In his book, The Tech-Wise Family, Andy Crouch reveals that parents list technology and social media as the #1 reason they think parenting is more complicated than it has ever been before.
Raising Children in a Technologically Driven World
Zachary Stark, Executive Pastor at our church, presented a message a few weeks ago I think every parent and grandparent should hear. As a husband and dad to 5 children ranging from 4-12 years old, he offered wise, yet, sobering advice about the use of technology and parenting.
He believes technology is a way that God manifests His creativity through man. When harnessed properly, he says, it is full of artistry, life, purpose, power and beauty.
Before you listen to Zac’s complete message below, here are a few highlights from his message.
While technology can have some positive influence on families, there are three negatives it presents to parents:
Negative Influence of Technology
It Deteriorates Families
Families are where God intends for growth to happen, personalities to be shaped, character, to be forged and faith to be discovered.
Has your spouse or child ever said “Please put down the phone and spend time with me?”
Cell phones, laptops, tablets– with every mobile app imaginable– have become major distractions to marriages and families.
As a parent, are you always busy, always distracted, always scrolling?
The message sent to the ones you love is My distraction is more important than you.
Technology has become instant babysitters or mood changers. Our society has bought what it has to offer.
- Keep children quiet and occupied in restaurants
- Watch a DVD on car trips to avoid bickering
- Sidestep temper tantrums by giving your phone to play a game
It seems we are solving a problem. But actually, we are creating one. We rob our kids of the opportunity to develop character, learn self-control, or understand there are consequences for their actions.
It Delays Maturity
Technology has caused us to mistakenly believe the 3 values of
- Fast: We live in a world where speed is everything.
- Easy: Everything is easy and convenient. (Pay Pal, Amazon Prime)
- Safe: We are too safe. Past generations didn’t have car seats, seat belts, bike helmets, spongy playground surfaces. Yes, these are huge improvements in safety for children, but the point is that our society has gone to the extreme in this area.
Fast, Easy and Safe are the complete opposite of the tools that God uses for our spiritual formation. Slow, Difficult, and Danger are what God will use to shape us into the men and women of God.
Dear brothers and sisters when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~ James 1: 2-4
It Destroys Rest
God designed us to rest.
We enjoy being entertained and technology has many avenues: Netflix, Facebook, Candy Crush, Xbox. We’ve confused our need for entertainment thinking it equals rest. Sadly, our need to stay distracted and entertained compromises the rest our bodies need and crave.
Most teenage kids go to bed with their phones. A recent development shows nighttime usage of a cell phone can increase anxiety and depression in teenagers and reduce self-esteem.
This study has shown that night-time phone use in teens leads to poor sleep habits, increased depression and delinquency and lower self-esteem and emotional well-being.
If excessive use of technology affects your kids, wouldn’t the same be true of its effect on you as an adult parent?
As a dad, Zac honestly admits he s guilty of this influence on his parenting (and marriage). Listen to ways he exhorts parents to protect, prepare and take action against the negative influences of technology in raising your children.