Reflections on Parenting and Technology

The elders met this past week and one of the things we discussed is the challenge that technology presents to kids and parenting. Below are a few of my personal reflections from that discussion from my vantage point of parenting young children:

  • Technology can be harmful to kids – Sociological studies are clear on this
  • Technology provides power but does not provide the wisdom to use that power – To give our kids access to technology too early is giving them power before they are ready for it. And it’s not just about porn. Things which are seemingly harmless to us as adults need to considered from the perspective of children (ex: digital camera, headphones, a Spotify account, even an email address)
  • Parents have always had to deal with the challenge of technology and this is no different today – This means parents need to either be savvy technologically. To be naive when it comes to technology while making it available to them is to expose our kids to harm.
  • Parents need to be aware of what technological access our kids have and this includes what access their friends have – Parenting must be much more cooperative. For example, just as we would want to know if there is a loaded gun in a friend’s house, so we would want to know if a friend has an unrestricted internet device available to their children.
  • Being restrictive does not necessarily mean being legalistic. – Parents will have different standards & convictions, and they should accept each other in Christ. Pastors, in wisdom, have a responsibility to warn against certain forms of entertainment or recreation.
  • Parents need to model restraint for their children when it comes to technology – We can hardly tell our kids they don’t need smartphones, iPads, etc… if we are on our devices all the time. We need to model the fruit of self-control.
  • More than modeling restraint, parents should cultivate and model a life that is aimed at something bigger than our short-term happiness, namely a love for the glory of God  – We should aim to enlarge our children’s capacity for God’s glory by exposing them to beauty and goodness, wherever it is found. This might mean turning off the computer and making the effort to get them outside. It means leading thoughtfully in family worship, reading good books to them, introducing them to good music, helping foster healthy friendships, etc.
  • Pastorally, we have a responsibility to help our members to think wisely about technology, and this includes parents in their parenting. – Many of our members are lacking in wisdom, especially when it comes to technology. We need to teach our parents to be wise about technology in their own lives and this will influence their parenting. We want to provide resources to help our members to grow in that wisdom.