We just launched our newly updated and expanded resource on “Screens and Your Child” last month, so we thought we’d share part of the information we’re adding to that resource.
When it comes to screens and our kids, there are two common pitfalls parents can fall into. Here’s why you want to avoid both of them.
THE CONVENIENCE TRAP
We readily recognize that often we give our children technology before they’re ready for it because it’s convenient for us parents!
Technology allows us to quickly pacify a toddler, occupy kids stuck at home, or keep tabs on older kids. But convenience for parents should NOT be the primary motivation for giving children and teens access to technology. We need to realize that giving your five-year-old an iPad is easier for you. As parents, we can’t take the easy path. We need to make sacrifices. We need to start saying no to ourselves before we start saying no to our kids.
THE LUDDITE TRAP
A Luddite is a term for someone who refuses to use new technology. In America, the most famous Luddites are the Amish who don’t use electricity, let alone smartphones. Some families choose to forgo all screens in their home altogether. While there are some ways in which
this is the correct approach for certain seasons of life (download the full resource to find out why we think so), we think it’s a mistake (in most cases) to get rid of tech altogether as your children become teens. Here’s why.
Our job is not only to get kids to behave while they are under our roof but to prepare them for life. Someday they will need to navigate using the internet, they may own a smartphone, and, someday, they may be teaching their own children how to use it! Training kids to use tech responsibly isn’t just about this week or this year: we want to train our teens in how to use tech wisely for their entire lives. Tech is here to stay, as much as we want to limit it in our own homes.
So when your children are very small, tap your inner Amish! But as your children become teens, recognize that you have to move from protecting their innocence to building Christian maturity as they become teens and adults. In order to do that, we need to give our teens freedom so that they can build virtue. Good deeds done under compulsion aren’t really virtuous: virtue requires freedom. No freedom means no virtue, and no Christian maturity.
Want more? Download the free resource.
You can also find more information on our podcasts “What every parent needs to know about screens and technology,” “Screens and your child,” and “Technology and Kids.” and “Can Kids use Technology with Virtue?”