May 6, 2022
Technology – Teaching Our Children How to Navigate a Screen Obsessed World
Our children have never known a life without the internet, cell phones, commercial-free cartoons, and access to information at the touch of a screen. It’s clear that our world is digitally driven and that technology is here to stay, so how do we teach our children to set healthy boundaries and use it wisely?
Use Technology To Learn And Connect
At VCS, technology is a distinct part of my vision for instruction. With our computer labs, 1-to-1 tech platform in middle and high school, SMART boards, growing robotics program, and learning management system, we have the ability to provide technological tools for our students that help them excel. Additionally, we other technology resources, such as 3D printing labs. I firmly believe that technology is empowering our students with better tools to learn and the opportunity to connect with God’s world.
If you walked into my office, you’d see a laptop, another computer, three monitors, a SMART board, and a smartphone. I love technology, as it allows me to be much more effective as an educator. Did you know, however, that an increase in smartphone use among teens in the U.S. is correlated with a decline in teen happiness? Click here to read more on this topic from the L.A. Times. I believe there is a time and a place for technology, and setting boundaries will support our children’s moral, spiritual, and social development. We know that connecting with people in real time and having physical activity is crucial to the growth and development of our children. Being proactive and intentional about technology usage is critical to the well-being of your child and your family. How do we teach our children to use it well?
Teach Them How to Use Technology
The amount of tech and screen time your child(ren) has access to should be determined by their age and development level. As children grow older, parents ought to focus on how the intentional use of technology can help our student(s) morally, socially, and spiritually. If our purpose as parents is raising Godly, independent young men and women in a technology driven world, we ought not to only keep our children from technology, but teach them how to use it. Here are a few ways you can be intentional with technology use:
Consider creating a “contract” with your child(ren) regarding the use of technology. Here is an example from author Kristen Welch (who wrote, “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World”) you may want to consider: Technology Contract Example.
For younger children, use technology to be intentional and connect with loved ones. Let your child FaceTime with Grandpa or Grandma, send a video to a cousin, or write a kind email to a teacher.
Here are some resources as you consider learning more about how to navigate healthy use of technology in your home:
- Podcast – All Things VCS, with Ben Davis (including a series on technology and your kids)
- (Our fall 2021 school-wide book study) – Andy Crouch’s book, “The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place”. You can find it on Amazon here:
- Gary Chapman’s book, “Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World”. You can find it on Amazon here.
But Technology Does Not Come Without Risks
Smartphones and computers are wonderful tools that help us learn, grow, and manage our lives, but please remember, it does not come without risks. Make sure to have important conversations with your children about the dangers of the internet. I recommend that all parents choose a tool to safely monitor their child’s technology usage and block certain apps or websites that could be harmful. In many intentional, Christian homes, there is a simple rule – if I can’t track what you do on the screen, you can’t have the screen. Here are a few articles that provide control software ideas for your child’s online activity:
What Are We Doing at VCS?
At VCS, we embrace technology during instructional time in a way that drives excellence and innovation in our academic program. Otherwise, our youngest students all the way through middle school have specific, intentional boundaries with tech that is designed to create safe, healthy practices and emotional development. I encourage parents to support similar practices at home, which not only support children’s social / emotional development, but will also create space for reflection and a deeper walk with God.
Vacaville Christian Head of School