So the craziness is about to begin for the Borden family. We finally have a child that is in the double digits, Bryce turned 10 today! He just had his birthday party and got money from friends and family so now he must decide what does he do with all of this money, open a retirement and college fund, right?!?! Of course not! We are on our way to basketball practice when the statement, “Dad, with my birthday money I am going to buy a phone. I want the Samsung one.” Obviously one of his friends must have that one. He started naming friends that have phones.
I first took a deep breath and then said well I don’t think it is time for you to have a phone yet. I know some of your fiends have one but we are not doing everything the same way as other families, we have different rules and priorities. We talked about when he gets in 7th grade and is a teenagers he can get a phone. I quickly reminded him that he has an iPad so that gives him most of the capabilities he wants, (except looking like his buddies of course). It also led to a conversation about technology and how much we should use it and finding balance in life.
Alexandra and I went to a parent seminar called Screenagers and I wanted to share a few things from what we learned.
In an average day most students spend 6 1/2 hours looking at a screen. This may not include that the average teenage boy spends 11 1/2 hours during a school week playing video games.
Many students use social media and technology to build relationships. However, technology is a good tool to maintain relationships but not in building. The need of personal interaction and reading expressions in communication is vital to relationship building and growth. Students may feel they are growing closer but actually losing that relationship.
One final point is that there has to be clear guidelines to technology use, in particular with the phone. In the film the parent talked about the contract that they came up with that they had their teenager sign before they could have their smart phone. They realized that the contract should have been written together. In fact, how parents model being on their phones for work, personal, and fun usage trickles down to how the children will use it. Meaning if we are always on our phones for work or pleasure our kids will see and track how often they should be on them once they get them or as they have them.
So as a youth group we have a cell phone basket that we are giving every student the option of turning in their cell phone during class time so that they are not distracted and can do relationships and spiritual growth more effectively.
As a family here are some things that you can talk to your students about or think about as you raise your family:
Do you have a family dinner each day or certain times throughout the week? If so, are phones permitted or silenced and put away?
How much personal time (non-working hours) do you spend on your phone or other forms of technology?
Have you ever done a family fast from your phones and or other forms of technology? Could you go a whole day with no technology?
Technology is a wonderful thing if it is used properly and within proper boundaries and time allotment. Ask yourself, are you addicted to technology?