Our world has become a highly technological world where everything from education to refrigerators is operated through technology. How do we raise our children in this highly digital world? What do we do when the world can meet our child over a mobile device? No one before us has ever had to face the situations we face with our families and technology, and it is growing rapidly every day! Thankfully Andy Crouch, author of The Tech-Wise Family, gives great wisdom from a Biblical perspective, on how we can protect our family in this digital world.
Mark Matlock with the Barna Group interviews Crouch about his new book, and he shares some important tips that are in the book. Matlock points out the research that the Barna Group found is that 77% of parents think that it is more difficult to raise teenagers than when they were growing up. He asked Crouch what was found when these parents were asked why they think this is the case. “Almost two-thirds of those parents…say, because of the omnipresence of technology but what really makes it hard is that we are the first ones to deal with it. We can’t go to the wisdom of previous generations. There is no inherited cultural tradition. Even in the most expansive definition of technology, we are only 200 years into this story out of thousands and thousands of years in the human race. In many ways, we are 20 years into the real effect of technology in all of its ramifications. We are all just figuring this out as we go along.”
Crouch continues to share how young people, of course, are fascinated with technology and can figure it out quickly and in many cases, faster than adults. “We have this turning upside down of expertise where parents used to be the experts on the world. They knew how to operate in the world, and they could teach their children that. They (young people) are better technically, but they actually just like all the generations are absolutely adrift in how we manage this in a way that is healthy. None of us know how to do this; we all need help. So, I believe this is not just a parenting problem it is a human problem.”
Next, Crouch talks about how they asked kids what they wish was different in their relationship with their parents. The number one answer is they wish their parents would get off their digital devices and talk to them! He also gives some specific guidance, spiritual direction, on how parents can create an environment in their home not focused on technology. “Our power and our rule as parents are to set deep commitments in place in our family that actually show our kids what we believe life is about. So, the book starts with that. The deepest things families should be for is the formation of persons. Persons of wisdom and courage. I actually think the greatest threat technology offers to our family is that it promises to make life easy. When actually life in the family is meant to be hard. So, the very foundation of the book is not how to handle this or that app and this or that device; it’s how do we make our family a place where everybody knows that what we are about is pursuing wisdom and courage together.
“In the book, I talk about two things that are just never going to change for human beings, and that is space and time. So, time goes all the way back to the commandment of Sabbath. God’s people were commanded to have this rhythm of work and rest. Now our new devices say you don’t have to rest anymore; you can work anytime anywhere. But if you have a Sabbath mindset, you realize that is very dangerous spiritually and it does not seem like it’s what God made us for. God made us for rhythm of work and rest.”
How do we create this rhythm of work and rest in our lives? Crouch continues, “So we actually in our family have structured time, one hour a day, one day a week, and one to two weeks a year we basically turn everything off. The other thing we have done is we realized…what’s the oldest truth about human beings? We are created in bodies. We are made out of the dust. We are made of physical stuff, and something about that is essential to our human nature. We are not just brains; we are not just minds; we are not even just souls or spirits; we are actually in a body. Bodies move through space and the way you shape the space of your home really matters. What my wife and I decided to do when my kids were very small, we are going to put all the glowing things, the glowing rectangles, at the very edges of our house. They are not going to be at the center of our house, and if you come to our home and walk into the heart of our home, where we spend most of our time as a family, there is almost nothing technological visible. That is totally intentional…the various screens are at the edge. Instead, we filled the center of the home, the space where we spend the most time, with things that actually require embodied engagement.”
Crouch speaks about the fact how scary it is that most teenagers take their phones to bed with them. In the teen years, we need 8-9 hours of rest a night! “A rule in our house is that our devices go to bed before we do; we wake up before they do. Rather than going to bed with it then waking up rolling over and swipe to see what’s new, we put our devices to bed in this docking station in the kitchen. We all go to our bedrooms, and we have this beautiful blissful time where we are not acting like a device. The device can keep gathering email; I am not supposed to do that, I am supposed to rest from that. You need to help your kids have that discipline, I think.”
This is so much wisdom! Make sure to purchase his book to find out more wisdom HERE. Also, in our new book I Will Fight, Greg writes on the importance of rebooting our minds! You can find out more about our free book and order it HERE. What do you think about being a tech-wise family? We want to hear from you! Write to us at [email protected]. Greg and John shared in this segment.
Image courtesy of Storyblocks.com