As the internet is so prevalent in our daily lives it is important to have a plan for monitoring our children’s screen time. With so many possible negative outcomes from unsupervised screen time, Tyler Moore High School Youth Pastor at Warsaw Community Church takes time to share his thoughts on the subject.
I recently made a visit to the city of Chicago. As I considered where I would go, I was reminded of the weird bean that everyone loves, the Sears Tower (not the Sears Tower any more) and the many other opportunities I could have. It even crossed my mind the kind of photos I might be able to take and post on social media. What didn’t occur to me while planning my visit to Chicago, though, is all the places that I wouldn’t want to visit. There are all kinds of places that would quickly lead to trouble: bars, strip clubs, dark alleys. Thankfully, people have shown me how to navigate this city safely, so I knew what areas to avoid.
You might be wondering, “What does a visit to Chicago have to do with technology?” I’m so glad that you asked! Just like a big city has all kinds of opportunities and wonderful places you can go, so does the internet. And in the same way that a large city like Chicago has a lot of dangerous places that you could visit, so does the internet.
If you knew that your child had some crazy school project where they were going to navigate Chicago by themselves, you would make sure to teach them what they need to watch for and where they need to go. You would give them guidelines. You would tell them who they could trust and who they couldn’t. You would recommend certain restaurants. You might even chart out exactly where they could and couldn’t go. What you wouldn’t do, under any circumstances, is give them money and say “good luck”. And yet, very often, that’s what happens when we give our kids cell phones.
If you’re like most parents, you find technology a bit overwhelming and your child is constantly teaching you things that you didn’t know. That’s funny to joke about at parties, but the fact is our children are navigating some really dangerous places. And too often, they’re doing it alone, without supervision. I know that trying to understand technology can be difficult. It changes so quickly! The fact remains, though: You wouldn’t let your child go to Chicago without supervision and we shouldn’t let them navigate the vast spaces of the internet alone either. We need to do the work of understanding the things that our children are using so that we can help them make wise decisions that will affect their futures. ~ Tyler Moore
WCS believes in the importance of partnering with our parents in training up children to be prepared for life and eternity in all that they do. Here are a few resources that we have found to be beneficial in regards to navigating the internet from a Biblical perspective:
Deuteronomy 6:7 teaches parents to be talking to their children about God’s truths every day in all situations. WCS Parent, Jacob Barros, Associate Director of IT, Network and Operations at Grace College advises parents to have an open honest relationship and put the right protections in place, teaching kids to be good digital citizens, even when it’s hard. WCS would like to encourage you to take this stance as well, by setting up guidelines and having those conversations with your child. While remembering, that even as our children navigate within parent approved apps, they may not always be protected and adult supervision is still necessary.
Next week in the final part 3 of our Technology and Our Kids series, Ryan Langeland will answer some of the most frequently asked questions by parents in regards to technology guidelines for students.