Published on January 2nd, 2015 | by Brett Harris

Look Up From Your Phone





Technology is an amazing gift. Smart phones, the Internet, social media, email, etc. have all changed the world, largely for good.

But the same power that makes technology a force for good can also make it a major distraction — can allow it to drain our attention from the people and the activities that most deserve it.

This inspirational poem has gone viral for good reason. Technology is everywhere. And it is changing the way we interact, while also keeping us from interacting with those closest to us.

Not all these changes are bad, but they are big. They must be considered and weighed, not just accepted blindly.

We are a generation of guinea pigs. No other generation has ever been this plugged in, this connected. At the same time, no generation has ever been so distracted.

We must find a balance. We must routinely consider the place of technology in our lives and adjust our boundaries so that these tools serve us, rather than us serving them.

Take the time to watch this video and let us know what you think. Is technology enabling you to live a fuller life, or is it weighing you down? If it’s the latter, what will you do this year to change that?

look_up_poem


Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently 8 Comment(s)


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About the Author

is co-founder of TheRebelution.com and co-author of Do Hard Things, along with his twin brother, Alex. He is married to his best friend, Ana, who blogs at AnaHarrisWrites.com. He is the founder of the Young Writers Workshop — an ongoing coaching program for serious writers.



  • Sam S.

    So, I guess we’re not supposed to leave any comments on this thread…………….Thanks for posting Brett.

    Forgiven and Free,
    Sam S.

    • What? I’m confused. =P

      • Sam S.

        Oh I though you guys would get it. Haha. So the guy in the video was telling us to look up from our phones. Most people can’t comment without looking. And well I’ve just been on my devices all day and this was supposed to encourage me to do some other stuff, right? Oh well.

        Have a joyous new year Brett!

        • Haha… Gotcha. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed. 😉

          • Sam S.

            You live in a shed? Haha. You’re a diamond in the rough! :)

          • Ruthie C

            This little exchange really made me laugh… haha thanks guys!

        • Renee

          Yes. Hahaha. :)

  • pauline Finnie

    So true! Technology offers us a world at our fingers but I know so many people who don’t look up long enough to see what is right in front of their face. We all seem to want some amazing, out there missionary to serve God but our every day, one on one, friendships and relationships offer a world of opportunities to show God in our lives… we need to look up!

  • Riley H.

    WOW, I so needed to hear this! I’m really convicted right now. Kinda speechless.

    • I know…. Speechless is a good word for it.

  • Liam

    Very nice video, very good message.
    Although it has a swear in it. BE ALERT. 😛

    Anyways, thanks for sharing! :)

    • Sam S.

      Thanks for mentioning that, Liam. I didn’t personally notice it.

      • Amanda

        He’s talking about devices being sold by a rich __________.

        • Thanks for the heads up – didn’t notice that the first time through.

      • Ruthie C

        I didn’t either! Then again, when I watched it the sound was turned way down because I didn’t want to bother my dad, who was doing work stuff on the other side of the room. So I didn’t catch everything being said.

    • Joyful joyful

      I didn’t notice either, but thanks for pointing it out–I will be careful who I play it for…

  • Ruthie C

    “We’re a nation of idiots– smartphones, dumb people.”
    Just wow.

    • Riley H.

      Looking at it written out like that is actually really funny :)

      • Ruthie C

        lol yeah. Very clever quote, but very true too, unfortunately.

    • Ruthie C

      I know I already commented, but I just thought of something else to say so I’ll add to it. 😛
      This (spending far too much time on the internet) is a huge struggle for me. I’m part-ADD, so I’m easily distracted. The internet is kind of a huge web of distractions waiting to happen. xP This video was a good reminder to put down the laptop and just live life! Go play trains with my 2-year-old brother, help my mom with laundry, catch up on school work (!!), whatever.

      • Riley H.

        Yep. I also found it very convicting…over Christmas, I took a three day fast from the internet in order to spend more time with family and focus on Jesus, and it really gave me a better perspective on media usage. I might need to do that again :). And making relationships with real people really is so important. I think a lot of our generation gets sucked into the fake community of social community, when really we are never satisfied, and the loneliness continues. I’m trying to find the balance :).

  • TW Wright

    This is really good, thanks for sharing!

    • Sam S.

