Screen-Smart Families: How to Navigate Technology in a Media-Drenched Culture
Last night my husband and I watched an 80's movie with the kids. We couldn't wait to introduce them to one of the films we loved growing up. I was the same age as my daughter is now when this particular movie came out. It's old school and analog, and I couldn't help but feel a bit nostalgic with each scene that included a walkman, cassette tapes, and black and white fuzz on the TV screen. Oh how far we've come . . .
I'm thankful for the technological progress we've made but it definitely comes with a price.
Over 30 years after some of our favorite childhood movies hit the big screen, today's parents are trailblazers in a new technological age. Gen X and Millennial parents are the first to manage a whole new world of media and technology with our kids and many of us feel overwhelmed or completely at a loss on how to approach this large task that we face every moment of every day.
It is our goal to encourage and support families as they navigate life as we know it right here, right now. We understand the challenges facing parents in this day and age and we hope to provide helpful resources that promote a positive, faith-filled lifestyle. We offer a safe, family-friendly media platform for kids but we're also committed to joining parents as they guide their family in our media-drenched culture.
To that end, we've put together this series to help you navigate technology in your home and family. We hope it will arm you with encouragement and inspiration to become a Screen Smart Family! We understand that at times (like when school's out) kids are drawn to TV screens and other devices so we'll be addressing various types of media and screen-related challenges to help you establish healthy boundaries for your kids and family that can last all year long. We're pulling from the collective wisdom of many of our well-respected bloggers, offering over 100 years of combined parenting experience, largely within our current culture.
Here are the topics we'll address this month:
Before we get started, we want to encourage you to first pray and ask God how he would have you approach media and technology for your family. Only you, your spouse and God know the unique circumstances of your family situation. So trust his guidance and your own instincts. With that said, we also believe in the power and wisdom that comes when we counsel with those who have gone before us. So we'll be sharing stories and tips from different moms to help you create your own family strategy for managing media and technology. We pray you'll discover helpful principles to guide your process.
As you follow along the Screen Smart Families series, keep these things in mind:
- Every family needs a plan. In order to be screen smart, you need to plan ahead. Kids thrive when expectations are set and boundaries are in place. Spend time putting together a plan and clearly communicate it with your family. Take notes as you read each post this month and discuss them with your spouse to come up with your own family media plan.
- No two families are alike. What works for one may not work for you. Depending on your unique family culture, you probably have different needs than another family. Don't worry if your plan looks different than your friends or neighbors' as long as it works for you.
- Be consistent but flexible. Consistency is key so kids know they can't push the boundaries of technology. But I've talked to many parents who thought it would be one way and had to adjust to unexpected circumstances. Create a strategy that allows you to be consistent with your kids while remaining open to adjusting the plan as needed.
- Talk about it. While it's true that kids just need to trust and obey their parents' guidelines, you'll grow a deeper relationship and greater respect if you communicate openly and talk things through as a family. Let your kids know your goal is to protect them and help them establish healthy habits. I always say, "I'm not trying to ruin your fun. I'm trying to protect you from a world full of evil and help you grow into a responsible human being."