Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Role of Technology in Our Kids Lives

Yesterday I read an article discussing controversy about a new Fischer Price baby seat with an I-Pad attachment.  

Apparently, there is a petition that has been launched to recall the product.  Those opposing the product believe that babies need "laps not apps" and their campaign argues,

 "Because screens can be mesmerizing and babies are strapped down and 'safely' restrained, it encourages parents to leave infants all alone with an iPad. To make matters even worse, Fisher-Price is marketing the Apptivity Seat -- and claiming it's educational -- for newborns."

I have many personal thoughts concerning this new product, but I'd rather not use this blog to discuss them.  Instead, I'd like to address a few very real concerns that many parents have today:  

What is the appropriate role of technology in our children's lives?  

As our kids grow, what is an appropriate balance when it comes to how much they use technology and all its many devices and gadgets.

How much emphasis, time, and energy should we put into training our kids to be techno savy? 

I wish I had confident answers to these questions.   On one hand, I firmly believe our children must have knowledge, skill, and know-how when it comes to technology.  It is, in fact, the way of the future.  Yet on the other hand, I am keenly aware that there are other necessary skills outside of technology that are indeed essential for future success.  People skills being one of the most important.  Furthermore, an overuse of technology can lead to sin issues like idleness and idolatry.

And where does God and ministry fit into all of this?  Technology allows for creative demonstrations and illustrations of God's Word.  It enables us to reach more people.  I've seen firsthand through this blog how technology can help to unite the Body of Christ.  Yet, I cannot forget that God is a relational being.  Our children must develop the ability to love others face to face; to demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit in a tangible and personal way.  Technology can trivialize, even lose sight completely of God's heart for real and authentic relationships.

Like with so many parenting concerns, I don't believe there is a definitive answer.  This is one we must take to the throne in prayer. Differing family circumstances, along with our childrens' wide range of talents and personalities call for decision making on a case by case basis.  We mustn't judge other parents for what decisions they make regarding the role of technology in their children's lives.  Like I tell my children on a regular basis, we must "worry about what we are doing, not everyone else around us."    

All each of us can do is look to God's Word for wisdom, pray for discernment, and seek God's heart and will regarding technology and its role in our children's lives.  As in all things, when we humbly acknowledge we need His guidance, when we trust Him, and when we acknowledge Him in all our ways...He will make our paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Another version translates verse 6 as, "he will direct your paths."

We don't have all the answers when it comes to the role of technology in our kids' lives, but God does.  He knows our every circumstance. He knows our children personally.  He knows their needs.  He knows what is absolutely best for them.  So let's pray and ask Him to guide and direct our path as we parent in this ever-changing and growing technological world.  

Lord Jesus,

I pray you would help me to sincerely trust You about my technology concerns, never leaning on my own understandings to inform or determine my parenting decisions.  I acknowledge Your role in technology and ask You to direct my path...my decision making in this area. 

I also pray that my children, at a young age, would develop a healthy balance when it comes their use of technology.  I pray protection from the sinful grip of idleness and idolatry in their hearts as a result of too much emphasis and use of technology.   And I pray technology would never take the throne of their hearts, may they worship You and You alone.

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