Imagine living in a world where your actions are pre-programmed from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Everything is coordinated for you: the choices you make about your work and leisure time, who you interact with, where you shop and dine, and what entertainment you will watch.
Does this sound farfetched? Not so fast.
In last week’s blog, we discovered that the personal and societal effects of today’s technology have become a concern for not only pastors, parents and teachers, but also for those who created today’s technological advancements. And they are sounding the alarm.
Tristan Harris, a former Design Ethicist at Google and founder of the non-profit initiative Time Well Spent, wrote an article in 2016 that every person should read. And if you have teens that are using smartphones or have other digital access, it should be required reading before they power up their devices.
Titled, “How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind—from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist”, this article explains and exposes how todays’ technology “exploits our minds weaknesses”. Before you think that doesn’t apply personally, let me explain. Everyone’s mind is vulnerable; everyone has perceived needs. And those needs and vulnerabilities can be used to manipulate the choices we make.
This seems obvious to those of us who search for something online, only to have that same item pop up on nearly every page we visit for the next month. Yes, it’s annoying. But when we transfer those same tactics to social (and some professional) sites, where post likes, responses, new connections and other notifications drive us to check our phones an average of 150 times per day, we need to elevate our awareness and adjust accordingly.
If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any period of time, you know the statistics that are emerging. Here’s a short list:
Shorter attention span
Less empathy for others
Inability to focus
Less personal interaction
Yes, the mind is a powerful thing, but it can also be manipulated. If you haven’t created a plan for using technology wisely, don’t delay. And don’t be afraid to unplug from your devices on a regular basis. Then take time to savor the present with friends and family, free from those digital distractions.
Franklin Santagate is the Vice President of Pure Flix Global Strategic Alliances, which works with denominations, ministries, and organizations by finding common vision, assets, resources and influence. From that position, we create initiatives we can do together that we cannot do apart, reaching our mutual objectives and expanding the Kingdom of God. To discover more or to become a Pure Flix Global Strategic Alliance partner go to http://pureflixalliance.com/join/.
To contact Franklin for speaking opportunities at churches and special events, email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.