Matt Barkdull, a manager at LDS Family Services, shares his insights with us about why it’s so important to spend our time online wisely.
An explosion of technology has changed the way we work, shop, recreate, communicate, and receive information. Miraculously, innovators have managed to compact this technology into smartphones, tablets, and other highly portable devices, thus increasing our access to the online world. It’s no wonder that many are referring to the 21st century as “the information age.”
Social scientists and media organizations have studied the amount of time individuals spend online. One recent 2015 study conducted by the Nielsen Company found that, on average, adults spend more than 11 hours a day using electronic media. Spending extensive amounts of time online, especially on social media, has been shown to increase the likelihood of engaging in risky online behaviors, putting ourselves at greater risk of compromising our safety. Given these present realities, it’s important that we pause and begin to “consider [our] ways” (Haggai 1:5) regarding how we spend our time online.
Elder Ian S. Ardern of the Seventy taught that “time is never for sale; time is a commodity that cannot, try as you may, be bought at any store for any price. Yet when time is wisely used, its value is immeasurable. … We must devote our time to the things that matter most (“A Time to Prepare,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 31). While Church leaders have repeatedly taught that using technology and social media are not inherently wrong, Elder Quentin L. Cook counseled us to not be “led astray by distracting and destructive pursuits” (“Are You a Saint?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 96).
As online resources are a large part of our lives, how can we wisely manage our time without becoming distracted? Consider the following ideas:
President Brigham Young said, “We are all indebted to God for the ability to use time to advantage, and he will require of us a strict account of [its] disposition” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 286).
May we be wise stewards of our time while still enjoying online resources and activities for righteous and worthy purposes.