The world of technology that this generation is growing up with, means, by default, the responsibility of pioneering the way for technology savvy parenting falls on my generation. (Remember trying to have a “private” phone call, when the phone was attached to the kitchen wall?!)
Parenting tweens in every generation was sure to have its set of challenges, but I am beyond excited at the specific issues we get to help our children navigate through in today’s day and age. What a challenge and a privilege!
As the world gets darker and darker, and sin becomes more and more prevalent (and in some cases easier to entertain given the devices our kids own),
we get to nurture and train our children to have a real, life-giving, vibrant relationship with Jesus, steering them to develop healthy, wholesome boundaries in managing themselves.
Philippians 2:15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
Being a tech savvy parent, means creating a framework for my kids to learn and become responsible within. My job is to set them up for success. Handing them a cell phone, giving guidelines, and then checking in once and a while, is not setting them up for success. Here’s what that framework looks like for us.
Create a safe environment
I love creating a safe atmosphere for my children to fail, as they learn to grow in responsibility. Yes, I said fail.
For example, something as simple as the 30 minute daily screen time limit, provides an opportunity for them to show responsibility. Are they tracking their usage? Do they wait for mom or dad to call time? Do they sneak in extra time behind my back? When they fail in this, it’s my responsibility to explain the importance of developing self-control, always training them in the bigger principle at work. Are they managing themselves and their time well? Then we’ll discuss possibly increasing that time limit.
Have technology work for you
Along with encouragement, accountability, and follow through of consequences when necessary, why not learn the capabilities your child’s device has that will help break them into the responsibility of being connected to the outside world? Passwords to protect them from viewing things they aren’t ready to navigate, time limits that shut down apps when time is up, sharing accounts for various social functions, are just a few ways to break them into such a hefty responsibility gently, while allowing you to keep close tabs during the process.
By doing this, I am laying the groundwork in my tween’s life to responsibly manage her electronics (and herself) as she gets older.
Cell Phones are not my child’s right
Just because “everyone else has a cell phone”, doesn’t mean they need one. I can’t even imagine handing an older teen a cell phone, when they’ve not had the experience of proving themselves on something like an iPod first!
Each parent has the responsibility to parent their children how they feel is best for them. I, for one, will not be pressured to have my children keep up with what the trends are. My child only needs to be exposed to content that is too mature for them once, for their innocent souls to be damaged. Protecting them is far more important to me than keeping them happy.
My prayer is that this next generation grows up to be passionate, well-rounded adults who will change their world with the truth of Jesus’ love. Navigating the technology now is just one part in positioning them for the incredible future God has for them.
What are your guidelines for your child’s iPod/cell phone usage? Share your tips by commenting below. We can all use some creative insight as we journey the parenting process together!