If I have my chronology correct, it was a supposed citadel of higher learning that first banned the use of mobile phones on its campus. As if it wasn’t bad enough that a university environment was effectively turned into a glorified secondary school, it appears it is the turn of places of worship to give mobile devices the middle finger too.
News has it that one of the largest Christian denominations in the country has banned the use of “iPads”. I take it that “iPads” there is a blanket reference to tablets in general. Church members were supposedly using their devices “to surf the internet among other things in church”. If that is true, the church might as well ban the use of mobile phones too, because I can assure them that members use those to surf the internet, tweet and update Facebook in church as well.
Here is my take: you cannot fight progress. This new connected age is progress, and like all progress, it comes with its own unique challenges. Having students and church members browsing, tweeting and uploading the handsome pastor’s photo to Instagram during service is one of those challenges. Instead of shutting their doors to connected devices, educational and religious institutions need to find a way to use this new reality to their own benefit.
Have a look at history: no public institutions ever fought progress and won. None. Smell the coffee, guys!