Are Our Digital Lives Damaging Our Spiritual Lives?

Technology Use, Southampton City College

Technology Use, Southampton City College (Photo credit: jisc_infonet)

It must be trendy to discuss the ubiquitous nature of technology and personal connectivity. A new term has even been coined for it – connection addiction. I saw this term first as a part of the headline for Newsweek’s latest cover story. Just a few months ago, The Atlantic cover story asked, ” Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?”

A few years ago, I grew fascinated with the spiritual ramifications of all of this connectivity. I am convinced that the church needs to address this issue for the spiritual health of its members. I have included some of my writings on the topic below. I would encourage discussion. More to come.

  • The Ever Connected

Modern people are finding it harder and harder to unplug themselves from their electronic devices. Consider these recently documented findings:

– International studies tell us that “people would rather lose their wallet than their cell phone.” [i]

– Two thirds of 8,000 respondents in a 2009 poll go to bed with their cell phone nearby and refuse to switch them off because they are afraid “they’ll miss something.” [ii]

– an average working parent spends twice as long dealing with email as playing with his or her children [iii]

The Results of all of this Connection

Some people may be proud of their connectivity and ability to multitask but according to a 2009 Stanford study those people who are exposed to multiple streams of information have trouble paying attention, have poor short term memory, and can not switch from one task to another effectively.

Clifford Nass, a Communication professor who helped conduct the study, states that habitual digital multitaskers are “suckers for irrelevancy” because “everything distracts them.”[iv] Who would have thought that we would become addicted to distraction?


[i] Fahmy, Miral. “People would rather lose wallet than cellphone.” Reuters 4 Sept. 2009 [Singapore] . Web. 26 June 2010.

[ii] Stone, Brad. “Breakfast Can Wait. The Day’s First Stop Is Online..” The New York Times 10 Aug. 2009. Web. 26 June 2010.

[iii] Honoré, Carl. In praise of slowness: how a worldwide movement is challenging the cult of speed. p. 9. HarperCollins, 2004. Print.

 [iv] Gorlick, Adam. “Media Multitaskers Pay Mental Price, Stanford Study Shows.” Stanford University News 24 Aug. 2009. Web.

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