In his recent devotional to young adults, Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke about both the dangers and benefits of social media and technology. He shared on his official Facebook page:
“As I mentioned in the #LDSdevo tonight, my earnest plea is that all of us will evaluate how and when we use the internet and social media.
The bright-line test should be: Does it assist our other worthy and important goals, or does it seriously impede our progress? Are we obsessed with social media for fear of missing out if we don’t check it constantly? Does the self-promotion of some social media cause us to have self-doubt and feel inadequate? Worse yet, does the internet lead us to images and content that is impure, inappropriate, or contains half-truths that destroy faith?
Do we ever hide our identity and subject others to unkind comments or opinions? Does social media interfere with the time we would normally spend with religious observance in the home or quality family time? Is the amount of time spent on the internet with games and trivia preventing us from effectively pursuing serious goals?
These are decisions I challenge each of us to contemplate, make adjustments, and repent where necessary to bless our lives.
In mentioning the above I am fully cognizant of the enormous benefits social media can have when used properly. Its contribution to family history alone makes it clear to me that the Lord has inspired this technology.”
Are you looking to disconnect from your phone and reconnect to what matters most? Here are five ideas to help you get started.
1. Leave it behind.
The best way to overcome a temptation is to remove it! Obviously, there are situations when we need to take our phones with us. However, look for opportunities to leave the phone behind. Keep it in your room during dinner or group gatherings. Don’t take it when you got on a walk. Leave it in the car when you visit the temple. Pay attention to times when you don’t need your phone on your person, especially when you have the chance to interact with others.
2. Memorize phone numbers.
When thinking about leaving your phone behind, it can be scary. If something happens and you need to contact a family member or friend, you can be left in the lurch. One way to mitigate this risk is to keep emergency phone numbers close on paper. Either memorize the key phone numbers or have it in your wallet or purse. This can make you feel more confident about not having your phone with you at all times.
3. Charge it far away from you.
Do you check your notifications the moment your eyes open and scroll through your newsfeed as they close? Consider putting your phone charger across your room. You’ll still be able to hear the alarm, but you can have more time each morning and night to disconnect. In fact, think about using an old fashioned alarm clock instead. You may find yourself more focused on saying your prayers, pondering the day, and, you know, sleeping.
4. Clean out your apps.
Consider going for a minimalist approach when it comes to your apps. Maybe you just need one game instead of twenty. Download the scriptures instead. If there are less distractions on your phone, you may be less likely to be distracted. Go through and see what apps you could live without and which ones truly add substance to your life.
5. Fill your life up with other things.
One of the reasons we can be so addicted to our cell phones is because we don’t want to miss out. We want to feel connected. What we don’t realize is that all this connection can actually take away our chances for real connection and growth. Find relationships, activities, and hobbies to fill up your life. Take a trip. Visit that person you’ve missed. Learn a new skill. When technology is used to fulfill these sorts of things, it is being used for a good purpose.
What ways have you found to detach from your cell phone?