Posts for Tag: Sabbath

Step Away from that Device

Three years sounds like a long time to spend on a mobile device, but three years is just the blink of an eye. My son is not yet three years old, but in the brief time I have known him, he has already become the most meaningful thing in my life. And he taught me my biggest lesson about technology.

Since my son was born, I’ve spent more time reading my Twitter timeline than I’ve spent reading to him. I am not proud of that fact, but there it is. My son has challenged me to find some worth in all that time spent.

How do we find enough meaning in the hours we while away flipping through a feed on our phones? Years from now, decades from now, will we be able to explain why this is how we spent our days? As the whole world picks up their phones, I actually think this may be one of the most important challenges I can work on.

There's a delicious irony in expressing my appreciation for these words originally read on a mobile device. Anil Dash is writing about the responsibility of app designers, whose work will at least facilitate, if not encourage, us to spend more time on our devices. Dash suggests three criteria—useful, important, and meaningful—and seems most comfortable with meaningful. I'm with him, mostly, but I have hard time setting a standard. Even that fact of reading to his son is somewhat questionable. I'm not sure time you spend reading to your son is always time well spent or the best way to spend your time or that you can absolutely say that time spent on a device is never preferable to time spent reading. We've got to ask rather whether we're spending the sum of of our time to achieve meaning, not choosing devices or other frivolous pursuits over meaningful and important ones. (It's interesting, too, that Dash uses the adjective robotic in discussing the issue—Useful has come to imply an almost robotic utilitarianism, focused on efficiency at the expense of soul.