Smartphone Anxiety? Read a Book! | Tomorrow’s World

Smartphone Anxiety? Read a Book!

Comment on this article

Do you struggle to control how much you use your phone? You can help your family master this powerful technology!

Do you struggle to control your phone? Is it controlling you? As handheld devices weave their way into every corner of our lives, it’s not surprising if you answer “yes.” We understand that today’s smartphones have been purposely engineered to addict us (“Algorithms of Addiction,”, December 2021). The endless parade of new images, notifications, and updates can consume huge portions of our lives. Separation from our phones can cause irritation and agitation, and there’s even a name for that: nomophobia—from no mobile phone phobia.

Many of us find ourselves increasingly frustrated by the unhealthy influence our phones exercise. If this describes you, what can you do? How can you help your family learn to master this powerful technology?

Here’s one powerful solution: Cultivate the habit of reading books.

The Power of Books

Reading was once considered a hallmark of a free and educated society. Yet, for decades, reading has been in decline in America. In 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts issued this warning as the Internet and electronic media blossomed:

Whatever the benefits of newer electronic media, they provide no measurable substitute for the intellectual and personal development initiated and sustained by frequent reading…. The general decline in reading is not merely a cultural issue…. It is a serious national problem. If, at the current pace, America continues to lose the habit of regular reading, the nation will suffer substantial economic, social, and civic setbacks (“To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence,”

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that half of all American adults had not read even one full book in the past year. Yet reading can reduce stress, prepare us for a restful night’s sleep, help battle depression, and even strengthen our brains (“Benefits of Reading Books: How It Can Positively Affect Your Life,”, October 15, 2019). And it doesn’t take a 500-page book to bring us benefits: A Harvard Business Review study found that reading for as little as six minutes can reduce stress by 68 percent (“For Those Who Want to Lead, Read,” August 15, 2012). A little bit of reading can go a long way.

The Apostle Paul warned that “in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). The word “perilous” is translated from a Greek word meaning to oppress or annoy—in other words, the end-times are prophesied to bring stress and anxiety. As we find ourselves struggling in these difficult days, are we overlooking an obviously helpful strategy? Reading books can help us regain balance and tranquility in our minds.

Encourage Your Children to Read

True education is about developing a thirst for truth and learning from history to successfully face the challenges of the future. That comes through reading. As reading declines, is it any wonder our world is becoming so confused about basic science and biology? Is it shocking that so many lack the ability to think rationally and discriminate between truth and “fake news”? Are we surprised when so many lack a shared sense of culture, decency, and courtesy? We learn these things through reading.

We can’t change the whole world, but we can change ourselves—and we can help our children see the value of making books a part of their lives. Set the example: When tempted to scroll on your phone, pick up a book instead. Put books within easy reach of your couch or recliner—not just on a shelf, where you might be tempted to leave them “undisturbed.” Create a warm and comfortable ambience with strategically placed lamps for good lighting. And, finally, just read, even if only for six minutes.

If you have very small children, read with them. It’s good for their brains, and the connections you create are priceless. “Parent-child interactions through shared reading promote language development and literacy and may also benefit friendships, school success and other child development outcomes later in life” (“Reading Print Books to Toddlers Is Better than E-books,”, December 3, 2021). Don’t fall into the trap of letting your tablet or phone be your child’s babysitter. While distracting them for a few minutes with a mobile game or pictures can be fine, a child’s brain needs more stimulation than such media provide. Yet, according to, toddlers spend, on average, more than two hours daily using digital media!

Reading to your children creates strong bonds between you and them. It’s both comforting to them and good for their long-term development and health, as shown by a report from the Child Mind Institute: “The sensory experiences of sitting with a caregiver, hearing that familiar voice, and feeling a book in their hands are all important for kids’ brain development” (“Why Is It Important to Read to Your Child?,”, October 27, 2023). As stated by Dr. Laura Phillips, senior director of the Learning and Development Center at the Child Mind Institute, “Hearing a book over Alexa just isn’t going to give kids the same holistic benefit.”

Read the Book—the Holy Bible

In all things, being able to discern the good from the bad is vital. For example, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is the best-selling fiction series of all time. Many love the books because they are so engagingly written, and that thrills many educators and parents; what isn’t there to love when children get turned on to reading? But should we encourage our children to read stories praising witchcraft and demonism? Or should we develop discernment in what we feed our minds and the literature we give our children?

The answer is simple and found in the book of books, the Bible. Even its name speaks to its importance: The word Bible comes from the Latin biblion, which simply means “book.” And what does “the Book” say about what to put in our minds? The Apostle Paul explained, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). We should fill our minds with things of value and truth, and God’s word defines what is truth. As Jesus Christ said in prayer to the Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

To successfully direct our lives and train our children, we need the words of God to permeate our minds. That doesn’t mean the Bible must be the only book we ever read, but it does mean we need to read from it daily. As Paul said, “Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman… who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, Amplified Bible). Without a standard of truth to guide our lives and teach our children—and without reading from that standard daily to give us guidance and encouragement—we will be adrift in a culture that has lost its way.

Almost three thousand years ago, wise King Solomon wrote, “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness” (Proverbs 15:14). Reading is foundational. It’s vital for our growth, our health, and our future. It’s crucial for training the next generation.

Take the time to develop and maintain the habit of reading books—especially the most important one.


View All