Kids and Technology (Finding the Balance)

Kids and Technology

Can I play Minecraft on the ipad?

Lydia wants to know if she can do Starfall on your computer?
Can we play Wii for 15 min.?
Can I text Anna back because she asked a question?
After dinner can we watch a show tonight?
David asked if I can follow him on Instagram?

My nightmare.
Well, one of them anyway.

There are times when I’d love to just get rid of it all.
There’s a reason I returned the iphone my husband bought me a couple of years ago.
I have a definite love-hate-relationship with technology and all things screen-ish.
And yes, I get the irony of sharing this in a post as I type away staring at a screen.
My tendency would be to bury my head in the sand and just wish it’d all go away.

But—there has to be a balance—right?
And that’s part of our job—
To help our children find the balance and to help them learn how to keep it,
To help them learn to use technology and all things media for the glory of God.

First We Must Look at Avoiding the Dangers and Negative Impacts of Technology:

1) Overuse:
There’s a definite tendency for overuse. And that’s a real possibility for all of us. Screen attachment can become a borderline addiction (or real for some) and we must set limits when it comes to using technology and screen time.  The balance will be different for every family and should be age appropriate.

Exceptions are made as needed, but in general, as a family, we have some guidelines that have eliminated the need for constant decision making about usage.  When it comes to television, we watch a weekly show together on Thursday nights and then after evening chores are complete, our crew is allowed to watch something for half an hour while we are waiting for dad to get home (for us that is 6 to 6:30). Unless it’s a special occasion– online games or Wii games are reserved for the weekends and this has eliminated the requests for permission that were driving me bonkers.  For now, we also have decided that devices will not travel with the kids to most social functions (church, Bible study, friends’ houses etc.).

I’m not at all suggesting this is what every family should do, but the point is to have an actual usage plan.

2) Safety:
Dangers lurk on every corner when it comes to technology and this is an important discussion to have with our children.  As parents we need to explain why it’s important to never share personal information or open emails/photos from strangers and why downloads need to have approval.

There is wisdom in keeping computers and devices centrally located and for putting safeguards in place to protect our children.  Pornography is just one unintentional click away.  We must make safety a priority.
This recent article has excellent suggestions specific to creating a porn-free family plan.

In our home, our kids’ profiles must be kept private and they are not allowed to accept friend requests from people they don’t know.  And until they are a bit older and wiser, we’ve asked them not to search and click on unknown sites without our permission.  A central family docking station, ensures that all devices are accounted for.  Open communication is huge when it comes to safety…our children need to feel comfortable coming to us if something negative happens online whether intentional or unintentional.

3) Costly Words:
Words have the ability to cause great damage and it’s so easy to quickly make a comment online without realizing the hurtful impact.  It is important to explain that a text, email, comment, or post is often irretrievable and that “when there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).  As a family, studying James is a great place to start when discussing how death and life are in the power of the tongue.

4) Missed Opportunities:
The choice to engage in screen time is also a choice to not do something else. Technology often replaces good conversation and face to face relationship building. It can isolate family members from one another and it can lead to a loss of other interests.  When we start noticing that our children are choosing screen time regularly over other activities, that’s usually when we implement a technology Sabbath.

5) Lack of Courtesy:
It’s also important to stress courtesy when it comes to all things screen.  And sometimes it’s as simple as the basics– when you are in the company of someone else, it’s unkind to be glued to your phone.  If there’s any opportunity for conversation, it’s rude to not make eye contact and engage.  These are words we must preach to ourselves as well.

docking station

Then We Must Encourage the Positive Aspects of Technology:

1) Building relationships and friendships:
Technology creates a wonderful opportunity for building connections and encouraging others.  If we can help our children view it in this light, technology can be a blessing in their lives and in the lives of others.  We want to help them consider:  Who can I encourage with my comments?  What friendships can I strengthen by online connections?  What family members or friends can I reach out to?

2) Developing Skills/Creativity:
Creativity is limitless when it comes to technology and it’s important to encourage our children to develop skills in this area.  Many excellent typing, programming, and coding programs are available.  Our boys enjoy stop motion and creating videos.  All of our children enjoy photography.  These are skills and interests that God can use in their lives and we want to encourage their curiosity and delight in these areas.

3) Sharing the Gospel:
Technology offers incredible opportunities for sharing about Jesus’ rescue mission to save us, bring us forgivingness and how He made a way for us to live in deep, real relationship with God.  We want our children to approach technology with a heart to “(make) the most of every opportunity” (Eph. 5:16).

4) Keeping us in the tension:
It might be easier to just do away with it all, but instead we have to listen for God’s whisper that we may be out-of-balance or over-balanced or missing– Balance.

It might be simpler if God just gave us Commandment #11– Do not use Facebook.
But instead, He gives us a relationship where we must come to Him regularly, willing to lay it all, all the techno-everything-options, at His disposalTechnology and all things “screen” create this opportunity for our children as well.

I am sure there are many other positives and negatives that I haven’t considered…
And I’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions below in the comments.

For now though, I’ll just admit that I did eventually get a smartphone.
Smile.
And truthfully, I use it, enjoy it, and find it very helpful.
But it’s a constant battle to keep the balance.

And it’s in that place of tension that I want our children to stay…
Where they are constantly asking–

How can I use this _________ (insert your device of choice) to bring glory to God?

Our God is a God who redeems.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” ~Psalm 24:1

With Love,
Kara @ The Chuppies

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

10 Holiday Celebration Timesavers

10 Holiday Celebration Timesavers

Celebrating the holidays is a wonderful family time, but complicating the celebrations is easy to do. With a house full of children and the many responsibilities of a day, I wanted to share these 10 holiday celebration timesavers to ease the stress – and workload. Nothing fancy- just simple shortcuts to save time.  Perhaps one or two of these ideas will help you in holiday preparation or celebration!

