Last night my husband and I watched the “Connect” documentary by Kirk Cameron, along with our kids. The documentary brought up many good points for us to consider as parents in an age where technology lets us constantly be influenced by the world and people around us, literally holding that influence in the palms of our hands.
This documentary was especially timely for my family because we just gave our daughters cell phones this year…something we thought we would never, ever do! It has been a learning experience for all of us as we try to set healthy boundaries and monitor how they use their phones. While they are not allowed on social media just yet, my husband and I are all-too-aware that it’s only a matter of time before they, too, will be perusing Instagram and Facebook and maybe even writing tweets of their own.
Cameron points out that when we give our child a cell phone, we give them a device they can hold in one hand that contains more technology than was used to put a man on the moon. Wow! He points out some of the dangers and ways that cell phone technology can be used for bad, but I love that he also points out how it can be used for good. He makes it clear that the solution to the risks and dangers of cell phone use is NOT to guard our children from technology and take it away from them. The solution is to get to the heart, in hopes that we can train them to use technology with wisdom and discernment.
We can better equip our children to navigate through our changing world by training them to guard their hearts, which will help them grow in wisdom and discernment that, Lord-willing, will carry them through their adult years.
So how do we teach our children to guard their hearts? One way is by teaching them to be aware of what they allow in their lives and how those things influence them. Encourage them to ask themselves the following questions:
What is my thought life like?
What do I spend the most time meditating on during the day?
What am I allowing in front of my eyes?
What kind of thoughts does that cultivate in me?
How does social media effect my mind?
Am I being influenced by others? If so, what is it about them that is having the biggest influence on my life?
Do all of my answers to the above questions honor God and show that Jesus is Lord over my life?
These are the things I want my children to be asking themselves. I hope to shepherd my children well, alongside my husband, training them to guard their hearts with all vigilance. As parents, we cannot control their every thought, move, word, etc., nor would we want to. We want to prepare them for the future when they will be responsible for making their own choices, without us there to guide them every step of the way.
And as Charles Spurgeon once said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, but make sure you go that way yourself.” Let us be asking these same questions of ourselves, and more! Many of us are on social media every day, and everyone we encounter on social media has a voice. We need to see each person we “follow” as a voice that’s trying to tell us something. What’s it saying? Here are some things for us parents to consider when we see those pictures and words scroll across our phones, tablets, and computer screens:
What is this person trying to tell me?
What’s my own opinion of this?
What does God’s word say?
Does this person’s words line up with Scripture?
Do my own thoughts and opinions line up with scripture?
What influence has this person had on my life so far, if any?
And finally, should I really even be following this person?
Dr. Kathy Koch, one of the experts Cameron consults with in his documentary, made a profound statement when she said that God is “not gonna rewrite the Bible for your generation.” So while we live in an age where technology makes it easier than ever to be influenced by the world, let us have Romans 12:2 written on our hearts to remind us: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Father, help us to be discerning people. Help us to filter what the world is telling us through the lens of Scripture. Give us self-control. Give us wisdom to use the minds you’ve given us for good and help us not to be so easily influenced unless it’s in a way that honors and glorifies You. In Jesus’ name, amen.