The Best Technology Gift: Wisdom

Best-Technology-Gift-WisdomWhat’s on your kids Christmas list this year? What technology will be under the tree? Will you place phones, tablets and computers all tucked away under the twinkling lights? Are you feeling overwhelmed with keeping up?. Mike Gault is an owner and operator of several Verizon Wireless stores in South Florida, and according to Mike, “the hot item this year is the iPhone 6.”

We are completely dependent on technology. Kids have a wealth of educational information and healthy resources available to them to learn, dream and achieve greatness. But, when it comes to devices and technology, how much is too much? When do technology and resources cross over from educational and healthy to unhealthy and dangerous? When this cross over occurs, kids and teens face struggles and addictions with what used to be considered adult issues. Struggles like anti social behavior and a private world where “anything goes” when it comes to what they say and what images they project to others. Addictions to dark and dangerous groups of people and situations as well as unhealthy sexual boundaries with consequences that leave them confused and scarred with mental, physical and spiritual pain.

This technology cross-over will destroy the fabric of the home by tapping into the mind and heart of our kids, inviting a host of ungodly and dangerous influences that parents never intended for their kids.

Believers are to be wise. (Ephesians 5:15) A wise parent can discern what is right and wrong for their kids and takes action. Wise parenting helps kids know how to make right choices for themselves. Wise parenting is hard work. It requires knowing what’s trending and setting up family guardrails for success.

The Bible instructs believers “not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” (Romans 12:2) Yes, we cannot avoid technology; it has its place in our lives, but we also have to keep our family safe from conforming to it. Wise parenting requires applying strategies that
help our kids know how to renew their minds daily concerning how they use technology.

Keep up and communicate
Don’t be intimidated. Learn what your kids are into. It may be time to set up some social media accounts. You will learn, but more importantly, you can keep up with your kids, literally.

As you learn, communicate concerns you have to your kids. You can never over communicate with your kids.

Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. A child, on average, is exposed to their first pornographic image at eight. Pornography becomes an addiction of the mind and body and takes the user into a world of darkness, despair and guilt. Kids are robbed of innocence, purity and all reasoning over God honoring relationships.

Start with good filters and settings in place on all devices. The most recommended internet filter is called “Safe Eyes.” And place proper settings on your devices to keep junk out.
Even with precautionary measures, there may be a first time situation when your child is exposed to a sexual image that they were not intending to see. Calm communication with your kids will help them to trust you and lean on you.

Social media
Social media comes in many forms, but the overall popularity revolves around having an identity and a voice to whomever you choose. The top social media sites according to eBizMBA are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Vine. Social media gives your kids the ability to communicate to others anything that they want to say, immolate what they want about themselves as well as projecting images of themselves without any discretion.

They can express creativity and uniqueness but without parental control, there is the potential danger of perversity, obscenity, bullying and obsessive habits, which will destroy your child’s ability to concentrate on reality and practice good time management and social skills.

Email and texting
Communication through technology is tricky. My two teenage boys were given their first cell phones at the late age of 14 and were taught “responsibility first.” A cheap phone with no data or internet was how they learned responsible communication. As their maturity grew, so did the technology privileges. And we expect them to hand over their devices upon request so that we can monitor how and who they are communicating with.

Accountability and hard work
Finally, be in charge. You are the wise parent! But it’s hard work. You will probably face some resistance, but that’s ok! Everyone is accountable. Require that your kids give you all of their passwords, and in our home, no one (including myself) is allowed to be on a computer in private. All computer monitors are facing in a direction where everyone can see them.

And be actively engaged in what your kids are doing with their technology. Mike Gault points out that “parents need to not be passive. If your kid’s data plan is hitting 20 gigabytes, it should be big an indicator that they are too caught up in the world and need help learning healthy and wise internet habits.”

Pastor Brody Howell is the founder of Core Solutions for Family Life. He consults and teaches in churches and schools with core strategies to help impact youth and families. He is also the Area Advisor for First Priority of South Florida.

Brody teaches a “Parenting through Technology Seminar” for churches and schools and can be reached at [email protected].

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