Age of Distractions

Written by Mr Christopher Breingan, Curriculum Manager

Over the last few weeks I have been noticing a concerning trend in society. We all know that with technology advances over the past 15 years, we have slowly become a society of people addicted to our phones. This is not a new idea, we have been reading articles for years about a growing trend in our young people being exposed to too many hours of screen time. In recent weeks, I have been consciously aware of just how far this issue has spread into many areas of our lives.

I was at a recent weekend sporting event for my daughter and noticed an alarming statistic. Out of the 40 people “watching” the game there was around 30+ people watching/engaging with their devices.  I pondered this at the time and found myself trying to understand what was driving this distraction. Was it a need to find an answer to a question, was it a desire to be entertained, was it seeing how the other half live through social media? This same statistic occurred again and again in different scenarios over the past couple of weeks. When I was at a netball training session for my daughter later that week, at the doctors surgery, on the train during peak hour, waiting in line for some fast food, seems like no matter where we get the chance to stop and wait somewhere there is an automatic reaction that sees us reach for our device.

In each of these situations, it made me realise that at that moment I have a choice to make. To engage with the moment in front of me or allow my attention and focus to go to the screen. I remember sitting at my daughter’s netball training session and just enjoying being out in the early evening, being able to watch her train, seeing the friendships she has made in her group, noticing how far her skills have come in such a short space of a time. I am not saying I am a saint when it comes to being in the moment, but an awareness has been sparked in me to make the effort to look out for and enjoy those moments when they are presented in my every day living. 

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The Bible has many scripture verses which look at the idea of being present in the moment and noticing the things in life that are right in front of you. In Ephesians 5:15-16 it reads “look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…”. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus says “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." And in Hebrews 13:5 Paul writes, “don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you”. My favourite is probably found in Psalms 73:1-3 “No doubt about it, God is Good – good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way…” This verse reminds us that God has placed many things right there in front of us, good things that show us his love and care for us. Are we nearly missing these good things God is doing in our lives in this Age of Distractions?