“Supporting Each Other in Our Efforts to Use Media Wisely,” Liahona, March 2021
One of the most common questions families face in many cultures today is how to use media and technology appropriately. Today’s digital devices have quickly become entrenched in many cultures, transforming many of even our simplest daily activities.
With its seemingly endless potential for good and for evil, many individuals and families are looking for good information about how to use media safely.
Marta (names have been changed), a Church leader in Spain, has seen how her smartphone has enhanced her gospel study, made it easier to stay in contact with those she ministers to, assisted in her personal development as she has used the Gospel Living app, and allowed her to get more done in her calling. However, she knows she struggles to put away her phone when she could be interacting with her family.
Kwan, a teenage boy in Korea, uses the family computer often for school research, assignments, and projects. After his schoolwork is done, he fills his spare time with online gaming. His parents are worried.
Every day, Declan, a young adult in Kenya, sees people with smartphones in hand. It seems they can instantly access information that would make his life so much easier and more interesting, including scriptures, magazines, and other Church content. But, after paying his expenses, there’s no money left for a smartphone. Declan feels left behind.
As we minister, how can we support and strengthen our brothers and sisters in their search for answers about this sometimes confusing topic? Here are some ideas and resources for ways to use media wisely.
Seek purposeful ways to spend your valuable time outside of technology, including ministering to others, developing skills and talents, and participating with others in meaningful hobbies and other activities.
Have a specific purpose for using technology, and limit its use when you are bored, lonely, angry, or stressed. These and a variety of other emotions can make you vulnerable or susceptible to using technology inappropriately. Find healthy ways to respond to emotions.
Be disciplined. Use settings that allow you to track or limit time spent on your device.
Be like the Savior. Give undivided attention to someone when they are talking to you.
Prioritize personal connection. Maintain a balance between electronic and nonelectronic forms of communication, especially when sharing heartfelt feelings or important thoughts.
Take regular breaks. Invite everyone in the family to be deliberate about routinely taking breaks from their devices.
Train yourself not to respond immediately to every notification and alert.
Start a discussion on this important topic by sharing the struggles or questions you have regarding technology and media use.
Ask what they have found that helps them. There is much you can learn using this approach. It may also provide opportunities to share some of what you’ve learned.
Scriptures you could share: Prophets have invited us to be wise (see Jacob 6:12), to be temperate in all things (see Alma 7:23), to watch our thoughts, words, and deeds (see Mosiah 4:30), and to be good examples (see 1 Timothy 4:12).