gaming console is put away, they pay their respects to whatever the satellite network makes available on the television.

This phase, unfortunately, does not come to an end even after they enter the teen and youth years. If anything, they only seem to get magnified over time. Their consoles may have been upgraded and games may have changed, but their inclinations remain the same. One of the reasons that Smartphones are approximately doubling in processing power by the year is to satisfy the requirements of the gaming industry. The sharper screens and retina displays make playing games, watching videos and movies on a smaller screen a more pleasurable experience. The degree to which one is engrossed in these is the proportion to which, subconsciously, one reckons the virtual or visual media world more real. Much research points to the damaging influences of being captive to the television, gaming and the cyber world. Now, with the vacations in academic institutions upon us, these are, unfortunately, the prime means of keeping children engaged and out of the parents’ way.

However, the above news article actually shows that the relational image of the triune God is showing through. The highest use of smartphones is for messaging and social networking, both of which are relational. How much this affirms the truth that God made us relational beings who should primarily be in relation with Him and with those around us! The whole fabric of society is built around relationships. We miss this truth often, but if we just generally reflect, we would not be able to miss it.

Smartphones and/or Tablets also make it possible for users to have the entire Bible with multiple commentaries, dictionaries and even maps. We can also watch video and audio clips of Bible teaching and even listen to edifying music.

So, apart from the way smartphones can be used to slowly but deliberately destroy our identity and personality, it can also be put to use drawing us nearer to God and His people. We can even use it to reach out to our friends of other faiths in dialogue and in relationships. May God grant us the discernment to do so.

Editorial: IN PETER’S FOOTSTEPS - Kuruvilla Chandy

BE DILIGENT - John Jebaseelan

BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE - Vimal R. Ram

BORN AGAIN - P. Samuel Manoharam

IDOLATRY AND REVIVAL - Sunil Poonen

THE SKIDDING TONGUE - Paul H. Jeyasingh

SMARTPHONE AND SMARTLIFE - Cyril Georgeson

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