On Mother’s Day, Next Gen Pastor Jay Stephenson shared with our church family the ways the enemy seeks to divide families through technology and what we can do to address it.
Phones can be a point of tension in the home. Phones are not a bad thing, but when time spent on them is not healthily balanced with time with our loved ones, Satan can use technology to disrupt us and distract us from what is important. Spending too much time on our phones can lead us to the comparison trap and losing track of time. And Satan can use technology to destroy us as it changes what we think and believe. We see this in our students, as overuse of technology is resulting in epidemic levels of depression, suicide, and anxiety. Technology creates feelings of constantly being on stage, being left out, and wanting to stay connected.
Parents must get in the game and fight for our students. Even science is telling us it’s not good to have this much screen time, this much information, and this much stimulation of our brains.
There are three things parents must keep in mind as you fight for your family in the struggle with technology:
While there is no magic number that tells us what age a child should be able to have a phone or iPad, there are ways to discern when the time is right for your child. Social media require users to be at least 13. If your child is younger than 13 and on social media, take a moment to consider whether or not that is wise for your child. Get online with your student, and help them learn to filter the information they take in. Establish internet and social media filters to limit what they have access to, and manage what comes into their phones. Visit the links below to find resources to help you with this.
The average screen time for adults and teenagers is pushing nine hours per day. Most doctors and psychologists advise only two hours per day for a healthy level of screen time. Check your phone and your child’s phone to see how much time you spend on your phones per day.
Monitoring the times of day when your student is on their phone is also important. It is not a good idea for your student to leave their phone charging by their bed at night. It’s too hard to turn their phone off. It’s hard to be disciplined. This is important for adults as well.
Establish a special time when no one in the home is allowed to be on their phones. Use this to encourage time together. Parents, it’s important to model putting away your phone during this time as well.
Talk about phones and technology with your student. Ask where they are struggling with their phone, what they like about it, and what they dislike about it. Seek to understand rather than to be understood. Seek to understand your child’s need to be on their phone and why it’s so important to them. Students, ask your parents the same types of questions—ask them why these rules are so important. Have that conversation.
Technology is a great way to advance and propel the Gospel. But it’s not a tool worth fighting with each other over. Instead, let’s fight alongside each other, in families and communities—let’s fight the enemy’s desire to destroy, distract, and disrupt. Let’s raise up men and women who will go out and change the world with the Gospel.
- Parents Guide to Internet Filtering
- Parent Controls for Every Digital Device
- How to Set Parental Controls
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FILTERING DEVICES