Parenting in a Techy World
Ever-changing technology is both helping us and destroying us, so we need timeless principles and timely practices. The following outline and resources were taken from a workshop presented by Chris Autrey and Brian Jennings. You can view video of the workshop (presented in Tulsa) after March 6th (we’ll link to it here).
3 Big Ideas
1.Tech Companies don’t exist to be your friend.
2.Have a healthy relationship with tech.
3.Reduce the attack surface.
Parents, for the love of God, act like a parent.
“Too many parents are oblivious, gullible, or afraid to say no to their kids.”-Chris Autrey
Cyber-Dangers for kids
Cal Newport, the author of Digital Minimalism, wrote: “Smartphone addiction is what a psychologist would call a ‘moderate behavioral addiction,’ which means if you have it around, you’re probably going to use it more than is healthy.”
- Spiritual guilt and isolation
- Brain development
- Social Media
- Snapchat – made for sexting; developed into a platform for sharing that has nearly unlimited controls for searching elicit content
- Unfiltered web access
- Unfiltered app access
- Android – Porn distribution apps disguised as innocuous work apps
- Physical Dangers
- Online gaming leading to contact with predators
- Messaging apps
Have you handed your child a key to the porthole of pornography?
10 things any parent can do in the next week
- Change your own behaviors.
- Turn off all notifications to your phone – at least. Maybe delete them from your phone.
- Put your phone away for periods of time while at home.
- Talk to and pray with your kids.
- Schedule a time to talk to your kids specifically about this.
- Make it a recurring reminder on your calendar.
- Begin using the “7 things I pray for my kid in a sex-obsessed world” guide.
- Change your DNS settings.
- Get tech stuff out of their rooms.
- Lock down phones using built-in controls from Apple or Android.
- Set time limits.
- Block sites or, better yet, whitelist only ones you want them to be able to visit.
- Disable app installs without parental approval; do your research before clicking “OK.”
- Pay for a parental-control app like Qustodio.
- Use an AI-powered monitoring app like Bark.
- Schedule a fast from electronics for your family.
- Experts say you need a 30-day fast before rebuilding. Whew! Maybe a shorter time will do the trick.
- Rhythm of fasting from electronics as a family – in order to be together – 1 hour per day, 1 day per week, 2 weeks per year (this could be more or less depending on the age of your kids).
- Ask, “How can our family love God and love others this week?” Kingdom-living is more exciting, rewarding, and adventurous than anything the world can offer.
- Introduce new (or old) fun stuff to engage the minds and creativity of your kids.
7 things your church can do to help your people
- Preach Matthew 5:27-30 (and be ready to follow-up with practical help).
- Preach with lots of grace.
- Propel people to learn and do more.
- Get your church children and teens on board. They have the most to gain or lose.
- Brian covered this passage (and the passage on divorce) on February 10th. You can hear it here (hptulsa.com/media).
- Intentionally teach this or related material via parent breakfast, workshop, small groups, or even promoting our Facebook Live event on March 6th.
- You are welcome to adapt and use any of our material.
- Recruit people who can help you research and share the information.
- Promote it in your community. Almost every parent I talk to realizes that they need help.
- Plan times for groups, men, teens, or others to watch Heart of Man, which is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (The PG-13 rating is good advice.)
- Talk about redeeming social media for good. Plant a vision for your techies.
- Schedule a church-wide fast from social media. Get some early-adapters to commit before you launch it.
- Raise the bar for Scripture memorization.
- Practice times of silence or reflection in your worship services.
Heart of Man movie
Digital Minimalism article
7 things I pray for my kids in a sex-obsessed world (simple prayer guide and bookmark)
Review of parental control apps. Chris and Brian both use Qustodio because they’ve made some improvements. Finding the right app for you will depend on what devices you want to control.
Atomic Habits book
Chris and Brian will be presenting this material at a Facebook Live event on March 6th. You can view it from the HP Facebook page here. Your church is welcome to view and participate.
About the presenters
Chris Autrey lives in Sand Springs, OK with his wife, Aliesha, and two daughters. Chris has been a geek since he started writing software in 1986 when he got his first computer. For nearly 20 years, he has worked in the tech industry and currently works for Waterfield Technologies, where he leads an awesome team of developers building bots, apps, and other cool stuff for some of the biggest companies in the world. On Sundays, you’ll find him teaching creative Bible lessons and just generally being a goofball in the kids ministry at Highland Park Christian Church.
Brian Jennings lives in Tulsa with his wife, Beth, and their four children. He preaches at Highland Park Christian Church and serves on the boards of Blackbox International and Ozark Christian College. He enjoys reading, running, basketball, and coffee. You can learn about his books, Lead Your Family and Dancing in No Man’s Land: Moving With Peace And Truth In A Hostile World at brianjenningsblog.com.