Are Smart Mobile Devices Raising Our Children?

kids-on-tablet

Everywhere I look these days I see kids with more and more smart mobile devices. In fact, today if a kid doesn't know how to use a smart mobile device thay would probably be teased. I know I probably have more than a dozen mobile devices in my home alone. I've always been a techie nerd. My parents are techies, and all my friends and family are techies. My wife's a techie, my kids are techies.  Technology is just part of everyday life for me as a father, youth minster, and consumer. I'm sure if you're reading this, you are a bit of a techie yourself. Whether you're a teen, a parents, or a grandparent, you have, to probably a great extent, been impacted by technology.

The problem I find myself in, is that technology, particularly smart mobile devices, have become a bit of an idol in my home. My kids 7, 5, and 2, all know how to unlock my smart mobile devices, choose whatever app they want to open, and play with it. My 7 year old can even navigate apps in the same way I can, and in some ways better than I can. Can you relate to me?  It's just so easy to let kids figure out the latest gagets, only to spend endless amounts of time "out of your grill." If you're like me, you have to be careful not to let your mobile devices spend more time with your kids than you do.  

By the way, I won't even go in into the danger of the material that most smart mobile devices let your children have access to.  That's a scary and chaotic world and deserves a whole blog post just about that. If you want to find out just how scary that world can get, go over my post, here, to get the reality about the dangers your kids face with high-speed internet accerss, and a smart mobile device.

On the bright side, Gena and I have only purchased mobile devices for our kids that are made for kids. So far those have been pretty successful in keeping the younger one's attention. But then, we got a powerful tablet, and started letting them use our smart phones at certain times.  We noticed that the kids started leaning away from the devices for kids, and obsessing over the tablets and smartphones.  Thankfully, Gena and I don't have any content on our phones (music, vidoes, photos, apps) that we need to hide from our kids. This has been a great thing to help our family stay accountable, and honest about what we teach as Christians. But, just because there's no pre-loaded negative content, doesn't mean our kids aren't susceptible to the dangers of mobile device parenting.

I'm guilty of letting mobile devices replace moments when I should be parenting my children. Consequently, we've seen some negative effects of these decisions. Therefore, I'm thinking long and hard about how much our children will be allowed to use smart mobile devices, and the ramifications of this decision over a long period of time. If I'm not proactive abvout it, the result won't be anything good. Let's think about those ramifications.

For starters, when your smart mobile devices raise your children, your kids:

  • social skills become handicapped and hi-jacked by a computer (texting replaces real conversation)
  • brains become wired for immediate gratification (unless you or your device goes broke)
  • satisfaction of your children is measured by internet speed, and battery percentage
  • become exposed to adult content much earlier than their minds are intented to
  • are at risk becoming victims of online predators, stalkers, and hackers
  • activities become much harder to monitor, therefore putting you at risk of negligent parenting
  • are physically impaired by overusages of devices, especially with their sleep

In conclusion, I really want to know what you parents with kids who are 21 or younger, have done to balance use of mobile devices by your children. My wife and I struggle with this conversation, so any advice is welcomed.  

My challenge to you is to share this post with your spouse, if you are raising kids. If not, then share this with someone who is raising kids.  None of us are perfect when it comes to parenting, so we should be  willing to help each other out, when raising our kids in this techie world. 

 

 

1st Day Of School – Its Ok To Not Be Ok.

 

1st Day Of School - Its Ok To Not Be Ok.

Today, my older two sons went off to their first day of kindergarten and 2nd grade. My wife went with them.  She came back from dropping them off, but a piece of her was missing. It was still with them at school. You see, our sons are both dealing with anxiety in different ways. My oldest son, internalizes it and lets a few tears drop, but he doesn't want to seem vulnerable. My second son just doesn't care. He tells you straight up he's not going, ahead of time. And then he makes you rip him from his car seat, and carry him in while crying those horizontal tears you see in the cartoons. This is the reason Gena didn't return in one piece. She couldn't fathom their suffering without suffering some herself. I commend my wife for taking on such a dreaded task, and seeing it through. 

Tomorrow, I get to take a stab at it. I'm one of those guys, where (for the most part) it's out of sight out of mind. So, pray for me between 7:50 am-8:00 am. That's when I'll endure whatever my boys throw my way with assertiveness. I'll do what it takes. After that, I should be ok. But, I have to remember to be more like her when I'm dealing with my children. Gentle, empathetic, and compassionate.  No matter how the boys leave my care, tears and all, they should feel loved. "Carry each others' burdens," takes on a whole new meaning when you watch a mother send her two sons off to the first day of school.

What's your back to school story?

