May 7

20 Diagnostic Questions to Ask About Technology, Devices, and Social Media

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Miscellaneous

This past Sunday, Sandy Beauchamp, Tim Bradley, Ryan Kelly, and Nathan Sherman hosted a panel discussion with parents of youth on the topic of our engagement with technology, devices, and social media. In proportion to how much we engage with tech, our thinking about that engagement is actually quite small. For Christians, this is an important context in which to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind.

To that end, after Sunday’s panel, Ryan drafted the following 20 questions to help us evaluate our use of technology.

  1. Is this device/app a tool or an idol? Is it serving me or am I serving it? Am I exercising dominion over it, or does it have dominion over me?
  2. What happens when I give up _________ (device/app) for a day? Do I even know?
  3. Does it serve/promote God or self? What’s the %?
  4. Does it serve others or me? What’s the %?
  5. Am I mindlessly following the world’s trends or am I thoughtfully analyzing, monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting my usage? Simply put, am I asking enough questions?
  6. Am I often living life through a device or an app (live-tweeting, Instagraming, Facebooking) rather than enjoying life through human eyes?
  7. Have my relationships becoming more shallow (even if I have more of them because of social media)?
  8. Am I growing less comfortable and/or less capable with face-to-face communication?
  9. Is my phone a crutch in more socially challenging environments?
  10. Am I doing confrontation or otherwise hard conversations through email or another electronic medium?
  11. Am I growing in true knowledge, wisdom, and discernment more than just bits of information, headlines, factoids? In other words, is my concentration, interest, and pursuit of “substance” growing or waning?
  12. Has picking up my phone, opening it, checking apps, etc, become thoughtless or merely instinctual?
  13. Am I setting purposeful limitations and boundaries on my tech use, or am I approaching tech-use with sheer pragmatism and/or hedonism?
  14. Does the fear of “missing out” on what’s going on socially significantly drive my use of tech? What’s behind that fear emotionally and spiritually?
  15. Am I confusing my true identity with the public identity I portray through social media? (Note: Our real lives are often uglier than the idyllic life we portray, but our identity in Christ is far greater than anything we could capture with social media.)
  16. Am I making public things that should be kept private? What parameters have I determined for what not to share?
  17. What does the biblical virtue of modesty look like on ___________ (app)? (Note: modesty relates to skin and clothes, but also to speech and attitude.)
  18. How might 1 Thes. 4:11-12 (“…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, …so that you may walk properly before outsiders…”) apply to my use of social media?
  19. Am I evaluating my “need” for and time on social media in relation to my need for and time in Bible and prayer?
  20. Will this next tweet, photo, text, or post demonstrate love for my God and love for my neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40)?