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How Do I Help My Family Navigate Technology in My Home?

Technology is one of those things in our lives that has become so commonplace we can forget what our life was like before we had it. How do we help our teens navigate the world of screens that is constantly before them? From computers, to smartphones, to tablets, to TV’s, the access to and uses of technology are only increasing so a big part of our job as parents will be to guide our families to use it wisely. The trouble is with technology changing and advancing so quickly, we as parents can feel too far behind.

Here are three simple ways you can begin now to lead your home well in areas of technology. 

  1. Modeling Healthy Use of Technology – Parents, let’s face it, we may be guilty of being overly consumed with our screens.  We may fall into many of the traps we should be warning our teens about and are afraid to bring it up to them as a result.  For as many parents I have heard complain about their teenager having their face buried in a screen, I have heard just as many comments from teenagers about how it is difficult to engage their parents when a screen is involved.  We must model a healthy approach for them.  Technology provides some incredible benefits for each of our families, but we need to demonstrate what it looks like to use it with wisdom and not be captive to our devices.

  2. Protecting In Person Interaction – We need to help our teenager develop relationships through face to face communication at every opportunity.  Our most meaningful relationships will come about as a result of genuine love and commitment to one another and you can foster these relationships by guarding your time with some “house rules” regarding technology.  Sometimes this involves setting up time limits for certain on screen activities.  Maybe for your family it means no screens at the dinner table.  Whatever works well for your family, set it early and adjust as needed in order to foster personal interaction.

  3. Maintaining a Healthy Perspective – It is easy to lose yourself in the vast amount of content you can take in over time. Maybe the conversation you should have in your home is how to build and maintain a healthy view of self and biblical identity. We can become so consumed with being in the know on the latest and greatest trend or how others react to us on social media that we let that drive what we do and how we think. We can become slaves to the opinions and approval of others and not realize it. Ask your teen how they keep a healthy perspective as they take in so much content using technology each day.

  4. Finding Ways to Unplug – Did you know that according to a recent study by Barna, over 90% of teens reported going to sleep with their phones.  Not only that, but this decision is causing them to get an average of one hour less sleep each night.  Do a quick google search and you can find articles in recent years of doctors suggesting that many issues of anxiety, fear,  loneliness, and even depression are being influenced by our teens lack of ability to disconnect.  We were created to have a rhythm of work and rest and this should be reflected both in how we utilize and unplug from technology.  Some families do this by charging devices in a family room or parents room away from their teen.  Unplugging keeps our teenagers from many of these dangers and sets up a good rhythm in their life moving forward.

If these are new ideas to you we encourage you to avoid storming the castle and grabbing your kids devices away from them.  Instead have a plan and process that will include intentional conversations between you and your teen.  Use these conversations and relevant research along with your love for them to guide them toward healthier habits.  You will want them to see the value of these habits so they continue when you are no longer watching over them.