Why Every Parent Should NOT Worry About Screen Time

Laptops, iPads, cell phones, video games, are we killing our kids with all this screen time???

NO! And here’s why blaming the screen is wrong…


About Our Guest: Jeanette Yates

Jeanette Yates is a communications director and digital storyteller. She’s a former stay-at-home mom and pilates director turned communications director. Using her gifts of storytelling she enjoys sharing what God is doing in and through her church and community and engaging with people online.

In her spare time, Jeanette enjoys hiking with her husband and hanging with her kids. She’s an avid reader and a podcast fanatic.

 

In This Video

  • 1:01 – Meet Jeanette Yates.
  • 1:51 – Meet the easiest photo editing tool for your phone.
  • 5:54 – The articles we keep seeing spouting screen time nonsense…
  • 13:11 – Dishing out blame instead of owning up to your responsibilities…
  • 18:56 – Why the fear of screen time is the same story we’ve heard hundreds of times before…
  • 26:40 – Why aren’t we afraid of all that screen time at school?
  • 33:47 – It’s okay to admit that our phones allow us to decompress…
  • 38:24 – How screen time can ACTUALLY enhance your relationships…
  • 49:39 – Taking away the screen is actually worse than you realize…

 

Important Links & Shoutouts

 

Key Takeaway

Don’t buy into the myth that screens are bad…you’re just passing the buck for being an accountable parent.

The sooner you realize this the sooner you can take action and teach your children what it means to be a mature, responsible member of society and God’s Kingdom.

Sit down with your kids or your youth ministry, and have a serious talk on what it means to be a representative of your family, your church, and Jesus Christ on digital platforms.

And after you have this honest conversation, let us know how it went in the comments below!

 

Transcription

Dave:                    Laptops, iPads, cell phones, video games, oh my gosh, we’re killing our kids with all the screen time!

Speaker 1:           Hey guys, welcome to another world class episode of the Church Media Guys show. If we’ve not met. My name is Dave Curlee and I am the founder of ChurchTrainingAcademy.com which is a place where you and I and other ministry minded people all come together to learn how to use and exploit media and technology. So we can take the gospel to the world, to the Internet, to the great digital beyond. Oh, sorry. I was just getting a little, little dramatic there. With me as unusual is a fantastic cohost, the only person that I would rather have today than, Justin, the lovely and talented Miss Jeanette Yates. Hey, how are ya?

Jeanette:             Hello, I’m great and very, very excited to be here. Thank you for asking me to join you today. Of course. I think Justin’s awesome too, but I’m glad to be able to be here with you.

Dave:                    I am too. For those of y’all who are wondering where’s Justin… This two weeks in a row. Justin last week was doing his CPR training and doing all that sort of stuff and today he’s got a business lunch so he couldn’t join us. So I am really thrilled to have Jeanette here. I was gonna say she’s an old friend. She’s, she’s a new old friend I guess you could say. And she’s a church communicator like Justin and I are. And she has graciously decided to like shirk every responsibility that she has and hang out with us today.

Dave:                    Hey, Jeanette do you take pictures with your cell phone?

Jeanette:             Yes, all the time.

Dave:                    The camera on your phone… what phone do you have?

Jeanette:             I have the, it’s the iPhone10,

Dave:                    the x Max something 10, 10 Max, whatever, the whole thing.

Jeanette:             Okay. Yeah, that’s the one.

Dave:                    Okay, great. Fantastic. it’s got a really good camera on there. I’ve got a Moto X4, which has got a great camera in fact. Both of us have like the dual lenses, so we can like do the, the discipline shots. And the depth of field and all that core stuff. So our cameras on our phones are great. Now. Do you do any like photo processing or doing anything like that? like the filters and changing the colors and doing all that…

Jeanette:             I haven’t really found, like I’ve heard a lot of recommendations for different ones and I just, I have a hard time using them with any kind of effectiveness. So I tend to just let phone tell me what’s best and like have it just kind of go auto and then move on to the next thing. Yeah, yeah. Or, like if I’m uploading it to Instagram, I’ll use their f ou know, so, but I really like, I’ve heard a lot of great things about a lot of different ones.

