Figuring out how to handle all the various technologies that kids are exposed to now is tricky. When I was a kid, we were pumped to play Oregon Trail, and that was in keyboarding class in high school. My parents didn’t have to create rules about screen time outside of the one TV we had in our house. Screens didn’t really exist beyond that. Now screens are everywhere, and parents of children have to decide how to create boundaries for their kids in this area.
Recently, I listened to this podcast that interviewed author Andy Crouch about his latest book, The Tech-Wise Family: Every Day Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place. I haven’t yet read the book, but the podcast was enough to make me want to look into it. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.
In the book, he lays out "Ten Tech-Wise Commitments" for parents to consider when creating tech boundaries for their family:
- We develop wisdom and courage as a family. [We need to be present for that, and technology often isolates and separates.]
- We want to create more than we consume. So we fill the center of our home with things that reward skill and active engagement. [Technology's ease can rob us of true skill development, stunting our growth and making us passive, unproductive consumers.]
- We are designed for a rhythm of work and rest. So one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year, we turn off our devices and worship, feast, play, and rest together. [We need to structure our time well and intentionally. We need true rest- not passive, consumptive leisure that tech so easily provides.]
- We wake up before our devices do, and they "go to bed" before we do.
- We aim for "no screens before double digits" [age 10] at school and at home. [Teaching kids to explore and find wonder in the world before giving them access to the "easy everywhere" of technology.]
- We use screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using them aimlessly and alone.
- Car time is conversation time.
- Spouses have one another's passwords, and parents have total access to children's devices.
- We learn to sing together, rather than letting recorded and amplified music take over our lives and worship.
- We show up in person for the big events of life. We learn how to be human by being fully present at our moments of greatest vulnerability. We hope to die in one another's arms.
Would love to hear what commitments or boundaries you have found helpful in your family with regards to engaging technology! Feel free to share what you’ve learned on the Mill City Family Life Facebook page!