I don’t remember where I found these words, but I had pasted them in an old journal and came across them recently. I attended a seminar at Furman yesterday on the topic of “Children and Technology” so the quote feels appropriate today.
There were many slides and stories on how addiction to technology wreaks havoc on individuals and families. I didn’t really need convincing beyond the first few minutes of all the ways children are being affected negatively, but the speaker kept on with the bad news so long that I turned to my friend sitting next to me to ask whether she thought he’d ever give us the good news on how we could make things different in our own families.
Toward the end of the presentation came a couple slides with “Recommendations for Parents.” None of them were amazing new insights or things I hadn’t heard or read elsewhere. But it was good stuff to be reminded of, nonetheless. The seminar ended with a Q&A time, which ended up feeling like a parent support group. Hearing others’ stories, both successes and failures, and knowing I am not alone in my desires, left me feeling hopeful. I don’t feel like I’ve lost my children to iPads, phones, or the internet, and I’m determined not to lose myself either.
The seminar spurred my thinking and led me to ask myself many questions, which are sometimes just as helpful as answers:
Can I function for some hours of the day without my phone?
When does dependency become addiction?
What behavior am I modeling for my children?
Do they ever feel my phone or my computer is more important than them?
What are worthy goals for our children and their use of technology?
What is our responsibility to our children and how will we protect them?
What does one child need versus what does another child need?
Where will our kids find their identity?
Where do I find my identity?
What can our family do to temper the “age of immediacy” effect that technology is having on us?
What is permissible, but may not be helpful?
I am so thankful I was able to attend the seminar yesterday. More than anything, I left with a desire to engage in this conversation with other couples that TJ and I are close to and with whom we are trying to raise our children.