Tech Tip 7
With this, our final tech tip in this series, my prayer for you and your family, for my family, would be that we would treasure Christ above all else and that the use of technology in our homes would become a reflection of our relationship with Jesus.
I know that a battle rages daily within me about who/what will be given the throne of my heart at any given moment. I pray that Christ would increasingly be given that throne and any other “treasures” (technology, money, material things, etc.) would increasingly fall to the wayside. I pray the same for you.
I love this Tolkien quote. We’ve been talking all summer about taming the technology beast so I think this quote can apply to how we approach technology in our homes, particularly as the school year approaches. Making a plan for how we will use technology and what place it has in our homes will contribute to families that make relationships a priority and in which technology can be put in its proper place.
This week as we turn the calendar from July to August, we will start the transition to a school year schedule at our house. We will begin to have earlier bedtimes and earlier wake up times so that the first few weeks are not such an abrupt change. I’ve also been thinking about what to do about technology in the fall since that has been a hot topic this summer. For the first time this year, our son will have a chrome book that will be used for school so more of his assignments will involve a screen. So what guidelines would be good to think about ahead of time? Here are some possible ideas and things we’ve talked about at our house:
- Make a plan ahead of time about what technology use will look like during the week and on the weekends. Determine how much “fun” screen time your child will get per day or week and make a plan about when that screen time can happen. For example, perhaps your child can have one hour of screen time per day, but only after homework, music practice, chores, etc. are finished for the day. Write out your plan on paper, meet together as a family, and talk about the expectations for technology use prior to school starting. Once school gets underway, re-evaluate the plan and make any adjustments as necessary.
- Make a weekend technology plan. Will you allow extra time on the weekends? If so, how much? Will certain chores or homework need to be completed before screen time? Will there be a limit to how much texting with friends happens? Write down the expectations on paper!
- Last year we watched our son do his homework with his cell phone nearby. An assignment that could have taken 30 minutes stretched into an hour as every time he received a text, he stopped, read it, and responded. This year one of our expectations will be that his homework will be completed without his cell phone in the room. We are hoping that homework time will be more efficient and therefore bedtime can be earlier.
- I know of parents who sit down each Saturday or Sunday to look ahead at the week’s schedule to coordinate rides, pick-ups, meals, etc. Perhaps an intentional part of a meeting like this could be to schedule times that are specifically “tech-free” connection times for your family. I know for our family, if we are not intentional about putting things on the calendar, we can often default to mindless activities that leave us unfilled and disconnected. I would like to be committed to scheduling game nights, work nights, etc. that are “tech-free” activities with the hope of building relationships within our family.
- Make a stack of books to read for members of your family. Instead of defaulting to an evening of kids gaming and parents working on the computer, what about a family reading night? Right now, there is a stack of about ten books in our living room for our son to read. When his older sister was home about two weeks ago, she tired of our son saying “there’s nothing good to read in this house” so she went to our library and pulled off ten of her favorite books and told her brother to start reading. It’s been fun to watch him pick up a book and sit and read rather than automatically default to technology. I know I have a stack of books I want to read, so designating an evening where that is the planned activity would be a relief for me!
As a reminder, these tech tips are not meant to be a “to do” list of items that measure our success as parents, but as a means to put technology in its proper place under the Lordship of Jesus as we seek to treasure Jesus personally and in our families.
As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 103: 15-19