Igniting Young Minds

Now What? With Technology in Hand, Should You Consider Limiting Your Child's Screen Time

By Dr. Cy J. Smith

September 15, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now What?  With Technology in Hand, Should You Consider Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time?

 

Whether your child is in preschool or high school, it is likely that they are using advanced technology at school.  All of our students in grades 3-12 were given a Chromebook (laptop computer) this year to use every day – it is theirs to use at home and on the weekends as well.  Even the youngest students are using Chromebooks, iPads, Zooms, and other electronic devices at school during the day.  

The advances in technology have been incredible for schools.  Not only is the world’s information readily accessible for any question students may have, it is presented in a way that is visually appealing, entertaining, and often, more effective for long-term memory.  There is no doubt that technology can aid in both teaching and learning, and if used correctly, the educational experience can be improved dramatically for students of this generation. 

 Yet, as parents, should we be concerned about too much screen time for our children?  Are there potential side effects to the technology that could be harmful?  Indeed, we have heard it said, “While technology can be a wonderful servant, it can be a terrible master.”  Dr. Kathy Koch, author of, Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World, advises parents that limiting screen time has value in combatting some of the “lies” that technology holds for children today, such as:

 

  • I deserve to be happy all the time – unfortunately, technology has taught children that there are no obstacles to their happiness that cannot be removed, and because technology makes things easier, students may struggle to persevere.
  • I am my own authority – technology offers no clear standards of right or wrong and without proper direction from a parent or Christian adult, many kids are making their own decisions. This confuses children and the results of poor decisions can be very harmful.
  • I don’t need teachers, I have information – students may dismiss the wisdom and direction from teachers because they think information is all they need, and they can get that on their own.

 Using new technologies in the home and classroom certainly has educational value, but limiting screen time to better understand the things that God values is a move parents should strongly consider.  For example, we must:

  • prioritize joy over happiness because happiness is not guaranteed in life,
  • model and teach emotional resilience so they can persevere when they make mistakes or don’t get their way immediately,
  • help them see that God’s boundaries are because of His love for us and that His authority is designed to protect us, and
  • help them understand the difference between information, knowledge, and wisdom.

 These are just a few of the reasons why limiting screen time to help students understand the challenges of using personal technology is an important part of their education. There will be wonderful times of accelerated learning this year, and there will be disappointments.  The lessons of technology to be both taught and learned are too vast to be done alone – both the home and school need to be on the same page so that our children will use it in a Christ-centered way. 

 Another excellent resource is, The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, by Andy Crouch. 

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