Tweens, Teens, Technology and Temptation
Sounds like a sitcom or an afternoon “Soap Opera” title doesn’t it? But in reality it is the address or at least the intersection where all your students live today. They live in a technology saturated and dominated society. I am not trying to find a demon behind every bush, but I think we have to be alert to the temptations that can come with the benefits of connectivity.
Fascination with technology and entry into the market come early. I mentioned this in my earlier post “Four Responses to a Media Saturated Society” where I address the involvement of 2-11 year olds. According to an article by Dara Kerr for CNET:
One-fifth of third-graders own cell phones
A new study finds that 20 percent of third grade students have cell phones and 90 percent of them are online, while 83 percent of children in middle school have one. (Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57411576-93/one-fifth-of-third-graders-own-cell-phones/?tag=mncol;1n)
Many of the other social media habits of teens have been discussed in an excellent article by Jack Loechner entitled, “Teens Viewpoint on Digital Lives.” Loechner’s study reveals that that teens are: texting daily – 68%, visiting social networking sites daily – 51%, and sending or receiving tweets at least once every day – 11%, as just a way of life. In fact, he says, 34% of teens visit their main social networking site several times a day. Personally I think that some of these numbers are low and there are many students bordering on addition.
I am not suggesting that we unplug all technology and eradicate all social media. I realize some may think that is the answer and that it would protect our youth. However, sin has always found a vehicle to use; this is not the first and it will not be the last. If we get rid of all the vehicles, we will find ourselves back in the dark ages just simply committing sin in the dark.
What I am suggesting is that we be proactive as parents, pastors and leaders. Here are three simple ideas to help.
- Talk to your teens about the benefits and pitfalls of technology, pointing out the positive without ignoring the negative.
- Talk to your leadership team or other parents about ways to use technology to benefit your family and/or youth ministry.
- Talk to your accountability partner about setting up safeguards for yourself, as none of us are immune to temptation.