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!)
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.
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.
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.