How Do Online Distractions Keep Us from Crucial Things?

Tim Challies

How Do Online Distractions Keep Us from Crucial Things?

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

"When I wrote the book, in large part I was responding to questions that have come to me. People saying, 'Why am I feeling so distracted? Why is it that I'm trying to do one thing, getting pulled away?' As I started writing, people kept saying, 'Yes, please address distraction. Why am I so distracted?' I think what we find is that our technology is evolving towards distraction, so every new technology is more distracting than the one before. Maybe that's a bit hyperbolic, but you know what I'm saying, that our technologies are continually finding new ways to distract us. Just think about the beep. The beep didn't exist a few years ago. Fifty years ago, there were no beeps in the world, but then we started this new noise that is meant to call us from one thing to another thing.

Our lives are full of beeps now. They're full of flashing lights. They're full of things that are always trying to take us away from what we're doing to something else. Think about devotions. You used to be able to sit down and focus on devotions. Now you sit down and your cell phone buzzes; and your e-mail 'bings;' and there's just constantly things in our lives that are calling us away from what we're doing. As Christians, again, we need to be very willing to find quiet spaces, to find areas in life where we remove those beeps. Think about having a basket in your home. When you get home in the evening, you put your cell phone in that basket. Your wife puts her cell phone in the basket. The kids put their hand-held gaming things in the basket. You put it in the cupboard, and you don't touch it again until 9:00 or until the next morning.

We've got to find ways of removing these distractions because they're always calling us away from real life. We're living in a space that our heads are far, far away. We're sitting beside our wife but interacting with the world online. We've got to be present in the here and now."


Originally published May 29, 2013.

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