Dave:                    Today I want to let everybody know about one that’s actually, it’s been around for a long time. In fact, it’s owned by Google, it’s called Snapseed and it has been around since, I don’t know, maybe the iPhone three or something like that. When the cameras started getting good is when it is. When it started coming out. it’s called Snapseed. It was a company that was like its own company and then Google bought them and then Google like took a lot of the guts of Snapseed and put it into the Google photos app so that you can like increase the structure. You can, change some of the coloring ou know, do all the great stuff that you could do with Google photos. But it’s also a standalone app and it is really cool.

Dave:                    It runs on both platforms. You can do all kinds of stuff. Obviously the basics, I mean you can, you can do the cropping, you can do the color, you can do the sharpening, you can do the vignetting, you can do the, do the structure. You can make, do like the high dynamic range stuff. You can do all that, but you can also use some more advanced tools. Like they’ve got a tool for doing blemish removal. So I could like if like if I had a picture of you on my phone and it’s like, oh, she’s got a freckle up here or ou know, I, I’ve got a, I’ve got, is it on this side? Yeah. See, see this stupid thing, this is one of those, what age spots or liver spots or whatever the happen when you get old and you get a freckle on your face and you can’t explain.

Dave:                    So you can go in there and like zoom up and then go over it and then get rid of it. It’s really cool. There’s even a filter on there. And for the pro tip video, I’ll be walking through this and showing you guys everything, but you can actually like reposition the face a little bit. So like if the face is, like if you’re looking over at the other camp, two people taking a picture and you’re looking over at the other camera, instead of looking at the camera, you’re supposed to, you can actually like adjust the person’s face so that it’s looking where it needs to look. And you can like make their smile a little bit more of a smile.

Dave:                    It’s funny cause when you do it, it’s kind of like that it’s going (makes face) within the confines of the head. You’re moving the face within the confines of the head. And it sometimes, it looks really weird. You guys will see that when I show you it looks really weird, but other times it’s really cool cause it’s like you can just sort of make that little adjustment that needs to be made, and you can like take a little smirk and make it a little bit more of a smile. Anyway. It’s really cool. It’s called Snapseed. It’s made by Google and it runs on both platforms. It’s really cool. So if you take pictures and you want to kick them up to the next level and have some really cool tools, then check out Snapseed.

Dave:                    folks, I’m a parent. I know a lot of you out there are parents. if you’re not a parent but you’re working in the church, maybe you’re a youth director, maybe your a student minister of some kind. And there seems to be, if you troll Facebook for any length of time and you follow some different parent groups or church groups or something like that, you are seeing all this, I call it, fear, uncertainty and doubt. People are going crazy about screen time and how we’re just, we’re ruining our children. We’re turning them into little robots were doing all this kind of stuff. Jeanette, have you been seeing this kind of stuff?

Jeanette:             Well, yes. I mean…I have two teenage boys and so I’ve been kind of hooked in the algorithm, knows that I’m a parent, so it is filling my feed with all of these different parenting blogs and parenting articles. And one of the things that weighs heavy on me is, this i ou know, all the damage that my children are suffering because their brains are melting much like the, in the fifties and sixties when my parents were watching television and their brains were, I’m melting So I, you know, have, have had this really big struggle in my ially because, you know, I love my kids. I’m a parent and another part is like, I’m in this job, like my job is to get people to engage with the church where I serve on social media, on screens.

Jeanette:             I wanted them to go to YouTube and watch a video. I want them to do something or share something on Facebook. And so been kind of wrestling with this. And, so it has been something I’ve been thinking about and talking with people about and researching for a little bit of time just to try to wrap my head around what this all means, what is true and what is just fear mongering. And so that’s what I’ve been kind of focused on in my own parenting. I can’t solve all the parenting problems in the world, but like, this is when I feel like I need to at least investigate as a responsible digital parent or one that wants to be.

Dave:                    Are you the communications director at your church?

