Six Guidelines to Put Technology in Its Proper Place


Technology is a huge part of our lives, but we must determine its appropriate role. Dr. Tim Elmore shares six guidelines for finding a healthy balance.

Many people believe that technology has a proper place in society. I would concur. But whatever we think about our high-tech world, I think we can all agree it’s not going away. Technology plays a huge role in our lives, but we must put it in its proper role.

We must never allow technology (which represents a virtual world) to replace the real one. Case in point: a man from West Virginia recently drove his truck into a river and blamed his GPS for the accident. Yep. He really did.

He was driving at night, toward the Susquehanna River in Bradford County. His GPS told him to keep going, even though a sign told him the road ended. Hmmm. Do you believe the sign or the GPS? Sadly, it’s the second time this has happened in six months in that area. Fortunately for this 24-year old man, he was able to swim to the other side and get rescued. It’s a miracle he survived, as the water was a chilly 40˚.

Six Balancing Acts on Technology

May I remind you of some great guidelines we must give to our students?

1. Always balance tech-time with touch-time. The same amount of hours you spend in front of a screen should be spent with real people, face to face. This cultivates interpersonal skills and the ability to read facial and body language.

2. Always balance technical skills with soft skill development. Employers rarely worry about tech skills in new grads — they worry about their soft skills. These all fit into the category of emotional intelligence and predict future success.

3. For each Instagram or Facebook group you join, throw a party and host it. Have real conversations and make real human connections. This enables you to take initiative with people and learn how to truly serve others.

4. Balance the conversations you have in print (text) with conversations you have in person (verbal). Talking with people is more emotionally taxing but pays dividends, as it builds relationship “muscles” and patience with others.

5. For every person you “unfriend” on social media, force yourself to resolve conflict with a person. We live in a disposable world, where it’s easier to avoid problems than face them. Never end a close relationship with technology. That’s cowardice.

6. When present with people, make them a priority over the ones on your phone. (Unless you agree to reply to an important message). When you check your portable device, you communicate to those around you that there are other people more important than you.

One more thing: When you have to decide between a GPS instruction and a sign posted on a road (especially a construction sign), always go with the sign.

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