The K.E.Y. to Owning Devices in Your Home
We don’t have to look very far to see that technology is extremely helpful! It's great for helping us stay connecting with loved ones we otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. A year ago, we saw JJ Watt, the defensive back for the Houston Texans, use technology to crowd-source a jaw-dropping $41.6 billion to help re-build Houston after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf coast. On the other hand, research shows that we as a society touch our phones 2,167 times a day. That equates to 2.5 hours a day! On a more somber note, the CDC said in an article on Science Daily that, “48% of teenagers that spend 5+ hours a day on their phones, experience suicide-related behaviors.” Technology is extremely helpful, but if we’re note careful, it will own us.
Now take a deep breath. There is hope! It’s found in Christ. Let’s look at the K.E.Y. to owning devices in your home:
K = Keep focused, don’t fret.
As parents, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the flood of articles, tweets, posts, and videos that tell us all the terrible things on the internet. (The internet that is now in the pockets of most of our children). We would be foolish to think we can stay on top of it all, and we would be foolish to just throw our hands up in surrender because it seems like too much to manage. Instead, we need to stop freaking out about all the bad, and stay focused on pointing our kids towards Christ, the anchor of our hope. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Our only hope for our children to not be sucked in by the alluring schemes of enemy (1 Peter 5:8) is to point them towards Christ, who will be their guide forever.
E = Elevate What Matters Most
Wes Butler says the family is “a divine institution established and designed by God for the purpose of forming people to represent God’s wisdom, character, and creativity in the world and pass it on from generation to generation.” Our job as Christian parents is to teach our kids how to navigate life (technology included) by processing it through the truths and principles presented in God’s Word. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” In our homes, let’s elevate:
- Wisdom over Information | The wisdom found in God’s Word is their tool for processing all the information the world throws their way.
- Character over Caricature | Developing character matters more than their entertainment and virtual “success."
- Creativity over Productivity | It’s important to give our minds time and space for creativity, and not just be consumers.
Y = You Set the Pace
Long before we hand our children a device, they are learning how to use one by watching you, the parent. Our children both need us to teach and model for them how to navigate technology through the lens of a biblical perspective. Where can you set a better example for your children for healthy technology usage? Are the standards you set for your children ones you are willing to uphold? These questions aren’t meant to motivate you by shame or guilt, or bring performance anxiety. They are asked to help you assess where technology is owning you and to lead you towards asking God to transform you more into His image. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:11, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” May that be our battle cry! “Children, I know I am not perfect, but follow me as I follow Christ, and allow Him to change us to be more like Him.” God desires for us to surrender to His redeeming love and allow Him to transform us to the image of Christ so we can carry out His plan (Ephesians 2:10).
For additional resources on how to navigate technology personally, or within in your home, check out these amazing resources:
- The Nest: “The K.E.Y. to Owning Devices in Your Home”
- DadU: "Technology’s Place in Today’s Family”
- Shoreline: “Top 10 Apps a Christian Teenager Must Have”