Recently a man apologetically asked if he could borrow my cell phone for a quick call home. He forgot his phone and the shopping list! He thanked me and said, “Aren’t these things life savers?” I agreed. Technology really has helped me better use time. But, there is a thin line we have to walk with time and technology. After sharing my phone with the stranger I saw many on phones while driving in traffic. And, there is a new study debating whether cell phones make people less social.
One of the major phone companies produced a series of commercials to promote a phone supposedly 10 times faster than the model they just sold their customers less than 18 months earlier. The theme of the commercials is to be “one step ahead with information.” These commercials didn’t get the reaction the company expected. Here’s a real observation that stirred a lot of conversation— The version of society that they are presenting in that commercial is absolutely disgusting. People—presumably friends—are joylessly competing with each other to just acquire these dumb factoids when they are supposed to be doing something fun.
I saw a news clip about an American company in China that produces one of these new gadgets. It employs a million people making far less than the American minimum wage and living in dormitories at the plant. The reporter ended the report by saying the woman making this gadget had never actually seen the finished product and could never afford to own one.
This is complicated stuff but, I don’t think we have to give up on people or technology just yet. I do think we have to be vigilant about how both are used and portrayed or we will be “so 40 seconds ago.”
Valora K Starr is director for discipleship. When you see her, ask her about her phone and the office elevator.