Winning Your Phone Games? You’re Losing At Life.

Today, I reached up to run my right hand across my scalp to re-organize some of the wild hairs on the top of my head. Upon elevating my extremity and placing the slightest bit of pressure on my head, I felt a pain shoot like a bolt of electricity from the back left side of my skull, radiate through to my shoulder, finally ending in my arm. I was sitting in my car, and oddly enough, I saw fit to look up at myself with utter disgust and pain in the rear view mirror. What just happened?

Now, as I sit in my room before I go to bed, I’m feeling guilty about taking some shots at my little brother for playing the infamous “Clash of Clans” game on his phone. I was being rude. He, my roommate Kyle, and myself were finishing up our meals and watching an episode of The Office as Eric lent a larger portion of his eyesight to his phone screen. I turned my attention to him after he laughed at a joke that he heard come from the T.V. …heard.

“Interesting how you thought that was funny… you’re not even watching!” I exclaim with an abounding tone of snark. Right, I know, I’m going about the issue the wrong way… but can someone back me up here? Yes, I spend a considerable amount of time on my phone. Between Twitter and Instagram, I’m always responding to people, carrying on conversations, reading other blog posts, and crafting new content. Could I stand to put my phone down a little more? Absolutely! I recognize we live in a world in which the use of our phones and devices is becoming less taboo and more about necessity, however, I want to talk about different types of phone use…the good, and the bad.

Yeah. Some of you may not like this post because I feel that there’s no gray area. I think the subject’s black and white, and I’m completely biased. So here it is: Social media, when used properly, can be and has been a healthy experience… for me. Phone games, when used properly, are not healthy in any way, and have been an unhealthy experience for me, and waaaay too many people I care for. I equate phone games to texting. They’re not meant to end. You don’t ever say “goodbye,” or “I’ll pick this up again later.” Far too many times I’ve seen someone take a seat somewhere, and with the first sign of silence or awkwardness, the phones a drawn like guns from holsters in a shootout, and the conversation dies one thousand times faster than our overworked phone batteries. The conversation never had a chance. It’s shot dead in the street without a trial, and nobody has the courage to say anything about it. I’ve even asked individuals, “why are you playing that game? We should be talking!” The response is almost always “nobody was saying anything,” or “Then there’s clearly nothing to talk about.”

What happens when your gaming account gets deleted? Anything? Honestly, please… tell me if there’s something I’m missing. Would you like to belittle my social media? Well first of all, you’re reading it…so there’s that. You’d be disconnecting me from many inspirational individuals in my life, many of which I’ve personally met… you’d also be disconnecting me from many people that I hope to lead. You’re taking me away from the people I like to encourage, and bring even the shallowest sense of presence to. Again, what happens when your Candy Crush goes away? What happens when your Clash of Clans account and all the time you’ve wasted get wiped away? I’m sure you’re expecting me to say nothing… you’d be wrong.

Not only has the entire experience that you’ve “amassed” disappeared like a fart in the wind… you’re now at a detriment. When you’ve arrived at parties, sat in waiting rooms, rode on trains, and sat waiting for a plane, you are without EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT… that COULD HAVE happened.

How could you? How could you turn your back on the side of you that wanted to be in those moments. No… instead, you’ve sat through opportunities, countless opportunities to have interaction and life with people! REAL PEOPLE! I’m not sure you even know what boredom does! Do you even know what happens when a room falls silent with awkwardness? I’ll tell you. Stories happen. Someone says something… the discomfort stimulates… it arouses hormones and blood pressure…your senses change… your skin flushes…you take chances… you say odd things, and suddenly you laugh just to nervously shatter through the electronic wall that separates you from truly living. Memorable moments come from the mundane.

Yes, rejoice! Just think about it! One day when you’re dying an no longer able-bodied and capable of adventure, you can think about all the great times that you’ve been hypnotized, staring at your stupid phone! Con-GRAAAAAAATULATIONS! GREAT job! I hope you’re proud. Or perhaps during your retirement you can can sit back and tell your grandchildren about  all the excitement, achievement and adventures that you encountered on your phone. I’m sure they’ll be on the edge of their seats.

Now I’m just being rude again. I feel sorry that I’m writing with tone like this, but let me assure you, I won’t be apologizing. Someone needs to tell you what’s going on. Someone needs to help you wake up. You’re slowly, methodically desensitizing yourself to a world ripe with experience and enriched with captivating culture. Is there something in your phone that’s actually better than that? You don’t nee to be honest with me… just try being honest with yourself for a moment. Please, stop with the boyish games. They do little more than give you a false sense of accomplishment. Go and actually accomplish something that doesn’t disappear when your battery dies. Make moments and memories that endure.

I fear that my neck was hurting today because even I have been looking down at my phone too much. It was a painful reminder that what seems to be insignificant time spent innocently looking at our devices can bring pain that is all too real. Our conversations have no better chance of coming to life than a gazelle does born in a lion’s den… We live in a world where our conversations and truthful experiences with our friends, family, and loved ones are rapidly becoming extinct, all at the expense of our abysmal phones. It’s time to wake up.

Jesus came to give us abundant life. Don’t let something sneak in that seeks to take it away.

I write this because I love.

-Andrew

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for this. I mostly agree with you, and definitely see the generation below us millennials, especially, falling prey to the damaging nature of iPhone games which are built for to consume time. I do enjoy certain puzzle games such as the room, monument valley (both of which I only play with my wife as a bit of fun occasionally) and things such as sudoku to keep my mind sharp.

    But overall you are certainly right. We need to live in this moment. Now. Even in moments on the plane or bus or subway interacting with the world. Because every Christian is called to an active ministry.

    1. andalexander says:

      You’re so right Derek! I’m feeling that I want this piece to be motivation that jars people from their hypnosis… typically these are individuals that have trouble with balance. They can’t moderate their time. An alcoholic must remove him or herself from the act of drinking completely, there’s no middle ground. For a habitual gamer, they must do the same. They can’t control their time! I fear that they’re missing far more valuable moments, and potential achievements. Thanks so much for commenting and continuing the dialogue that you and I have, it means very much to me to stay connected.

      Andrew

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