How Does Technology Affect Your Children?
Children are so proficient at using technology that they are commonly called “digital natives,” while adults who are less adept at using technology are referred to as “digital immigrants.”
At the same time, some have noted that young people who spend a lot of time online tend to . . .
develop a dependency on their devices.
become involved in cyberbullying.
be exposed to pornography, whether or not by choice.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Some online activities—gaming, for example—tend to be highly addictive. That is no accident. “The apps on our phones are designed to keep us at our phones,” says the book Reclaiming Conversation. The longer we stare at commercial apps on our screens, the more profitable we become to advertisers.
TO THINK ABOUT: Do your children seem overly attached to their devices? How can you help them make better use of their time?—EPHESIANS 5:15, 16.
When online, some people become more aggressive, vulgar, and insensitive to others’ feelings—traits that can lead to bullying.
Some misuses of social media can be related to a person’s inordinate desire to be liked or followed. Or if a person finds out he was not included in some way—for example, he sees he was not invited to a party—this could make him feel as if he were being bullied.
TO THINK ABOUT: Do your children use proper manners online? (Ephesians 4:31) How well do they deal with feeling excluded?
The Internet has made lewd content easily available and accessible. Parents should realize that while filters can help, they are not foolproof.
Sexting—sending or receiving explicit personal images, usually via smartphone—can have legal consequences. In some cases, depending on local laws and the ages of those involved, people who sext can be charged with spreading child pornography.
TO THINK ABOUT: How can you help your children resist the temptation to view or send sexually explicit images online?—EPHESIANS 5:3, 4.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN
Although “digital natives” may use technology with remarkable ease, they still need guidance. The book Indistractable notes that giving children a smartphone or other device before they have the skills to use it properly is “just as irresponsible as letting them jump headfirst into a pool without knowing how to swim.”
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “Train a child in the way he should go; even when he grows old he will not depart from it.”—PROVERBS 22:6, FOOTNOTE.
Note the suggestions you would like to implement, or write down your own ideas.
Discuss proper online conduct and manners with my child
Help my child deal with feelings of exclusion
Block inappropriate content to the extent possible
Check my child’s phone periodically
Set a time limit for daily usage
Prohibit devices in my child’s bedroom overnight
Ban devices at the dinner table