Becoming free from smartphone addiction
A Christian Science perspective: Obsessive smartphone and mobile device use can be overcome.
Recently, a story was released concerning the addiction of teens to their smartphones (see “Half of teens think they’re addicted to their smartphones,” CNN.com). This story caught my eye because I recently ran into a friend of mine who confided in me about the recent and extreme character change of her teenage daughter. My friend feels this is a result of a purchase of a smartphone for her daughter, and she now regrets the decision, saying all her daughter wants to do is be on this phone – “It’s becoming an addiction,” she cried! The report indicates that 50 percent of teenagers and even 27 percent of the parents themselves feel addicted to mobile devices, while nearly 80 percent of teens check their phones hourly.
Today, technology detox experts say this is the new 21st-century addiction. It’s causing lapses in interpersonal communication, friction between parents and their children, and distractions during classes and driving. And while there are practical steps one can take to alleviate the addiction – such as setting boundaries and rules – I have found prayer to be a real and lasting solution to all sorts of ailments, including addiction.
My experience has shown me that prayer heals addiction by uplifting thought to God, divine Love, and away from material fixations and cravings. It keeps thought spiritually attuned rather than materially enslaved. Prayer that reaches out to the truth of God’s good nature also points us to our innate true being as Love’s offspring: pure, upright, contented, and happy. It shows us our ability to be and act as God created us to be: secure and satisfied. Godlike qualities are reflected by each one of us as His children. This means that anything that would try to pull us away from expressing God, or claim unwanted obsession of our thought and actions, can be challenged prayerfully and overcome. If we’re feeling dissatisfied with our lives, or even with this very moment, and feel a pull toward any kind of addiction, we can pray to understand God and see ourselves differently. I’ve found this particular Bible passage helpful to pray with: “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psalms 17:15).
We have a divine right to be fully satisfied in divine Love, God. As this Bible verse promises, God is the true source of satisfaction, and we find peace and fulfillment knowing that His presence and goodness encircle us always. Turning to God in prayer helps us wake up to a higher and clearer understanding of our unchanging relationship to God, good, as His child. And it brings assurance that God fulfills our true desires – calming feelings of loneliness, dissatisfaction, depression, or any other feeling of lack. In this way, we find our true selves, as God’s likeness: never lonely, but embraced by Him; never dissatisfied, but satisfied in Love’s care. Praying in this way isn’t seeking instant gratification but seeking, in this moment, the inexhaustible fountain of divine Love. We can combat the feelings of technology addiction by gaining a higher, more spiritual understanding of our relationship to divine Love, God, who truly guides our every thought, desire, and action.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, spends the first 13 pages of her primary work on spiritual healing, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” discussing prayer and desire. To answer the question, “Are we benefited by praying?,” she writes: “Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void” (p. 2). Turning to God in prayer to guide our thoughts, desires, and actions leads us to better choices, purer motives and actions. These prayers are always answered. They have deep results that fill our hungering hearts with peace and feed us in spiritually satisfying ways. Then, we find any addiction we may have had – including technology addiction – fades and dissolves, and in its place we have God at hand, guiding and governing our desires and actions.