Category Archives: Parenting

The Tech-Wise Family

TheTechWiseFamilyLast week, I posted about my journey of Becoming More Tech-Wise as a Parent and Leader. One of the best books I read in 2017, was in this regard – The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology In Its Place by Andy Crouch. The social experiment that is kids with constant social media and technology, continues to demonstrate extremely negative outcomes for families, mental health, faith development, etc. Crouch’s book was breath of fresh air to this parent who is trying to figure out how to guide our kids and families through these modern mine fields. The chapters build out the covenant or commitments of a tech-wise family. Families are encouraged to build out your own covenant or commitments as well. What would these commitments look like for your family?

The Ten Tech Wise Commitments:

  1. We develop wisdom and courage together as a family.

  2. We want to create more than we consume. So we fill the center of our home with things that reward skill and active engagement.

  3. We are designed for a rhythm of work and rest. So one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year, we turn off our devices and worship, feast, play and rest together.

  4. We wake up before our devices do, and they “go to bed” before we do.

  5. We aim for “no screens before double digits” (age of 10) at school and at home.

  6. We use screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using them aimlessly and alone.

  7. Car time is conversation time.

  8. Spouses have one another’s passwords, and parents have total access to children’s devices.

  9. We learn to sing together, rather than letting recorded and amplified music take over our lives and worship.

  10. We show up in person for the big events of life. We learn how to be human by being fully present at our moments of greatest vulnerability. We hope to die in one another’s arms.

This book, plus our own hard lessons have led our family to make some adjustments along the way with technology. What rules or guidelines or commitments, if any, do you or your family exercise regarding technology?

Becoming More Tech Wise as Parents

TechTeensParenting is hard. Much harder than you’ll ever imagine. Nobody can tell you how hard it is until you’ve experienced it. And each new generation has its challenges. One of my generations parenting challenges is definitely technology. We are learning more and more about the land minds that smart phones, social media, and gaming devices deposit before our kids every day. Parents must be vigilant to remain on top of this ever changing world. Some of the unexpected lessons we’ve learned over the last few years as parents and as a pastor:

  • You can protect kids from internet searches and some harmful websites with filters, but filters have little affect on Social Media sites.
  • Snap Chat is bad. Really bad. No child should have access to Snap Chat. Block it!!!
  • From a local school principal: “Everything bad at this school – drugs, bullying, and sexting – can be traced back to Snap Chat or Instagram.”
  • Instagram has grown more like Snap Chat, allowing anonymous sharing of pics. Monitor it or block it!
  • Watch who your kids are following on Instagram. These people are discipling your children and shaping their worldview.
  • Gaming devices are not just about playing games anymore. The unfiltered internet, Youtube, and many games offer views of the darkest parts of the fallen world to kids.
  • Youtube is a great disciple making tool and mostly for bad. Figure out how to block access to it on gaming devices and smart phones.
  • Kids and most adults are not capable of handling the emotional toll that constant connectivity offers us through smart phones and social media.
  • Kids get up at night and reconnect with technology after their parents have gone to bed. They struggle to turn it off and stay disconnected. Turn off the internet! Place devices in a secure place. Model and teach the importance of rest from technology.
  • Drug dealers are using Snap Chat and Instagram to entice your kids. Yes! Local drug dealers are on Snap Chat and Instagram advertising their services to your kids.
  • Sexting is a huge problem for teens and many adults!!! Model and teach the importance of accountability with text messaging.
  • Most parents are clueless of how their kids are being affected by technology.

I could probably go on, but we are learning more and more of the potential harmful effects of technology and how to shepherd our kids through these mind fields. I know, I know. There is good that can come from technology too. But parents, lets beware and be aware! And set limits and boundaries on technology use for your kids and for yourself.

Here are some good sources of info for parents that have been helpful to us along our journey of discovery:

  • Book: The Tech Wise Family by Andy Crouch. This book helped us devise our own Technology guidelines for our home. Great resource.
  • Blog: CovenantEyes.com/blog.  Covenant Eyes is a great filtering and accountability tool. The blog offers regular articles that are informative for parents and leaders in setting limits and boundaries. The stories also share reminders of the potential danger of the internet and hope for redemption after inevitable mistakes occur.
  • The Axis Culture Translator. This is a weekly email that deposits some good tidbits of info for parents trying to keep up with language and trends impacting our homes.

What are other good resources for families regarding technology? What are lessons you’ve learned so far?

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