10 Holiday Celebration Timesavers

1. Plan your work; work your plan.

Even if you’d not typically a planner, taking a few moments to write lists can save a ton of time in the long run, whether it is for meals,shopping, or a schedule.

2. Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper.

3. Keep the decorations simple.

Candles are always easy and elegant. A fresh wreath makes a huge impact.

4. Prepare Christmas breakfast ahead of time.

Whether you choose an overnight casserole or simply bake the muffins and freeze ahead, having at least some portion of Christmas morning breakfast prepared allows for more time to enjoy family.

5. Reflect before running “out to the store.”

Can I do this task at a more suitable time in regards to traffic, work hours, etc?

6. Simplify your holiday schedule.

Allow  time margins to enjoy each event, rather than rushing from one to the next.

7. Prepare wrapping supplies and print gift tags in advance.

Whether you are a “wrap as you go” person or a “do it all at once” person, having your supplies in one organized place can be pivotal. You can find a wonderful set of free printable gift tags with Bible verses right here.

8. If you need to mail items, do your best to make one trip for cards and all packages.

9. Limit the number of “new” holiday activities.

Trying five new cookie recipes may not be the most efficient use of time. Drop it down to two and then try the others later in the winter when time is not as tight.

10. Capture teaching moments in the moment.

Use the cuddles around the fireplace for meaningful conversation! Here’s a simple example of making the most of the moment to simply embrace the true reason for the season.

And there you have it- just a few ideas for holiday celebration timesavers!

Do you have a holiday celebration timesaver that keeps you sane?

We’d love it if you’d share it!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Rachel-RachelWojo.com

The Naturally Clean Home

This week’s Ultimate Healthy Living ebook bundle includes several books on natural cleaning.

Once you start using vinegar and especially essential oils to clean, I don’t think you’ll ever go back to bleach and Comet.  I’m especially in love with using lavender and citrus oils as I clean.  Now “clean” doesn’t smell like chemicals, but like true scents found in nature.

If you’ve been wondering how to get information or get started on natural cleaning, this bundle has some great resources!

One website I’ve gone to a number of times is DIY natural.  I’ve found their cleaning recipes and information to be helpful and effective.  Now their book is available in this bundle!

Green Living EbooksDIY Natural Household Cleaners includes:

  • 60+ tried and true money saving, natural homemade cleaner recipes for your kitchen, bathroom, laundry, wood, windows, walls, air, and more.
  • We give you a list of the simple, inexpensive, and non-toxic ingredients needed to get started… you most likely own many already.
  • Access to our discounted “Essential Oils Starter Kit” taking away all guesswork from using essential oils. Note: the coupon code in the book for an additional 5% off has expired because it was leaked on the Internet.
  • You can save hundreds of dollars every year, the more recipes you make the more you’ll save.
  • You can make hundreds of dollars every year by making these recipes and selling them at your local farm markets, food co-ops, etc.
  • You control the ingredients and know exactly what is going into your cleaners.
  • You’ll be teaching children stewardship and creativity.
  • You will lead and inspire others in positive change.
  • You will expand and improve upon your skill set.
  • Reject a consumeristic mindset and rebel by creating and doing the right thing.
  • Decrease your reliance on store-bought products.

Another book you’ll get with the bundle on natural cleaning (and natural everything else) is Green Your Life.

Green Your Life is a basic guidebook for anyone interested in living a greener and more natural life!

It is 250+ pages organized into 5 main categories:

  • Cleaning
  • Personal Care Products
  • Baby & Child Care
  • Around the House
  • In the Marketplace

Each section includes practical, easy to make changes that you can begin implementing right away to move your family toward a natural and eco-friendly life!

More books in the bundle that will help us learn about green living are:

Some of the benefits to natural cleaning that I’ve experienced are:

  • cost-effective
  • child friendly
  • therapeutic scents

In the bundle, you’ll also get 12 weeks of mentoring sessions!  Included in those sessions is one on greening your home and one on using essential oils.

What a great way to get started living green!

A Better Holiday Season

During the holidays it can be hard to focus on what really matters.

Before Thanksgiving some of us start planning our Black Friday shopping, which now can begin on Thanksgiving night.  And am I the only mother who has made the mistake of focusing more on what foods she’s preparing instead of the family for whom she’s cooking?

Then there’s Christmas; we might have every intention of celebrating Advent all month with the kids, but that can get overlooked when December hits full force.  Our imagined peaceful nights by the fire turn into Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas programs and Christmas baking.

A Simpler Season ebookJessica from Life As Mom addresses these tendencies in her holiday ebook:  A Simpler Season.   Jessica’s book walks us through how to make this holiday season a relaxing and enjoyable few months.  Her book includes:

  • creative ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s
  • over 150 pages of content: ideas, recipes, and inspiration for planning a special holiday season with your family
  • 70+ printable pages: calendars, to do sheets, inventories, and planning pages
  • games and activities to do with the kids
  • 24+ family activity cards to print and do over the month of December
  • printable recipe and gift cards to help you make edible gifts
  • a variety of family devotional ideas to explore with your family
  • a list of children’s books to enjoy as well as extension activities to do with your children after the reading
  • family-friendly recipes for the each of the winter holidays
  • questions to get you thinking about how you really want to spend your time this year
  • easy downloadable format in pdf or on kindle

Jessica’s book is one of 86 ebooks that you’ll get with this year’s amazing Healthy Living Bundle.

You’ll also get several other ebooks to help you focus on simplifying and planning.

Get this entire ebook library, plus bonuses and 12 mentoring conference calls for $29.97
Have questions?  Find FAQs and the fine print here.

 Ruth Schwenk Signature

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