As parents we have to actively teach our children appropriate uses of technology so that they can reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of its use. The modern world in which we live is ever changing. My oldest two sons were in middle school when the first iphones came out on the market in June of 2007. I remember saying, “Why would you ever need a phone with a camera or internet, and what is the big deal about texting?” I had no idea how the world of technology would change in the next seven years.
We live in a time where we are blessed with amazing technology that facilitates communication and the acquisition of knowledge at a tremendous rate; however, if misuse this gift, it can serve as a curse to our families. We are faced with parenting issues that our parents never faced, and we truly have no concept of the long term consequences of these advances on our society. I believe that God inspires men to create so that His work can be advanced. I also believe that satan tries to corrupt God’s work to serve his purposes. If we are active in our decisions about the use of technology, it can help bring our families closer together and closer to God.
We can use technology as a servant to help us do good; or it can become our master as it serves as a distraction from things that matter most.
Teaching our Children How to Use Technology Appropriately
First, let me share with you some amazing examples of how technology has blessed my family. Recently, I participated in a group text with my 6 siblings during the birth of my sister’s twins. We excitedly exchanged play by play texts on her progress, and only moments after the births, we received happy pictures of mom and babies. Over hundreds of miles, we were all able to share in this blessed event together. Another thing I love to do is text my children little encouragements before a test. I let them know I am praying for them; I tell them I love them. Another way technology has benefited me happened after the death of my husband. A widow’s Facebook group became a great support to me, and a source for me to find other young widows across the country who have become dear friends to me. We regularly call to check on each other and share insights and encouragement. I have also been able to use social media to help and uplift others with my story about facing adversity. In my small town in Missouri, none of this would have been possible for me. Technology has given me a place to share my voice, and has helped me find a purpose in reaching out to others. I also have my scriptures and other inspirational literature on my phone. When I have to wait in a car line, I can use my time to study or to share those ideas with others.
In these examples, technology allowed me to connect with people and improve my relationships when distance was a deterrent. It allowed me to learn, and to spiritually grow and uplift others. If we use technology to grow closer to each other and to God, then it is a blessing. It becomes a curse when it interferes with those relationships.
Technology can do great good, or it can be a great distraction to doing good.
For example, I have seen families physically together in a restaurant or the car, yet mentally separate from each other as each person is individually engrossed in their own virtual world. If texting, surfing, or tweeting is replacing face-to-face talking, then we have a problem. Are we missing out on opportunities to have conversations that impact our children because we have become fixated on our electronic devices? In my family, we have adopted the rule that when we are eating together, driving together, or have opportunities to spend time together, we put our phones aside and focus on each other. The latest text or newsfeed can wait. In fact, 7 years ago, it did wait.
We have also deleted all games on our phones, deciding that we could use that time for better purposes. Although most games are benign enough, they prevent us from doing the best things we could be doing with our time. Satan doesn’t have to get us to do bad things, he just has to distract us from doing good things. A distracted army isn’t very good at fighting.
Another negative impact of technology is the constant bombardment of noise and information. Our lives are often void of quiet time. We have no time for meditation, no time to hear or feel promptings from the Holy Spirit. If we are so busy, and the outside world is so loud, we will miss the still small voice that says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). This was a problem that I had before my husband’s death. I was in such a hurry that I did not take the time to act on that voice that told me to do things to help or reach out to others. I have learned the value of turning off the noise and focusing my thoughts on the things of God. As I have done this, He speaks to me more, and guides me to people who need my help. He helps me to understand things I am to do, and what I need to learn. In church, we have decided to put our phones on airplane mode and only use them to access our scripture apps. I have learned that I cannot connect to the spirit while I am sending and checking messages.
As parents, if we teach our children to use their devices to improve their relationships, educate their minds, and draw nearer to God, then we will have advanced. If we let them become slaves to the entertainment that easily engrosses their minds, then technology will have taken us the wrong way, and our families and society will ultimately suffer.
How do you keep technology in balance with your children?
Copyright © Veronica Clarke, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved