If you unlock my phone’s home screen, you’ll find folders and folders filled with apps. Do I use many of them? Yes, I do. Many of the apps I use are for social media and photography, but I also have quite a few games and little helpful apps for things I might need, like a quick tip calculator or a to-do list maker.

Since most apps are mainly for functionality or entertainment, they should be harmless, right? Well, not exactly. Apps – short for applications – are simply tools. We can use any tool for good or for ill, depending on what we choose. That being said, let’s talk about how we as Christians should handle certain kinds of apps for phones, tablets, or even your home computer.

Social media apps are convenient, but they can also be too convenient.

Social media apps include the programs you can install to access Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram with ease. You can check your notifications, tags, and messages this way, and it’s a great convenience when you’re on the go and not able to access a desktop or laptop computer at any given moment. Sometimes, it can be too easy to access your social media accounts, especially when there’s a lull in conversation or in daily life. At moments like this, we need to remember that those notifications and messages will still be there without us checking them all the time. I’m personally guilty of checking my phone for notifications a lot of the time, and I have to tell myself that I can access those apps any other time.

Speaking of communication, instant messaging via these social media apps has become so popular, especially amongst my age group, where if a text message doesn’t work, Facebook can be the next best thing. Messaging like this can be limiting; there’s nothing quite like sitting across from someone face-to-face and getting to know them. Even hearing their voice via a phone call or writing an actual letter feels more personal. Don’t let the ease of an app limit the growth of your relationships. Talk to those people you message in person or on the phone sometime; it’ll surprise you how much closer you’ll feel to them. Basically, if you have a friends list, you should actually be friends with them; “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Games, while often harmless entertainment, can still have content that can bring you down emotionally or challenge your beliefs.

Many games for your phone or tablet are often silly little games where you’re either running Indiana Jones-style from monkeys or bouncing a tiny bird away from obstacles, to name just a couple. There are even games that challenge your knowledge of various trivia. But what about the games that have the capability to bring down your self-esteem, or have you running into options that you wouldn’t necessarily choose in real life?

Speaking from personal experience, I ran into apps that if I didn’t either spend actual money on the app or complete a task in a specific amount of time, the computer-generated characters would say I was basically a good-for-nothing. I’m in my twenties, so I brushed it off, but what if a child ran across something like this on a game, especially if they liked the way the characters or game itself looked?

Also, what if those characters had the option to pursue same-sex relationships, or casually date and break up with other characters without consequence? I’ve actually had to delete apps before because they made me uncomfortable for those reasons. Even in the case of an app or program, we need to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). If you’re a parent, I recommend checking the rating system from the web platform where you download apps for your children, and actively asking and being aware of the games your children are playing.

Finally, we shouldn’t be so dependent on any given app that we feel lost without it.

I mentioned tip calculator and to-do list maker apps earlier, but there seems to be an app for everything these days, whether it’s for business, organization, or anything else. But what would happen if your phone or tablet crashed? What would happen if all that data was lost? What would your initial reaction be? Worry? Fear? Anger?

It’s easy to feel like all is lost when a crash happens, but here’s the thing: those apps are just things, programs created by human beings to help make people’s lives more efficient. Anyone can create the app if they have the programming knowledge and resources. Honestly, nothing and no one is perfect other than Christ, so how can we expect perfection from the apps we use?

Also, those apps aren’t going to last through eternity, anyway. ” His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14b). Plus, Jesus said to “not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

In conclusion, apps are really just tools for work or for pleasure. But like any tool, we need to be aware that we are using these tools as Christians, and that we need to keep our worldview and our relationship with Christ at the forefront if and when we use them.

By Savannah Cottrell