“I have four hundred and twenty-two friends, yet I’m lonely.”

So starts a video clip that’s been viewed six million times in just one week—and stirred up some intense disagreement along the way.

This clip has a lot to say about relationships … or the lack thereof. So I encourage you watch it and then reflect on some questions that could change your life. (If screen does not appear below, click here.)

Reflection Questions

I encourage you to discuss these questions with your family and close friends, because they are the first people you’ll see if you decide to “look up.”

  • What are some of the benefits you have personally experienced through the modern social media you can access through your computer, tablet, and smart phone?
  • What undesirable or detrimental effects has the use of these devices had on your life?
  • How do you see these devises affecting your relationships?
  • Studies show that empathy levels among college students have dropped by 40% in the last ten years, while bullying incidents have increased, both on and off school campuses. How might this be related to the increased use of electronic communications?
  • A Pew foundation study shows that 40% of young people prefer texting and video chats over meeting in person. One out of two young people believe it’s OK to end a close relationship with a text message. Why do you think this is?
  • What do we miss out on when we communicate through text messages, emails, Facebook, or cell phones? What skills are we often failing to exercise and develop? How could this affect our long-term relationships and job performance?
  • What are you more likely to say at the end of your life: “I wish I’d spent more time on my iPhone” or “I wish I’d turned off my iPhone more often and spent more time talking and laughing face-to-face with my family and friends”?
  • Which of the following disciplines would you like to develop in your personal, family, or work life? (1) Unless I’m expecting a vital message, I will not allow a text message or phone call to distract me from a personal conversation or meeting (which may require me to silence my phone or leave it in another room if I can’t avoid checking it). (2) I will not use text messages and emails to convey emotional information. (3) As a family, we will all silence our phones and leave them on a counter when sharing a meal, having a significant conversation, or watching a movie together. (3) I will turn my mobile phone off (or at least my email and texting features) in the evening so I can enjoy my family without distraction. (4) I will take a “technology fast,” periodically disconnecting from all non-critical electronic communications for a [day] [weekend] or [week long vacation].
  • What else might you do to make sure you and your family are using electronic in a way that strengthens rather than weakens your relational skills?

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like. If you wish to adapt the questions to better suit your group, please include a parenthetical note (Questions adapted with permission of RW360) and send a copy to mail@rw360.org.

© 2014 Ken Sande

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