The Smartphone’s Gotta Go

There’s something about smartphones these days that’s got the whole world in some kind of stupor. Wherever you go today, you can’t help but notice the swarms of people on their phones. Go to the bus stop, and more than half the people in line have their face buried in it. Go to the mall, and the young people are sitting around with their eyes glued to the screen without a thought for the person sitting next to them. People used to look around more. People used to acknowledge the presence of others more. Lately, it’s like, the only way to gain access to the world these “smartphone-people” live in, is to meet them through their phone. I shudder to think what communication between human beings will look like if we don’t start paying attention.

Although many people in Japan still use flip-phones, smartphones have managed to take a big share of the market over here. (Approximately 56.8% of the population as of 2017.) As more and more money is spent on this ever advancing technology, more and more people are raising concerns about the addiction-factor of smartphones and particularly their affect on young people. A recent study done by the University of Southern California found that half of teenagers in the US and Japan admitted to having smartphone addictions. The study found many negative side-effects of smartphone usage, including being a “source of distraction” as well as “conflict and worry.” Many young people today cannot imagine life without a smartphone and spend numerous hours a day with their devices. As a result, statistics are showing that kids in Japan who regularly use their smartphone are getting lower grades in school. I think this Japanese professor evaluates the current situation well:

…Maybe now’s the time to reconsider whether smartphones are really a necessity or not.

What about you? Do you find yourself looking constantly at your smartphone? Parents are certainly not exempt from the addiction-factor of mobile devices. I’m not against technology and it’s understandable that many people now need their phones for work-purposes. But, if you find yourself–like most smartphone users–looking at your phone within 5 minutes of waking up, you could be on a dangerous path to not only addiction but spiritual decline. It’s not easy to be in tune with God’s Word when you have multiple Apps beeping at you for attention. I understand there are plenty of Bible Apps out there to choose from, but why not just go back to the good ol’ fashioned print version of the Bible for your morning routine? Instead of checking your phone when you wake up, wouldn’t that time be better spent basking in the presence of God?

Don’t let your phone take the place of God as number one in your life. We can tell a lot about ourselves by the way we spend our time in a day, so don’t let yourself get trapped unawares.

What Did You Do When the Missile Flew Over?

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Did you even care? Or did you just roll over, yawn, and then go back to sleep? Early in the morning here in the northern part of Japan, we were awakened by an alert on our cellphones telling us to “take cover” because a missile was headed for us. I don’t quite know how to describe the feeling you get when you realize that you could be annihilated any moment by a nuclear missile…  Continue reading

Is Japanese Entertainment Really Harmless?

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If you would have asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have told you, “Nah, it’s no big deal. It’s actually a great way to brush up on your Japanese.” Now, as a mom of two young kids who have to grow up in an ever increasing world of Yōkai (demons), I would advise people to spend their time elsewhere. Continue reading