Think before you answer that question.
Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
A few weeks ago, my daughter Sophia, said a girl on her Bible app asked for her phone number and she asked if she could give her her number.
I thought for a second…
I asked Sophia if she knew this person.
I had thought she was using her Bible app with her Life Group friends. She was – but as it turned out, other people can “friend” you on this particular Bible app, thus – this new “friend” asked for her phone number. This particular person had a super convenient Biblical first and middle name, and a young girl profile. And they had only become “friends” recently.
I asked Sophia to remove that app and not to use it again. Me and my husband Omar had a long talk with our older three about the internet and the dangers of the internet. We’ve had this talk before, but it was obviously time for an “upgrade.”
…that something so wonderful which can bring about so much good can also bring about so much evil. Our older children have phones, but they cannot do almost anything on it without our permission, and we are talking about a near 18-year-old, a 16-year-old, and our 13-year-old, Sophia. They cannot look up anything on the internet without our help. They cannot go on apps such as YouTube – at all – without our help. They do not have social media accounts. We are not trying to shield them from every evil in this world. We know at some point they will experience plenty of evils, but I believe it is my responsibility as their parent to not help that process by being careless with their exposure to the internet. I have no idea what decisions they will make when they become adults, but my prayer is that I help model good behavior of my use of technology so they can make good and wise choices as well.
Titus 2:5-6 “be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
I hope this is your…
goal for your children and yourself too; to be self-controlled. We need to be self-controlled in all areas of life – including technology.
Do you have any idea how much time you waste on technology?
Do you have any idea how your use of technology changes your behavior?
New research has shown that prolonged use of technology in children, teens and adults can produce less curiosity, lower self-esteem, lower self-control, inability to control emotions, and a great inability to complete tasks. (Reference: Rick Nauret, PhD, Psych Central News)
On your to-do list today, how much of it actually got done verses how much time you spent on your device? How much of your children’s activities were completed today verses how much time they spent on their devices?
Are you or your children happier when people “Like” your posts on social media? Do you find yourself upset when people don’t interact with your posts?
A teenager deleted her Instagram account because the wise teenager realized her entire happiness was wrapped up into people interacting or not interacting with her posts. She realized she was feeling inferior to people who seemed to have a happy life and being critical of those who were not doing the “right thing.” (Reference: Praying the Scriptures for your Children, Jodie Berndt)
Are you anything like this teenager?
During the school year, how many times do you or your children get sidetracked with schoolwork because of emails, texts, and other interruptions that you innocently brush aside and tell yourself you’ll get it done tomorrow – until tomorrow comes – and the same cycle is repeated?
According to a study by Yougov, research has shown that speech and communication in children has drastically changed in our culture today. Because of parents prolonged use of technology, parents are not spending the time needed talking to their children. (Reference: Rogers, Communication Time Bomb)
Is technology running your life?
1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
What are your goals?
Do you have goals for your homeschool journey and for your children?
Do you have tasks you need to complete for God but you’re not getting those tasks done because you’re spending too much time on technology?
Technology can be a good thing, but just like everything else in life; food, money, shopping, work..etc you must set boundaries. If you do not set boundaries, you will find yourself and your children miserable wasting away behind your TV and phones.
Here’s an idea…
Find ways to intentionally use technology for good.
For example, I started a prayer thread for our family.
I use this thread to posts Scripture or devotions for our family. This in no way takes away from our personal devotions together. (We usually have family devotions on a regular basis during dinner or breakfast.) But it’s one way to use technology for a good purpose.
We actually don’t turn on the TV during the day until after everyone has completed all schoolwork and/or chores. This means we do not turn the TV on when we wake up.
We also do not watch just anything on TV. We don’t watch TV shows. I know I might sound radical, but we don’t even watch commercials.
Sorry, not sorry!
Before becoming a believer of Christ in 2007, our oldest son (now 28) saw a commercial on TV when he was 13 years old which frightened him so much, he had to sleep in our room for a month. It was a commercial for a horror film. We are talking about a 30 SECOND commercial. Please DO NOT mistake the work of the enemy who wants you to live in fear which will hinder the work of God in your life!
So – we do not watch commercials and we do not simply have our TV on. Whatever we watch it’s very intentional and safe for our entire family to watch.
And – set boundaries for the time your children spend texting their friends. (And check their texts on a regular basis). Make an effort to go to the library or bookstore and ask your children to read books instead of looking at their phones. Take out board games and play with them.
We play card games with our children on a regular basis.
If you put down your phones and turn off the TV – you will see them, put down their phones and turn off the TV if you intentionally spend time together.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we struggle with this as well. We are not perfect. We try. We have many days and weeks where we get off base and allow technology to run our lives. Our family has to make an intentional effort all the time to get back on course. It’s okay if you are off course here and there. Do your best to get back on course. God will help you.
Ask yourself this question…
How can you honor God each day? Technology can be good – so make an effort to make it good. If you find that your use of technology for your family doesn’t bring honor to God, find ways for your family to correct it. If you can honestly say at the end of each day, you feel accomplished in the things of God – that’s a “Like” for you!
Ephesians 5:2-4 “and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
I know it might be hard to start a new habit but do your best by not allowing technology to run your life. You will be happier. Your children will be happier. Your marriage will be happier, and you will bring honor and glory to God.
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, send me an email and I will pray for you.