On Guard! 5 Ways to Protect Your Kids from the Bombardment of Technology

Life can sneak up on you sometimes.  It has a way of flying by.  My sister was giving me a hard time the other day because I had written that I was in my mid-thirties.  She is nineteen months younger than me and she seemed to think that she was in her mid-thirties and I was in my late thirties.

For me, the surprise is in having a daughter that is going to be 13 this year.  A teenager.  I may be in my mid-thirties, but I remember being a teenager.

I can remember holding my daughter in my hands when she was 6 pounds, 13 ounces.  Now, she is a beautiful young lady who is delicate and complicated.

As a dad, I want to protect my family.  It seems that protecting your kids can be increasingly difficult now.

We can no longer simply keep kids locked away from the world; we’ve actually invited the world into our homes.

The Christmas Technology Dilemma

This Christmas my daughter wanted an iPod touch.  She wanted to use it for games and apps and to text her friends.

I was really struggling with this.  I wanted her to be able to have this, but I also wanted to be able to control the flow of information into her mind and heart and soul.

By giving her access to a small computer, am I opening up the door to the corruption of her mind?  (I know, I know, I’m a paranoid dad!)

Technology

The contant bombardment of info

In World War II, there were an estimated 3.4 million tons of bombs dropped. Bombing the enemy was a relentless way to shake the foundations of the society and the military. Each bomb attacked and weakened the infrastructure and struck fear into the hearts of the besieged.

Technology is a constant presence in most kids’ lives (as it is in most adults, myself included.) We have no break from people; we are always on call. Technology entertains and teaches us, but it also can suck us in and keep us from building strong relationships with others.

We have information bombing us relentlessly through the form of news alerts, Facebook messages, emails, tweets, app updates, reminders to check on our fictitious game characters, etc.

Instead of choosing what content we want to view it is chosen for us and sent our way.

I am not against technology and the irony is not lost on me that as a writer and blogger, I need technology to spread my message. I use it often and I think it is very beneficial; however, I want to make sure in my own life and in my kids’ lives that I monitor what goes into my heart and mind.

Technology rules/guidelines

Here are a few things that we are trying in our house:

  • Limit daily screen time.  We set a limit on how much time can be spent on electronics each day.  When the time is up, the device goes away.
  • Have a device lockup time. We have a certain time at night when all devices are placed in our room for the night. It removes the temptation to do something you shouldn’t do.
  • Subscribe to social accounts.  If your kids are going to be on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. make sure that you are on there with them. Keep an eye out for what they are involved in. Make sure that the dialogue there is uplifting and not detrimental. One of my biggest concerns as a dad to a daughter is that she will be bullied or made to feel less than the child of God she is by online bullies.
  • Encourage non-technology pursuits. Read a book, play a board game, build Legos, go outside!  Do something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. It is amazing how kids can find their imagination when they have to. (This may force you to unplug as well.)
  • Be pursuers of information, not just consumers.  Decide what you want to have shape you. There are so many subliminal messages that we encounter each day. Choose what you are going to read and who you are going to follow. Better yet, put down your device and pick up a book that you want to read and dive in.

As parents, you must make sure to help your kids guard their hearts and minds.

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

It may be more difficult now to protect kids and guard what they are exposed to, but the consequences are too great to ignore.


How have you struggled with managing technology and its access in your home?  Please comment below.

 

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Michele

    The girls turning 13 this year is throwing me for a loop too. And to top that off, I’m going to turn 40 :)! We use many of the same strategies – timers, all devices are stored in our bedroom at night, encouraging (okay perhaps insisting) on non technology activities. Modeling though – I think is the best form of offense. When parents ask me how to help their kids become better readers, my first suggestion is to always make sure your kids see you read. Preferably an old school book with real pages! I’m also mean and don’t let my kids always google what they want to know – we pull out books, interview grandparents, etc. Technology gives us ways to serve others – texting to let a friend know we are praying for them, sharing faith via blogs/social media, etc. I try to use the kids natural inclination to want to use technology to encourage those things – sharing bible verses, asking about a friend’s day, offering to pray for them, etc. It’s tough – and I think the most challenging parts are yet to come ;)!

    • Hey Michele!

      Thanks for the insights. I agree with you. Showing our kids what they should do by our own actions goes much further than just telling them or having a ton of rules. I like the idea that you use technology to serve others. That is also a wonderful lesson to instill in our kids!

      I appreciate you commenting and supporting my writing!
      Jesse

  • Christopher Durden

    I’m not there yet with the teenager, but to say that my 4-year old is growing up in technology-laden world is an understatement. Of course, he already knows how to navigate the smartphones and tablets! Like you, Jesse, I use technology daily, both at work and to encourage others. But it has, in my opinion, become consuming, and we would be the much better by taking the occasional break from it. Thanks, Jesse, for reminding us to “guard [our] heart” and to protect our children.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Chris. I have to resist the temptation to just be looking at my phone all the time. Like any tool, we can misuse or abuse it. I have jokingly thought about getting some kind of jamming device in my classroom so that I can have the students’ attention for more than a few minutes at a time. 🙂