Jeanette:             Yes. And I also consult with other churches, so I’m all in.

Dave:                    So, okay. So here, here we are, like you said, we want to increase digital engagement. We want to increase screen time I’m engaging with our brand as it were, our church or the ministry that we work for and stuff. But then we’ve got all these other things out there that are, that you’re a bad parent and that your kids brains are bleeding. And we do see, we do see, I think, boring through all the, the junk down to the truth. We do see some levels of antisocial behavior or something. And I don’t mean they’re going to be a terrorist kind of antisocial behavior or they’re going to be a sociopath kind of antisocial behavior. But we, with the communication that we do so much on our devices, whether texting and, messaging and snapchat and all that sort of stuff. Um, I do see a lack of interpersonal skill development in a physical sense. Do you see them?

Jeanette:             Well, I have to be honest, just when I think, and there’s plenty of times where I’m like, I can’t believe my son, he’s in his room. He should be out here with us as a you know, and I, and I tell this story sometimes when I’m, when I’m having this, you know, there was a period of time where I was really worried. My son just refuses to like have a conversation. He was always trying to leave the table and he wouldn’t even watch television with us, which I know is another screen, but still it’s something. And I was like, you know what if he didn’t, it’s th If he didn’t, you know, it’s our fault, we’re going to have no phone. We should take away the phone so that he will interact more with us. And we took the phone away and guess what happens?

Dave:                    He stayed in his room and like read comics or something.

Jeanette:             Yeah. He didn’t come talk to me. Right. Because he was mad at me. And so, not that there’s never a time that you should take away something from your child or a fan. But what I started to do is instead of using that as just like every punishment, like you want to, when they’ve done something wrong, you want to hit them where it hurts or you’re like, I’m gonna take away your phone or might take away at the screen. That is a good point day that you said when I’m, sometimes I think I’m just taking a phone away, but really I’m taking away a social interaction that he has with his friends. And so it’s a different mindset to him. This was not like what I was thinking I was taking away from him was not how he was thinking of it.

Jeanette:             And it wasn’t until we have that conversation. But to answer your original question, for the most part, I feel like my kids do a great job now. They have to be sometimes prompted like, we’re getting ready to go to this family event. You are not going to take out your phone for the next two hours. I would also say that when, when that is a guideline that we’ve set for them, my son would want me to mention that that should be a guideline that I set for myself as well. Oh, right. Yeah. How about that? Yeah. So, I’m been blessed with kids who when focused on their goal of, we’re going to spend time with grandma. You are going to spend time with grandma. That is what they do.

Jeanette:             not every kid is even like that. And nor do I think we should expect every kid to always feel super comfortable. Because even before phones and digital distraction, there were kids who were awkward in social situations…

Dave:                    I don’t do the nerd who couldn’t have a conversation with, with any female of any kind in the h ou know, I mean, they would just, they’d practically wet themselves. They could not interact like that. And it wasn’t because they were on their screens, it was because they had social anxiety or or anything like that. And their escape was in their books or in their movies or the comments or something like that down has been going on through history.

Jeanette:             Right, right. And so, that’s one of the things that I’ve, started to realize are starting to look at is like, okay ou know, we want to blame everything right now. Right on this digital advice. But I think we need to peel back the layers because of course I’m not saying that there’s not, I mean there you can find research that backs up a But I, you know, there are people who’ve experienced that we, we hear of this all the time of bullying and all these things that are occurring. But I think that if we just are saying, if we didn’t have this, we didn’t have social media, if we didn’t have these smartphones, this stuff wouldn’t be happening. Right. It’s very oversimplifying the issue and it’s not getting to the heart of the matter and as Christians…

Jeanette:             and yes, to some extent we’re talking to people who are working with children or teens or have children or teens. But really this is something that we all need to look at. We all need to be starting to think about our own discipleship and growth in the area of what does it mean to walk through our lives as Christians. When we think about that all the time, we want to know what it means to live out our faith. Well, we’ve been talking about that for centuries and now, we have to talk about that and include the digital space as well. So as individuals we have to do that. And then also as parents, or people who are working with children, right? So that’s kind of where I’ve kind of trying to step into, and I want to tell our listeners or watchers, that I don’t have it figured out right? But I think it’s a conversation you need to have and that’s why I’m hoping that more and more people engage in this conversation and just, ask, how are we going to train up a child in the way they should go? How are we going to be role models for, how to be a good disciple for Christ in our real lives and in our social lives online.

