Just yesterday I was talking to students about phones that hung on the wall and a life without the internet. Many can’t fathom such a life. When I tell my kids they can’t play on my phone they default to “I’m soooo bored! There is NOTHING to do!” It makes we want to scream. There are so many more edifying things that they could be doing. So many things that could help them grow mentally and spiritually. Is my 8 year old addicted to technology? After one such “I’m sooo bored” incident I said to my wife we needed to go on a technology fast. She looked at me and said “I agree, but you have to participate as well.” The excuses flooded into my mind as to why I couldn’t. Why it would be next to impossible for me with my job. But what would I be teaching my kids? You do this, but I don’t have to. You follow these rules, but I don’t have to. Do as I say not as I do.
But maybe the worry shouldn’t be so much about them being addicted to the screen. Although, as Jonathan McKee notes in “Should I Just Smash My Kids Phone?”, “A few years ago the journal Pediatrics released a sobering report about sexual content in media, and they recommended parents not only limit screen time, but that they remove all screens from their kids’ bedrooms. It’s not that screens are all bad, but in the isolation of a bedroom and late at night, screens were just offering too many distractions. No TV, no computer… no screens.” Well… now two-thirds of teenagers have one of these in their pocket—this is a screen.”
Not only are screens offering too many distractions, what are kids doing with technology? What sexual content are they being exposed to? Ever heard of the FaceBook app “Bang With Friends”? “The concept is simple. People download the Bang with Friends app, and then it lists your Facebook friends of the opposite sex. Click if you’d like to “bang” them. It’s completely anonymous. No one ever knows… unless they happen to install the app and select you as bangable too… then Bang with Friends connects you together.”
I wish I was making this up. But I’m not. If you’re a parent, you should read each of these articles and take them to heart. Things like “SmartPhone Safety Nets” need to be put in place. If you’re not talking to your kids about what they’re doing on the internet, or the apps on their phone, who knows what they could be dabbling in…some without even knowing it. Take this mothers story for example. Don’t be an ostrich. Get involved in your kids life before somebody else does.