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.