      Hey TW! I haven’t see you here in forever! How’s it going?

      • TW Wright

        Yeah, I’ve been pretty busy. I read the posts, but don’t have time to comment. :/ Going well! 😀

        • I do the same thing, @twwright:disqus. I read just about every post, but I’m not really sure what to comment. 😛

  • Hey Brett, I agree with the overall message (it’s sad when you’re trying to be social and everyone is on their smartphone), but I am a little concerned about the one part with inappropriate language. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Thanks for bringing this up, Trent. Let me think about it and get back to you tomorrow. I just saw your comment and I shouldn’t be on the computer right now. =P

      • Amanda

        Yeah I wondered about that too…I wasn’t sure if I heard the guy correctly because I’m not used to listening to people with British accents, but evidently I’m not the only one who caught that.

      • Of course. Take your time.

  • I’ve seen this video before and I’m so glad you shared it here. I’m sure we all know what a huge distraction technology is, as beneficial as it can be, but we still need to be reminded.
    I think that, for the most part, technology weighs me down. I first got a smart phone about a year and a half ago, and I think that my school work began to suffer around that time. Recently I’ve taken to turning off my phone on Sundays, to honor the Lord’s day by putting my focus on what’s important. It’s a small step but I think it’s been making a difference. :)

  • Joyful joyful

    Oh so true…
    This applies to other things, too. I suppose my video would read “so look up from your book, step away from the bookshelf. Have you talked to your friends, or are your best friends ink and paper…”
    Something to think about

    • @joyfuljoyful:disqus Yes! I think we need to make one for those of us who read like crazy….it can be just as bad….

      • Amanda

        I have both problems at the same time lol

    • Ruthie C

      …but books make such good friends!! lol JUST KIDDING I know what you mean. Good to know there are fellow bibliophiles on here! 😉

    • Allie Blue

      Yes , that’s also true. I can be so caught up in a book and not even realize that three hours have gone by.

    • Renee

      That is true Joy. I really do need to “Look up from my books”
      I’m a true “Bookworm”
      ~Renee

  • Joey

    Brett, this post shows one of the biggest causes of low expectations for teens, electronics. I have issues with staying on the computer all day sometimes so thank your for this video showing what im missing.

  • Abby Zeller

    I don’t own a phone, but I’ve always wanted one because talking face to face is considered weird now.

    • Ruthie C

      I wouldn’t say it’s considered weird, at least in my circles, but it is much less common than it used to be. I’ve wanted a phone, but when I get one it will have to be *very* cheap because I don’t want to pay for an expensive one. 😛

  • alana

    This is kinda ironic to me. On Sunday night, I was so sick of technology, I actually told God I was going to go week without Internet and TV. I haven’t watched TV in about a week. I wish I could say the same for my Internet fast. I almost made it to 3 days. As disappointed as I am in my willpower, I learned something very important in that time. Technology really is a distraction. In fact, I felt more creative in this time than ever before. I also felt more productive too. I helped out around the house. I started writing down the plot to a story I almost gave up on. It’s been a good week. :)

    • Ruthie C

      3 days is still good! ha
      I can second feeling more creative while on a technology fast. It’s almost incredible.

  • Gary Avants

    We set the model. It begins with us even if people don’t get it. Jesus knew when to talk to people and when to have His alone time with the Lord. If He is working in us, then we too will find that balance in this out of balance and backwards time.

  • Kate

    Wow, convicting. Even though I don’t have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or anything, this is still convicting. I can’t believe how much time is wasted on electronics. We are the most involved, and yet distracted generation ever. We need to be set on fire with zeal for God and our brother or this generation is doomed. Sorry to sound so graphic, but it’s true.

  • Allie Blue

    Wow, this is very true. Social media can become a big distraction for many, myself included. Technology is nice to stay in touch with friends and family that may live out of town or for business purposes, but I would much rather see my friends and family in person and actually spend time with them. Watching that video made me realize that we can miss out on so much in life; ” talking” with friends while on our phones, or on our computers is not actually spending time with them. This is a great reminder to me to” Look Up” from my phone or whatever it is that’s stealing my attention away from more important things and people.

  • Renee

    This a true wake up call for so many people.
    I have already sent the link to so many people!!!
    It is so TRUE!!!!!
    Don’t just Listen and Forget, ACT.
    ~Renee.

