by Aaron Strawn/ January 29, 2015
I recently started a new position. One of the questions they asked me was what kind of computer I wanted. I wanted an iMac. Two weeks later, it arrived on my desk—fresh, clean, no corn chips in the keyboard. I powered it up and thought, Nice, brand new, hot off the pre——bloop! A twitter notification: “Apple Releases Newest iMac.” Come on! That’s how fast technology is cycling: Here today, gone today!
As parents, we have to realize that this is how it is now. Look, technology has made life more fun and interesting. Remember how boring it used to be at the DMV? Not anymore—my clan will crush yours any day! We are plugged in all the time, and so are our kids. There’s no reason to hide from it or run away from it or even be scared. Because just like anything, you learn what it is, how it functions, the good, and the bad. And just because there is bad doesn’t make it evil.
Technology can bring lots of good. Like I mentioned earlier, tech has made life fun and easier. Reminders on my phone help me to not miss appointments, and I can honestly tell you I have maybe two phone numbers memorized. My phone stores all the other numbers. I use the flashlight feature almost daily on my phone, along with games, productivity, receipt tracking, video editing, and just vegging at night watching funny videos on YouTube. The reason these devices are not going anywhere is that we love them.
It all comes down to educating your kids to use technology in a safe way. The best way is to be open and honest with them. I have a four-year-old daughter. If she asks me why I tell her to stay out of the street and I reply, “because I said so,” that’s not being open and honest. I explain to her the danger of being on the street. I tell her that if she were to run out there she could get really hurt or worse. Take the same approach when teaching kids about tech use.
If your kid has opened up a brand new tablet or iPod for Christmas or another special occasion, talk to them about using it safely and responsibly. Discover the fun things on it. Let them show you things they’ve discovered. But also let them know that there are things out there, just like with anything, that try to ruin the fun. There are parental controls you can and should enable to protect your children. As they mature, keep the conversation open and ongoing about their online activity. Help them understand why it’s important to protect themselves online. If we teach our kids to continue to keep God first in their life, while also modeling and guiding them to make wise choices, we give them the opportunity to enjoy all of life’s blessings–including technology.