Technology is Attacking My Family!
I’m currently reading “Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology, and Social Networking” by Gregory L. Jantz. I didn’t plan on reading it but Tom gave me an autographed copy from Greg that said, “Enjoy & Be Blessed!” and so I decided to put down my phone and iPad and read it.
What do you think about this quote from the book?
“The positives and negatives technology unleashes are ultimately personal; they come from inside you. The connection that makes the most difference where all this technology is concerned is the one you have with yourself.”
Because of my background in technology and since I look young, I get quite a few questions from parents about how to deal with technology in the home. Most parents are looking for a pronouncement; Facebook is bad, YouTube is evil, MySpace is bad (no it is not abandoned). I am now also asked, “What is Pintrest?” (My answer: It’s for moms who want to feel bad about themselves.)
The reality is that all media can be used for good and bad. Just like paper can be used to record the Bible or hate, technology can be great and horrible. The key for parents is to focus on both the threat from outside and the threat from inside when combating the negatives of technology.
Threat from Outside
Jantz talks about how most of us use a bunch of locks on our doors, and windows to keep harm and undesirables out of our homes, yet we rarely lock out threats based on communication (Internet, phone, texting). The locks on doors protect our physical safety but what about our mental and spiritual safety? I’m not advocating getting rid of the phone, TV, and Internet, but they do need to be identified as possible threats. You need to allow in only the kind of guests you’d let in through your front door, to sit on your couch, and visit with you face to face.
Threat from Inside
This is the greatest threat. Jesus teaches that it isn’t what goes into us that makes us unclean but what comes out. Our hearts betray us and so do the hearts of our kids. The best shield won’t protect your child from evil and temptation because our hearts are inherently evil. The key for us as parents is to engage with our kids in an authentic and age-appropriate way about the deceptive ways of our heart, and to build character and ultimately a hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Here are some examples of connecting at the heart level about technology.
- I sometimes say stuff in texts and online that I’d never have the nerve to say face to face. Why do you think it is easier to say mean stuff online?
- There are so many ads online, it seems like everyone is trying to sell something. Why do you think so many of the ads use pictures or sayings that are about sex?
- I’ve noticed that when I have a lot of hard things to do, that all I want to do is get on Facebook, or YouTube and then I feel frustrated because I still have a lot to do and now even less time. Does this ever happen to you?
These are only a few conversation starters but the key is exploring some of the open doors and creating a discussion not only about the challenge but creating ways to protect our hearts from the temptation.
In what ways have you been able to engage with your kids about the threat of technology from the inside?