Family · Fatherhood · Fatherhood & Faith · Parenting · The Husband

one practical tip on how we can teach kids to master technology rather than be mastered by it

So lately there’s been much talk in our home about technology — our 10 year old is bringing her own laptop to school and back!, uh oh, i know how this is unheard of in our era, but well…time’s changed and there’s a need for parents to educate children on how to master technology rather than be mastered by it.

Our tech-savvy Dad is shedding a light or two about how parents can use technology to shape our kids’ mind, and in the process, change culture rather than conform to it.

Here’s Part One of our technology talks…

Post by the Husband

In a world where there is a ridiculous amount of random content being thrown in the faces of our children, we parents need wisdom and discernment to shield them.

Our 10 year old now has a laptop – for school!

How do we protect her from the dangers of technology? Sure there are several things that come to mind :

1. Have the laptop in a public place in the home.

2. Safeguard the google search so that it restricts it from explicit results

3. Do not allow internet use without an adult being nearby.

4. Don’t allow social media/emails

There are also some practical things you can do on your IPhones/iPads:

1. For toddlers and younger children – You can press the home button three times quickly and it will lock your screen on the app you are on.

2. Turn off in-app purchases (under Settings – restrictions)

3. Turn off wifi 

Many of the newer modems will have a facility to limit wifi to certain times of the day and don’t forget to look at your manual for instructions. 

However, despite all the things we may try to do as parents, it is impossible to stop every possible entry point.

What about when your kids are at friends’ houses? Or at family member’s homes?  Or perhaps kids at school who want to lead others astray?

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One of the most amazing things about technology these days is that the average person is able to create content.

This is wonderful as it means we can teach our kids to create content rather than mindlessly consume them. This reverses our human’s tendency to passively receive, and instead, laboriously create.

They can be creators, not merely consumers.

Before YOUTUBE became a behemoth, the idea of it was that anyone in the world could be on “TV”. So the likes of Kevjumba, Justin Bieber and others had an avenue to express their talent. An avenue that never existed before.

Fast forward 10 years and we now have 4K video recorders in our hands in the form of smart phones.

I believe then that it’s important not to merely shield our children from nonsensical and immoral content on the Internet, but also to shape their minds by teaching them how to filter information on the Internet.

Creating content gets them involved to understanding the processes behind these Internet messages, and thus develop their critical thinking. This is far better rather than mindlessly absorbing every media material.

When a movie like the “Lego Movie” has everyone singing the catchy tune “Everything is Awesome”, it’s easy to get lost in the sheer entertainment value of what is presented. What may be lost in translation though is that every movie is teaching our children SOMETHING.

In the Lego movie for instance, the idea is that you can’t truly be happy if you’re doing what other people tell you to do, and that it’s important to “be yourself”.

There are certainly elements of truth in that idea, but it’s not entirely biblical if taken to the extreme. If you really think about it, the father in the movie could represent “god”. This “god” determines where people live and stops them from travelling to other lands. Sure Will Ferrel isn’t exactly divine, but in the movie he is the ultimate authority who finally changes his mind and allows his son to mix up the lego sets together. 

In all honesty, I’d prefer not to mix up my lego sets. Does that make me a bad father? Do we really have to use Lego City bricks combined with Lego Batman bricks to make random looking batmobile-policecar-spaceship hybrids in order to find true happiness?

It may sound trivial to analyse a movie as seemingly benign as the Lego movie – but after hours of bombardment with various messages from video games, YouTube, Netflix and apps, children are being taught all sorts of things.

Without critically looking at the information, they will innocently absorb all these messages.

Tonight, my two older kids (6 and 10) got super-excited about writing a book together with me. It’s probably going to be a rather silly book and we realise that none of us really have a lot of drawing talent so we’ve nominated the girl to work on that side of things.

Writing a book together will get us thinking about what we’re really trying to communicate to the world. Even if it’s just for “entertainment”, what will the book ultimately  teach people? These are the questions that I’ll ask them as we start this project.

I’ll update you all as we go on this process and hopefully have a little book to share with you and your children shortly.

Some other ideas for content creation would be :

1. Shoot a movie

2. Write and record a song

3. Make a comic book

4. Create a computer game (a really simple one!) – Scratch Junior on iPad is free and object based.

Stay tuned for more posts to come!

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