Parenting in a digital world – part 1

Last Sunday I led a discussion with our middle school and high school students and parents about parenting and growing up in a digital world.  While I was preparing for the talk, I came across a ton of information and a sea of articles that dealt with this very topic.  Some came from a Christian perspective, some not.  The common theme that ran along all of the articles could be summed up this way:  We are in unchartered territory when it comes to technology and kids.  Parents are a bit frightened and unsure how the constantly advancing technological world influences their children.

With this tension of the unknown, it’s always comforting to know that the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus are our rock and foundation for thinking and living.  I hope we can learn how to rest in that through the turbulent waters of our day.  Through my very small study, I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you through a series of posts on this blog.  For those of you who were there at the meeting, some of this will be review.  For those who have younger kids or no kids at all, this is still something we need to be aware of since it deals with influencing the next generation.

The first principle we need to hold to is that technology is neither good nor bad.  Some of the immediate thoughts I get when I hear about the latest technological advancement is to cringe and hide.  I know I’m only 35, but I just wish things wouldn’t change so much.  When Facebook decides to reformat every 6 months, it’s madness for about 2 days with most posting how they wish it could go back to the “old” Facebook.  Some of you may wish for the constant onslaught of the new thing to stop, but we have to face reality.  It’s never going to stop, so we need to be ready.

I know that most of you wouldn’t classify technology as bad, but it’s not inherently good either.  It goes back to the old saying, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should”.  With the advancements of being plugged in at all times to the internet, entertainment, gaming, apps, news, etc., we’ve forgotten to apply any breaks to the content available to us.  We need to remember to filter everything through God’s Word.  The only problem with some of these issues is that there isn’t a “rules for the internet” chapter in the Bible.  Don’t fear though!  There’s so much in the Bible that gets to the heart of all these issues.

So if technology isn’t either good or bad, what do we do with it?  I’ve heard this from Mark Driscoll, who is a pastor in Seattle, and I’m not sure if it’s original with him, but he has a simple test that he puts to all things and it is this:  The Christian must receive, reject, or redeem.  My belief is that technology should be redeemed for the glory of Christ.  Through the technology available today, people can promote and pass along sin at a greater pace than ever before, but we can also share the gospel with people like we never have before.  We need to redeem technology.  It can be very dangerous, but it also can be used for God’s glory.

That leads me to my next post for another day.  Until then, check out these 2 articles, one from a Christian author and another from the New York Times.  I hope it opens your eyes to the challenge we have today.

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