Confession time. I love my smart phone. I don’t know what I ever did before I succumbed to the cult of iphone. Remember having to CALL the theater to find out what time the movies were showing? How bout taking down meticulous directions to your friend’s house or that new restaurant? Did your mother always nag you about having change for the pay phone at the mall so you could call when the movie was over? I LOVE not having to worry about any of that! I love being able to reach my kids and wife during the day if needed. I love that students can communicate with their parents when we are on our way home from a student ministry trip. ALL those things are great. EXCEPT… the distraction they become during homework time, meal time, chore time, family time… etc. Want a great resolution for 2015,
3) Become a Family that Masters Technology.
I know, you are already hearing much weeping and gnashing of teeth at the thought of overcoming tech addiction and that may just be your reaction. Wait until you tell the kids. In order for technology to work for you and not you for it, you and your family must master it’s deceitful ways. Just because you can connect with people 24/7 doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can tweet your thoughts on all of life’s activities doesn’t mean they care. Just because you can be reached doesn’t mean have to be reached.
Try these out:
1) Become a tech Jedi. It’s not hard these days. A youtube video or two. Couple of web searches and you can become a tech Jedi. You can wield the power of parental locks on your teens’ phones. Receive copies of their emails, texts and other online communications and download histories, or track them via GPS. Use all of it! Set limits, make rules and check up. As Yoda would say, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
2) No tech at mealtime. I don’t care if you are sitting down with the fine china, or Chick-fil-a-ing it for the third time this week, no one picks up a piece of technology during mealtime, ANY mealtime. It’s already hard enough to communicate as a family don’t let the small widows you have close on you because of technology. Sad thing is, in my family I had to make this rule because of me- not the kids.
3) Cage the beasts. One new thing we are initiating this year in our family is a technology charging station in our kitchen. We are doing this to create a safe and useful place to cage our technology when we don’t want it interfering with what we are trying to do as a family. The main culprit is often bedtime, so phones will be on the charging station before they head upstairs for bed. Charge them during mealtimes. Charge them while family is over for a visit. Charge them during game night, movie night or clean up time. Whenever we want everyone’s undivided attention we will sentence our technology- tablets too- to detention at the charging station.
These gadgets are so awesome. I love the ease of communicating with my parents and brother who live out of state. I love the Bible app and scripture study tools. But the longer we go on without keeping our tech in check the tighter the grip it places on us. I don’t think I have to convince you that that’s not healthy. For you or your kids. Good luck mastering your technology!