We asked our congregation for their stories of how they have sought to become more “tech-wise” in response to our initiative, how this has impacted them, and to share any tactics they are taking that we might learn from them. Remember that tech-wise is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Different stages of life, strengths and weaknesses, and situations might mean different tactics and measures may be more or less necessary or even possible, but we challenge you to read their words with an open-mind and use them to reflect on if any of these approaches might be helpful for you where you are as well. We hope these stories spark some introspection as well as some conversation. The formal initiative may be closing, but our hope is that becoming tech-wise is an ongoing part of our culture at Park Church, as we continue to become more like Jesus for the sake of those around us — online, offline, and being the kind of people who are present to God and to those around them.
If you are inspired to share a tech-wise story in response to this post and we collect more, we’re willing to release another edition of Tech-Wise Wednesday in the future. Email your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to check out our Tech-Wise Resources Page. If you have another resource you know of that isn’t there that you’d like shared, please email the tech-wise email address.
Have wisdom and courage, friends!
“I’m experiencing the rich reward of taking on this simple yet rewarding challenge each morning: Scripture before scrolling.”
Pst…if you didn’t know, we have a Scripture Before Scrolling lock screen image available in our resources section.
“In October of 2021, Michael was preaching a sermon in which he shared statistics on depression. Part of those statistics included the increased use of social media in recent years and the effects that it had, specifically on youth. The statistics were so staggering to me that I decided to quit social media altogether. Over the course of the next year I successfully, though with difficulty and struggle, stayed off of social media.
However, the more time that went on, the more I found I needed to reiterate to myself why I was doing this in the first place. Yes, I was feeling better and my time was being used up in more intentional and meaningful ways but it doesn’t take long for the human mind to start questioning why it is going against the grain — even if it’s content. Enter: Tech-Wise. What timing! It was as if God knew that I didn’t just need to be reminded of the statistics I read, but I needed a whole initiative to solidify my principles. Tech-Wise has helped me take my experimental ideas and turn them into true and valuable principles so that I can confidently go against the grain. I have been off of social media for over a year and a half now and I can say, with conviction, that it is difficult but not unattainable and never regrettable.”
“For me, immediate changes were not particularly drastic. I was not one who considered myself ‘addicted’ to my phone. I don’t know what other people’s average use time was but I have a feeling my cell phone and screen time compared to most others in my demographic was relatively low.
However… we have two young girls, six and eight years old.
I remember, before having kids, thinking one of the perks of parenthood was getting to pull the wool over your kids eyes every once in a while. For example, your three year-old asks for soda and you give them seltzer and tell them that’s what soda is. Or, like our neighbors who tell their 4-year old son that the playground directly across the street from their house ‘closes’ at nighttime because he always asks to go right around his bedtime.
For those of you who don’t know my older daughter, she has not let us trick her or tell her any ‘white lies’ from day 1. She is precocious, observant and above all, has a robust radar for what is fair (and unfair).
The biggest benefit I imagine will come from this Tech-Wise discussion and the changes we’ve made is that it applies to our whole family. I no longer keep my phone up in my bedroom even at night time because the ‘no technology upstairs’ applies to me also.
If we can get these rules in place now, teach our children that we are in the same boat, and the rules apply to us as well I imagine their acceptance of our house rules will be much smoother as they get further into having their own devices.”
“I kid around that I’m a Luddite. Truth is, I prefer my tech as tools, not much entertainment. And I try to discern convenience apps from tools.
I keep no social apps and few convenience apps or permissions on my handheld. I use ad-free search engines on all devices to cut down on distractions.I only use Twitter on my laptop, and I don’t use it for social connections, I use it mostly for news ( I follow almost 90 different journalists & newspapers across the country, 25+ spiritual thought leaders and 30+ non-profits/advocacy groups making a difference).
I use texting, phone calls & email for my social connections. I listen to a lot of podcasts which I download to an older device, and listen when I want, offline. I’ve also turned my phone’s notification sounds off for long durations when I want to focus on something.
That is how I try to combat tech taking over my life.”
“So for me, one of the best takeaways from the Tech-Wise Initiative is to increase my tolerance for holding off responding to the vibration or lighting up of my devices. I am learning that if I can just delay my response – 1st by 30 seconds, then 60 seconds and then several minutes – I realize that what my brain has conditioned me to believe is ‘urgent’, for the most part really can wait! I keep reminding myself: ‘your response to the message can wait’. Slowly, this afforded me more peace of mind, and increased my tolerance to live in the moment. Many messages we get to the day seem urgent, but not really so important that they can’t wait.”
“I’ve found myself ‘dying on the hill’ of not turning on the tv as quickly for my kids and trying to break the routine of always expecting one of their shows every afternoon. It has required a lot of deep breathing some days, but watching my kids ‘turn to wonder’, as Amy Crouch put it, be bored well and play so well gives me the hope that it is a fight worth fighting. The panel discussion only further solidified my resolve that taking the hard road is going to be worth it if I keep my eyes on the long-game.
Being on the Tech-Wise leadership team was also incredible personal accountability to me. I can’t be talking about and organizing this stuff without living it. Keep holding me accountable as I keep seeking to become more and more tech-wise!”
“When Brian Croak came to church with an alarm clock in his hands and talked about the difference between using an actual alarm clock to wake me up rather than my cell phone, I decided I wanted to take the challenge. I knew I would regularly wake up at night and start scrolling. I knew it was better to have more sleep than more Facebook but the temptation is REAL.
That following week I went out and bought an alarm clock, an old-fashioned alarm clock that actually rings and shakes the night stand a bit when it goes off. At the same time, my cell phone was relocated to the kitchen at bedtime. It was on silent mode. I did set the alarm on my cell phone as a backup (just in case the AA battery on my actual alarm clock might die).
I’m happy to say that since I made the change, I sleep better at night. When I do wake up in the middle of the night, I fall back asleep more quickly since I don’t have the social media temptation next to me. Honestly, delaying whatever enjoyment I get from social media hasn’t hurt me at all. For starters, I’m more well-rested. Come to think of it, maybe it’s helping me with holding off on other late night temptations (Tostitos, red wine; etc.) I seem to have more self-control. Maybe there’s a connection, or maybe not, but either way my life is better.
I’m glad Park had this Tech-Wise Series. Thank you.”