Why Your Child Doesn’t Need a Smartphone
- Megs with Carrie Dedrick Writer and Author
- 2017 1 Feb
The dangers outweigh the practicalities of entrusting a child with a device that many adults struggle to use safely and appropriately. Parental guidance is at risk of being trumped by the smartphone unless we put a foot down.
1. Our society is addicted to smartphones.
The hardest part of parenting is teaching our children things we have not yet mastered. Jesus said: “I am the bread that gives life. If you come to My table and eat, you will never go hungry. Believe in Me, and you will never go thirsty.” (John 6:35)
The only healthy addiction we are hardwired to foster is our relationship with God, through our walk with Christ. “I am,” present tense, is all we need. Yet a glance around a full room full of people looking down at a screen instead of each other illustrates the search for happiness elsewhere.
Scientific facts tell us the same chemical released when we partake in age-restricted activities like smoking, drinking alcohol, gambling, or drug use (not that I would advocate for any of those things) is also released when we use cell phones and social media.
Equipping our kids to live outside the confines of their wireless network allows them to participate in reality, and depend on the One in whom we truly find joy.
2. Parental controls can’t control everything online.
Kids are obsessed with bodily functions (at least mine are). Given access to Google, it’s not hard to guess what their curiosity will lead them to type into that blank box, and there’s little worse than fielding questions from a youngster about something their little eyes witnessed before ours.
“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14)
Jesus gave us a living, breathing example of how to treat children, and each other, when He welcomed all of us to be close to Him.
How can we guide our children through conversations and shield them from adult ones when we aren’t close enough to whisper in their ear? Remember, it’s impossible to go back and block something that’s already been seen.
3. Your child may be in danger.
Technology can be used for evil. In fact, it is used for evil all the time. As parents, we must face a hard reality that the person on the other end of a message might be another innocent 12-year-old… or it could be a child predator.
When you give your child a smartphone (or any other device that can download apps), you are putting your child at risk. In a technology-driven world, it is unrealistic to think that your child will never use a smartphone. So start teaching your child how to use technology safely before the cell phone is in her hands.
4. You might not be aware of what they are posting.
Did you know there is an app that allows uses to post their darkest secrets online anonymously? (It’s called Whisper.) What about an app that sends texts and photos without being seen in the phone history? (That is the Kik app.) Finally, have you heard of Poof? That app can hide the icons for other apps that your child might not want you to see.
We want to believe that our children know better than to use apps like these (and there are hundreds more that can lead to deviant behavior), but that is not always the case. Kids are impressionable and can easily be swayed by peers to post something inappropriate. And the internet, for all the good it has done in society, has one fatal flaw: You can’t take those posts back.
5. It’s valuable for education, but use caution.
Technology can be a great aid to a teacher--there are some truly incredible apps out there for educational purposes--but shouldn’t replace his/her connection with students. In the same way, parents need to model technological responsibility is by setting a good example to follow… that means making eye contact instead of gluing your eyes to a screen.
Ultimately it’s your decision if you permit your child to own a smartphone. Just remember, no technology can ever substitute a nurturing parental embrace. Guiding them, arm in arm, through the good and the bad of life illustrates unconditional love. And parental love is the building block upon which they have an opportunity to witness a glimpse of the Father that will never fail them, even if we do.
Please pray with me:
Father, we praise You for capturing our souls attention more than any piece of technology. Thank You for blessing us with the privilege to walk alongside our children as they merge into the informational overload of society. We confess the times we have let Your voice become muted by distraction, and pray that You bless our hearts to seek Your voice above the noise as we help our children tune in to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Megs is a stay-at-home mom and blogger at http://sunnyand80.org, where she writes about everyday life within the love of Christ.
Carrie Dedrick is an editor of Crosswalk.com. When she is not writing or editing, she can usually be found teaching dance classes, running marathons, or reading with at least one adopted dog on her lap.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: February 1, 2017