Principal’s Perspective: Character Before Technology
I hated growing up as a teenager in the 1970’s, and it was not because of the bad hairstyles or clothing. My biggest complaint was having one telephone in the house on a short cord. My parents could hear everything I said to my girlfriend. How could I be cool if my mother was listening to every word? Thankfully, I became a Christian and did not have to hide my conversations from my parents. Internalizing God’s word in my heart was the most effective way that I could be protected from immorality. My concern now is for the children growing up in this digital age.
Children are texting their friends and enemies at 3am. Children are receiving hundreds of texts daily. Children are callously sending cruel messages to those who annoy them. I think they would all benefit from a 1970’s corded telephone in the kitchen.
Twenty years ago, I met with an Episcopalian pastor who had a doctorate in psychology and was ministering to youth in New York City. He warned me that adults are always way behind the youth culture. It may take parents months, or even years to know what is going on in their child’s life. That was two decades ago, and since then we have made it extremely harder on ourselves to remain connected to our children, by overwhelming them with more technology. Technology marketers do not care about you or your child. They just want to make more money by selling you a product you don’t need. Every healthy relationship takes time and attention to grow, so how can smart phones, texting, social media, a television in each child’s bedroom, and unlimited internet images inspire our children to honor their parents and internalize Christ?
Fear often drives us to buy technology for our child so they will be popular, or because their friends already have the latest gadget. Fear is never a good foundation upon which to build a life. If you want to increase the probability that your child will respect you and God when they reach adolescence, build your strategies on faith.
Converse with your child daily about the Bible, and they will grow up knowing that it is important to you. Play interactive games and activities with your child throughout the week. Read up on how technology actually harms your child’s social and intellectual development. Communication technology is a new phenomenon in the lives of humans. We are only beginning to see how it is arresting the growth of children. Many reports are being published about the damaging effects of these new tech tools in the lives of children and adults.
Learn to manage the technology,
and pass on your wisdom to your child.
- Install a block on all of your computers and smart phones, so you and your children will not be tempted by immoral images or destructive ideas.
- Children do not need smart phones, unrestricted access to the internet, or a television in their bedrooms.Keep the television and computer in a public area.
- Manage their phone usage while at home, and definitely during sleep hours.
The life-giving wisdom and strength that comes from participating in a church community, and attending a Christian school, can all be lost if a child’s soul is captured through an unethical use of social media and internet. When considering the effect the youth culture is having upon kids, a Harvard psychologist replied, “We have killed the soul of the American child.” One of the most noble young people I know, confessed to her protective parents that she had become engrossed in internet pornography. What started out as a human curiosity grew into a “hook.” Thankfully, she is recovering, but how many children are being victimized without their parents’ knowledge by immoral texts and websites?
Get the facts and get tough on a culture designed to steal your child’s future,
and touch your child’s life for eternity.
How are you managing technology with your children?
Comment to share your ideas with other parents.