Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
The topic I’d like to talk about today, deals with a major difference in today’s world from what it was like one generation (really only about 15 years) ago. A challenge for today’s parents, about which they have no former parent model, is how to deal with technology.
Fortunately, the principles in God’s word spans years, generations, and centuries. We can look to scripture as a guide, including this one: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Phil 4:8).
My daughter and her husband set some technology guidelines for their children, but I’ll let her tell you about them:
This is a daily (sometimes hourly) battle as a parent. I no longer see the goal as “keep them away from technology at all costs – it will kill them/fry their brain/turn them into hermits who can’t talk to people!!!” I cannot change the world that they are growing up in, and I am learning to acknowledge that it is just a different world/childhood from mine. So my goal has been refined and it is now more like this: “Teach them to be RESPONSIBLE stewards of technology, with skills to use it for good.”
A few examples:
- Let them use my laptop for a school math program but only for X minutes, and then it’s outside time.
- Show them a fun picture of their cousin on Facebook, but explain how people can post bad things too.
- Let them play a KindleFire game, but understand that the Chat feature is NOT allowed. (I’m extremely transparent and honest with them. We talk openly about false identities and how a chatter might seem like a friendly child, but could be someone who is trying to trick them into doing something very bad). And then it’s outside time.
- Show that pictures and videos are fun to look at from family! But if you see something that doesn’t feel right to you, tell mom and dad and we’ll talk about it – don’t be afraid! And then it’s outside time.
- Show how technology can help us (GPS, weather, store hours, learning games, etc.).
- We always stress that the minute technology becomes more important than our family (or any other real human) you will see it in the trash.
Personally, I am proud of them for thinking this through and becoming proactive. It keeps them as parents from doing what Colossians 3 warns about–not provoking or discouraging the kids by giving them random “don’ts” with no explanation. It sets them on track for making disciples at home by giving a perspective of technology that may help to keep it from becoming an idol of the heart.
Scripture alerts us to be intentional in training up the child in the way he should go. This includes the inclinations he should lean toward, his behavior, and his character. And although we may not have an earthly parent who modeled how to deal with 21st century technology, we do have a Heavenly Father who promises — if any of you lacks wisdom; let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.