Column: Technology interfering with our relationships

Haven’t we all been around someone who was more interested in their phone than talking to us?

Coming in second place to an electronic device never feels meaningful or good. And I admit, I have been on both sides of this equation myself. I have seen the distraction, and I have been the distracted.

We learn at an early age that presence with somebody we care about is what makes experiences more meaningful. That may be part of the reason why kids are constantly saying, “Watch me.” Presence matters because presence enhances the quality of our relationships.

I believe presence is a meaningful and godly value. God wanted to be more present with us. That is why he came to earth in human form.

In Ephesians 3:16-17, we are told that “when Jesus returned to his father in heaven, he promised to make his home in our heart, through the power of the holy spirit, as we trust in him.”

You can’t be much more present than that. The spirit of God comes to live within us. Presence seems to matter to God, and if it matters to God, don’t you think it should matter to us?

It has gotten to the place that I cannot number the times I have seen people sitting together in a restaurant while everyone is staring at their phones. I suppose most of us have been guilty. It happens all of the time with married couples, families and friends.

This is an issue in our culture that is affecting all of us. One of the saddest pictures is when adults are constantly distracted from their children by their device. Is this really how we want to live?

How many times have you been caught looking at your phone or tablet and didn’t even realize that someone was speaking to you or as someone else was speaking, you allowed a call, a text or other notification to interrupt a meaningful conversation?

The American Psychological Association has labeled it technoference, which is defined as the interference of technology in relationships.

There is no question technology is having a negative impact on relationships today. Divorce lawyers are seeing mobile devices and social media show up as key factors in separation and divorce hearings.

Day after day, new studies about phone use are being connected to depression and loneliness. Join me over the next few weeks as we dig deeper into this concern.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor of The Point in Seymour. Read his blog at or email him at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].

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