A Message To Graduates

grads-2016

I was asked to give a message to the graduates for the MHS Baccalaureate this year. Yesterday I delivered that message. I had an adult female stranger come up to me afterward, and tell me that my message was spot on, and that I should publish it. I've never been asked to publish any of my sermons, so here it is. I omitted a few lines that only pertained to the live audience, but this version gets my entire point across:

All of you are on a journey that has intersected at the end of high school.
I’m so glad God has brought you to this point. Have you given him the credit?
Let’s do that right now. (prayer)

Every one of you have walked different paths with different choices and different people alongside you. Can you remember every choice and every person from your first 18 years? No, you can’t.

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Save Money Today with Groupon Coupons

Save Money With Groupon Coupons

Our family has been using Groupon for many years now.  We have saved big on vacations, recreation, concerts, sports events, and more.  Until recently, though, I did not know that Groupon Coupons existed.  Besides having a cool name, these things really can save you big on stuff you are already purchasing.

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A Threat To Virility: Time Is Not On Our Side

A Threat To Virility:  Time Is Not On Our Side

Just a week ago, Time® magazine published an online article entitled Porn, A Threat To Virility.  Today, their magazine has the article as the cover story, on this week's edition. Kudos to them for speaking openly on it to the masses. There are others who are not afraid to address porn directly for the calamity that it is. Those voices are few and far between. What I've noticed in America is that most preachers don't want to preach on it, and educators don't want to teach on it. Scientists don't want to speculate without enough evidence that pornography is hurtful to a consumer. And parents don't want to talk about it to their children. I won't be quiet about this. I've researched it, I've consumed it, I've taught on it, and I will be speaking about it with my children and my youth group and their parents. The evidence is crystal clear in my experience, knowledge, and in other's stories that I have heard.

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Take Time to Be a Dad Today!

Take Time To Be A Dad Today

Take Time To Be A Dad Today

This post has been sponsored.

I am so lucky to be a dad to three wonderful boys.  My life has been blessed by these hilarious little guys.  It is often hard for me to spend time with them, but I do the best that I can and it pays off.

Research has proven that the more involved a dad is, the more successful his children are. A father's influence can determine a child's social life, academic achievement, and future achievements.

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10 Life Hacks for Raising a Son

10 Life Hacks for Raising a Son

10 Life Hacks for Raising a SonNobody knows exactly how to raise their son. There is no instruction manual that comes with the birth of a boy. If someone ever tells you how you should raise your child without actually knowing your child, just glean what you can and move on. No two boys are the same. However, every male is born with a certain set of needs, and the potential to become a great man. 

Here are 10 life hacks I feel may help you in guiding your son through his first 18 years: They aren't easy, but they are worth it.

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Ten Signs That You Are a Dad of Boys

Ten Signs That You Are a Dad of Boys

Ten Signs That You Are A Dad of Boys

If you have sons, you can probably already tell where I am going to go with this.  Chances are, you have experienced most, if not all, of this list.  True fatherhood is messy….the messier, the better.  Our poor wives are outnumbered against the high levels of testosterone.  When you are raising boys, dull moments don't exist.  Here are just a few highlights of being a dad of boys.

1. The top of your fridge is covered with many long pointy toys that were used as weapons.  

dad of boys - weapons

2. Your daily chastises include the phrase: "that's inappropriate!"  

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Ministry, husbandry, fatherhood, and life choices.

I've chosen to be a full-time youth minister and I'm finishing up my 9th year making that my career. One of the most exciting parts about my job is that I get to go out and experience new things in the area and take people with me. Another cool aspect of my job is that I've learned many different life skills, using all kinds of new technology, and social media.  While I've chosen a career path that God has led me to, that doesn't mean my life is mine to control.  If you're like me, you realize that most of our life is out of our control. My hope is that I'll get to share some of the things that I've learned that make the controllable parts of life for you, easier. So, when the uncontrollable aspects of life seem to weigh you down, you aren't already stressed out with aspects you have control over. 

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Doin’ What It Takes?

DFWdad:  Doin' What It Takes?

What's going on? I don't know about you, but I live in north Texas, and it's been 105 degrees outside for 3 days straight. I gotta mention that because it's on my mind as I sit here in my 85 degree office this Monday afternoon.  "Monday" has a whole different meaning for me than for most working dads. Monday is my "day off." If you didn't know, I am a full-time youth minister for a church, so I get to pick my "day off." Why the quotes you may ask? That's because a "day off" with 3 children is a mirage. A "day off" with a 6, 4, and 1 year old, and 105 degree heat outside, is like being trapped in the book Lord of the Flies. It's like being a tiny salmon swimming up the Colorado river, with 3 bears clawing at you. Naw…not that bad. But I "escaped" from the island when mommy got home, so I could get this first post done. Hence, the tag line of the blog, "doin' what it takes."

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The owner of this blog, Ben, and his wife, Gena, are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.