I think my family is addicted to their smartphones. How should I address this problem?

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I think my family is addicted to their smartphones. How should I address this problem?

 

Electronic devices are addictive and damaging to people when

  • their use becomes a way of avoiding people;
  • you hold them in one hand and drive with the other; 
  • their use means that you are often inattentive to others;
  • you reach for them reflexively a dozen or more times a day; 
  • they are seen as an extension of your hand or public persona;
  • you enjoy them more than the joy of knowing Christ and His people; 
  • their use fills more time than your personal interaction with family and friends; 
  • your seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness takes second place. 

How should you address it?

  • Examine your heart and habits; repent where needed.
  • Confer with your spouse and confess your faults. 
  • Together, prepare a family plan with timed goals to reduce use.
  • Include a media/phone fast, starting with mealtimes and Sabbaths.
  • Call a family meeting, address the problem, and propose the plan; get feedback.
  • Provide happy, wholesome activities to fill time previously spent with media.
  • Be prepared for pushback; proceed with patient grace and firm persistence. 
  • Set an example; authentic leadership is not just enforcing your authority. 

Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. . . . Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master (Ephesians 6:1, 4, The Message). 

— Elder Calvin Burrell

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Calvin Burrell

Calvin Burrell is former editor of the Bible Advocate and director of G. C. Missions. He retired in 2015 and lives with his wife, Barb, in Stayton, OR. They attend church in Marion, OR.

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Calvin Burrell is former editor of the Bible Advocate and director of G. C. Missions. He retired in 2015 and lives with his wife, Barb, in Stayton, OR. They attend church in Marion, OR.