  • Glory

    I see that this actor in the video did not meet the girl because he didn’t look up from technology. How does this apply to me when I met my husband online? We have been married for 15 year this November! Sometimes technology is a good thing! It’s all in how we use it and that we do not use it merely to waste time or as an addiction. Our computers can open up a world of education to us. It also opens up an opportunity of meeting people in one’s church (such as me & my husband) that we may not otherwise have met.

  • Eva H.

    I don’t know if I’m the only one like this, but I’m not on my phone very often, and sometimes I feel like in order to fit in I have to more. This video kinda made me realize that it’s a good thing to not be so distracted by media and internet

  • Marynia

    It’s all so true– and sad. Having said that, there’s so many advantages to it too. I met my very closest friend online and I wouldn’t change the hours spent on my computer discussing and baring our hearts and our miserable sleepless nights to each other, or the joy and ridiculous inside jokes that would keep us laughing til 3am even though I’m in New Zealand and she’s in America. All the FaceTime calls where we shared our deepest secrets and gave advice or just sat there and understood each other more than any other – other than God Himself – had ever done before.

    And it’s not just been her. My friend and I belong to an online group that has become family, even though we’ve never met in person. We’ve all been friends for the past 6 years (some finding us and joining later than others), sharing every memory and event that has passed. In all our hardships we’ve been there for each other, all the new high school experiences (now it’s becoming new college experiences as we all grow up), all the boy problems, all the family issues, all the healthy debates (because we’re not all believers, and also other things), all the times we’ve broken and sobbed our hearts out and the words that have been poured back onto the screen have been nothing but encouragement and grace and love and support. All the music and books and movies we’ve shared and all come to adore, all the stupidly ridiculous jokes that we’d be in hysterics over, laughing at a random word for no reason til we fell asleep with our phones or laptops still open… Man those have been fun. When some of us went through depression and really terrible times I can honestly say that those people would have had it so much worse if it wasn’t for this family we’ve built. We’ve had arguments, sure, but we *always* pull through in the end in love and unity. Some people have left due to busyness or just because they never really got connected, and our large group of 11 to 16 year olds, after a good 6 years, has shrunk to a small group of 15 to 21 year olds. But the core that’s remained… They’re family, we are so close. And some that have left still pop in to say hi and update us all and see how we’re doing.
    We send each other letters and Christmas presents even if overseas shipping costs a fortune. We make an effort. We love each other so much. And it’s one of the rare places I’ve legitimately *felt* the love, and quite honestly more than I’ve felt in many of the people and friends I have in my city.

    This is not to disregard the importance of face-to-face contact and physically connecting with people. It’s so SO important. We need it. And we do, as a whole, as a generation, need to do that more and not have our phones constantly glued to us (I do it too, I know). We need to meet with people in prayer and fun and encouragement, and pay attention to them rather than giving partial attention to their words whilst focusing on a passing meme on Instagram.
    However, my point is that the people posting and commenting behind a screen are *real people* too. Beautiful people leading unique lives that crave relationships and love, and who’s to say you can only find that in your hometown? There’s 7 billion people out there. Why limit yourself to just a small group of them that live near you? Connect with those people, definitely, but there’s so much value and no less worth or love with people from another city, state, or continent.

    The girls I know online, in this group, this family… They’ve changed me, they’ve helped me, and I would certainly not be the same person I am today if it weren’t for them. I actually dread to think who I could have become. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad, I’d just have been different… But you know the ripple effect? If it weren’t for them helping me grow to love the things I love, to act the way I do, to have the experiences and knowledge of others so deeply emotionally, to even help me develop spiritually in a hugely important way… A lot of things I’ve done in my little universe, in my city, the people I’ve met and been able to connect with here because of the girls, would never have happened.

    In the end, my point here is that this video states a truth. But there’s a flip side that is equally true and valuable. Wether you choose to invest in it or not, it doesn’t really matter. God works amazing things either way, and I’m sure he could’ve done if my 11-year-old self all those years ago had chosen to step away from the childish horse-care game site and gone out to more activities.
    So it doesn’t really matter if you choose the flip side, or decide to balance it or even completely separate yourself from it. I’m only encouraging you not to forget about it.

  • thatcher

    I agree with almost everything he said and he said it well

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