“Smart Phone” Experiment

Posted By on Jul 5, 2012 | 6 comments


By Christy Mactavish

You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. Exodus 20:4 (NLT)

These last few days I have been conducting a very interesting experiment that I believe affects many families and relationships.  The teacher in me feels inclined to use the Scientific Method to explain:

Ask a Question
1)  Why do I feel compelled to check my “smart” phone every few minutes throughout the day?

2)  Are there any true benefits found in constantly checking it?

3)  If not, what effects does it have on my day, my family, my relationship with God, etc…?

All of my blog stats are available on my phone.  So is Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as every app under the sun!  It takes just seconds to look and check the progress of any of these via this phone.  If I receive a comment on the blog, I can respond promptly.  If someone “Likes” the Facebook page, I can be sure to lift them up in prayer and give thanks to God ASAP.  Yet, as I constantly check, I am distracted from what’s before me, whether that’s dinner, my children asking me a question, conversations with them, etc…

Construct a Hypothesis
Smart phones can become an idol that detracts from our relationship with God, and instead can reinforce only our own efforts.  It can also take us away from engaging in real relationships with others.

1)  For three straight days, just use your phone as a PHONE, not a computer.

2)  Track how many times you feel compelled to just take a “quick” glance at it, and reflect on why you think you need to check it. Is it to just fill time?  Is it to do real work?  Is it because you think you’ll be able to actually will things to happen if you just look at it?

3)  Notice what is going on around you when you feel compelled to check it.  Is there family in the room?  Are your children needing you?  Do you need to complete a simple, yet important task like making dinner?

Analyze Test Results
The first day I did this, I was SHOCKED by how often I moved toward my phone.  In fact, I came to see that the phone had become an extension of my hand, and when it wasn’t there, I felt like I was missing something.  All the reasons for wanting to check it were quite basic–looking at Facebook updates, checking Cross Moms stats, perusing Pinterest photos, etc…

As I became more aware of how often I was attached to the phone, I caught the number of times my children were right there in the room with me, sometimes asking a question I didn’t fully hear, or the laughing they shared with something I completely missed.  I came to hear my youngest’s little voice say, “Mommy,  are you almost done on that thing?”  Then I noticed how my oldest has started following my lead and reaches for his phone first for his mode of “entertainment.” (And he doesn’t even have a smart phone with all the bells and whistles.  His is just a regular flip phone, but it does have a few games, etc.)

Regarding Cross Moms, my phone checking compulsion was doing nothing to advance the ministry.  Instead, it pulled me away from the very things I pray our readers will be blessed with–the clear understanding that God is in control, not us, and drawing near to Him through His Word is the most fulfilling thing there is!  In some ways, “watching” via my phone to see if the there was progress on the blog was really quite the same as trying to watch water boil.  No matter how hard we watch it, it’s still not going to boil until its proper time!  I realized I had this false impression that the success of Cross Moms lay solely  in my efforts to do all I can to push the cause…when really what I should be doing is seeking Him first, not my cell phone!

Flipping through a “smart” phone all the time is actually quite the opposite–dumb!  It can rob us of those moments that God has put before us to nurture and build real relationships with our loved ones and with HIM!

I know I’m not the only one who has done this.  Look around you.  So many people are on their phones all the time!  Are you one of them?  Is God laying it on your heart to do a similar experiment?  

I will shout this from the rooftops:  THANK YOU for this struggle!  Because without it, I would not have become aware of what you are continually teaching me–Trust in YOU with all my heart.  Lean not on my own understanding (or my cell phone!)  In all ways, acknowledge YOU.  And you WILL direct my path!


Sharing at NOBH, The Better Mom, and Titus 2sdays



  1. AMEN SISTER! I don’t have a smart phone, but I do have a laptop that I check way too often. After our recent terrible storm and consequent loss of internet access, I had an entire week to reassess life without the world wide web. It was eye-opening and freeing. And, as lessons from God often go, my blog had more page views every day the whole week and I DIDN’T EVEN POST ONCE! To His glory, for Him and through Him and NEVER BECAUSE OF ME! Oh Lord, that I would truly learn this lesson once and for all! What a wonderful and important post Christy. Thank you! Love you sister! Smiles –

    Post a Reply
    • Amy! I thought about you all this week not having power! I guess you could say huge blessings came from that then, huh? Talk about God bringing all things together for good! 😉 Glad you’re back online, but even more thankful for what God is teaching both of us. To HIM be ALL the Glory!
      Love and God Bless,

      Post a Reply
  2. It seems like forever that I was able to spend hours on the internet, and to tell the truth I’m not missing it all that much. I do not have a Smart Phone either, so I wouldn’t know what it was like to be that connected.

    My sister and I went to the Mall a few weeks ago (I haven’t been to a mall in at least 15 years), and I was completely taken aback at all the people walking around looking at their phones. It was amazing to see them navigate without looking up.

    Thank you for this insightful post. With things looking somewhat more promising for my son and I in the job and home search and with homeschool about to start for us, hopefully my schedule will become more balanced.

    God bless you, Christy!

    Post a Reply
    • Lynda,
      I’m so glad things are starting to settle a bit more for you. It sounds like there have been many life changing events happening–the ones that make you have to trust completely in our Heavenly Father. I look forward to hearing about the blessings you’ve experienced and the love He has shown you along the way.

      Love and God Bless,

      Post a Reply
  3. Wow! I’m just now reading this post and it is convicting!I never use my phone during the day throughout the school year, but I can’t seem to shake it this summer. I appreciate the “scientific method” approach and will be doing this as well. Thanks for this wise word and sharing your struggle.

    Post a Reply
    • Ann,
      I thought about you when I started writing this because of the scientific method! :) I think we become so prone to being “busy” that we forget that there is a productive busy, and then there are just distractions…Praying you have a phone free day reveling in your beautiful family!
      Love you! Miss u! Let’s get together soon!

      Post a Reply

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