Parents are rightly concerned when it comes to technology. But unfortunately, devices are often the source of disagreements, threats, and angry outbursts in many families. Kids don’t understand the dangers, and parents don’t know how to navigate online usage. What do you need to know for raising tech-savvy kids?
In March of 2020, the number of hours children spent online drastically increased. Most kids didn’t have a choice. They had to do school virtually, which meant more tech time. And because every activity was canceled, kids needed to “do” something because they couldn’t go out the way they were accustomed to. At first, the shock of all the disruption parents found themselves letting their children spend way more time than they’ve ever allowed before. But now, parents are revisiting their children’s digital usage.
Is technology bad? Is the Internet safe? The simple answer to both questions is no. Technology isn’t bad; it’s neutral. It only does what it’s programmed to do. And the Internet isn’t safe, but that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t learn how to use the Internet wisely.
In this episode, we’ll focus on two points every parent must consider so that they can raise tech-savvy children who know how to use these powerful tools skillfully.
Know Your Child
Not every child will respond in the same way to using technology. Some children have better things to do with their time than be online constantly using social media or watching videos. If they need to go online, they do what they need to do and go on with their day.
However, other children can’t get enough screen time. They are eager to learn more. They want to find ways to connect with more friends. Some get lured into websites they never intended to visit because they clicked on a few links out of curiosity. Whatever their reason for wanting to be online is, it is never enough time for them. They struggle with turning off their devices. They genuinely fear missing something if they aren’t checked in somewhere.
Part of parenting is to know our children and help them understand how they are wired. I promise what works for one child is unlikely to work with another child. This is because they are unique and have an internal driver that makes them do what they do.
The best way to teach your children how to be tech-savvy is to walk alongside them while they live under your roof. Too many times, parents miss this opportunity to teach time management, self-control, proper tech usage, and God’s principles regarding having an online platform. Another option we have as parents is to teach them what to do if they misuse apps, links, or social media platforms.
Social media is a tool that many use for good. Unfortunately, it can also be a weapon used to hurt or harm someone. The online culture changed dramatically in 2020-2021. Our kids need more help than ever in knowing how to use any platform wisely.
When you know your children, you can speak the truth, so they will understand because you know them and care about their future.
You get to help them learn how to shine a positive light on others. You can help them learn how to refrain from the temptations.
Be the parent your children can come to if they get exposed to something online. But, first, you have to have the type of relationship where your children know you won’t overreact before knowing the circumstances.
Another way we can teach our children to be tech-savvy is to consider why they want to surf the net.
Consider Why Your Child Wants to Post
Have you seen the movie The Social Dilemma? If you haven’t, I encourage you to watch it first alone and then with your children—if they are old enough to comprehend the message.
Knowing why your child wants to use technology or the Internet is valuable information. It helps your family make wiser decisions. I’ve talked to Google and Facebook sales reps at various conventions and was surprised to learn they don’t allow their children to use YouTube or social media until they’re older. Even then, they place restrictions on where they go, what they post, how much time they spend, and how mature their child is before giving them the permission. They know that even with all the parental controls and devices, children can still be at risk.
Whatever you decide for your family, be assured that others will disagree with you. I’ve seen friendships end because they don’t see eye to eye. It would be best if you led your children in a manner that is right for them, not because you might get questioned by others. Know your why and share that with care and clarity. Keep in mind, most of your friends and family want what’s best for your child too.
God wants us to teach and train our children. If not you, then who will? This is a phrase I told myself many times. If I don’t teach my children, others will, and I don’t know what those others would teach my kids.
Teach them to be wise and discerning. Share things that can be uplifting and inspiring. It’s our job to teach them to use technology for God’s glory. Then, we can slowly allow our children to use these tools with precision while avoiding the pitfalls.
In next week’s episode, I’ll continue the conversation on raising tech-savvy kids.
- Importance of Playtime for Children – ETB #76
- How to Keep School Kids from Being at Risk – ETB #78
- 3 Ways to Honor Parents – ETB #79
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