Dave:                    One of the things that, you said earlier that that we, tend to want to blame everything on this stuff, blaming it on something that is an over simplification. There’s that concept of over simplifying. And I mean, I remember this from my childhood, my parents remember from their childhood as, as parents, as youth leaders, what have you,

Dave:                    As humans, we tend to want to look for a line and we want to simplify and dumb a very complex conversation down to, down to to this baseline. you can’t see you rated r movies until you’re 17. Okay. You shouldn’t listen to rock music because it doesn’t honor God. Okay. You children shouldn’t have phones until they’re 14, right? No, I mean, when you over simplify stuff , when you make these rules…when you oversimplify stuff like that, to me it’s more that virtue signaling stuff that’s going out there. It’s like, well, the rule in our houses, you can’t have a cell phone until you’re 14. Well that’s stupid because you know, hey, don’t have a landline. Okay. And then, you know, I work and Kat works. And so if a a daughter comes home from school is dropped off, latch key style, the way you and I were raised, she doesn’t have a phone and she’s 13, and the house starts to go on fire, you know. Well, but, she doesn’t have a phone cause she was 14. I mean, it’s stupid, just across the board. Same thing with the, you can’t see it a rated r movie until you’re, until you’re 17 or something.

Jeanette:             Well, and I think that starts as a fear, right? Well, and, we’re afraid as parents that we’re going to screw up our children, right? Screw this up. Right? And it all comes out of it from love, but it also comes from fear sometimes. So I think, one of the things that we, that is important to me, I think we need to stop having a spirit of fear when it comes to parenting in the digital age. And that, the Bible reminds us in Second Timothy 1:7 that we don’t have a spirit of fear but of power of love and self discipline. And I think if we remember that the smartphone or the screen doesn’t have the power, right? We have the power of Christ in us, right?

Jeanette:             We can harness that power. Can use, the power that we have like the Holy Spirit power, but also like we’re in control here. We are in control of our own habits and of how to teach our children, which is that second, teaching our children how to have control and self discipline? And so I think that is what…

Dave:                    This is a tool. It’s no different than a hammer. And so we, you know how the thing, the tools available in our world, the distractions that are around us, there’s always been something that distracts us from focusing on Jesus. Since Jesus was here walking around earth, there’s been distractions for the Pharisees. It was the distraction of rules, rules, rules, tell me the rules so I can follow them. and that was distracting them from actually being able to encounter Jesus face to face.

Jeanette:             There’s always, there was a period of time where people were worried about books being a distraction. Okay. Whatever it is that’s misunderstood and not, fully known. It is scary and can be a distraction. Right?

Jeanette:             But what man or the enemy wants to use for bad, the Lord can use for good. And so, as a church communicator who recognizes, when I think about social media, I don’t think about it as this like horrible place, but I get sucked in, it’s so terrible. I think it’s like there is this, big huge country Facebook, Facebook and it has 2.5 billion people, everyone is just trying to connect with other people. find out more about life, feel connected, feel liked or loved, make people laugh. I think the church should be there. And I think as a Christian, since I’m there, I should represent the church well. So from a church communicator perspective, I’m thinking, okay, well how can the church be a positive, be the salt and light. And then as an individual, I’m thinking, how can I be the light of Christ, right on social media? And I want to practice those, professionally and personally. But I also want to teach my children to do this digital discipleship, let’s disciple, you know, let’s be discipled ourselves, and disciple our children. Which brings me to something that you and I were talking about before we started sharing with everyone else…

Dave:                    With the globe, with all the people on their screens.

Jeanette:             But the great thing is, the words in the Bible, what was going on that was written not in our time. And yet we’ve managed over the past 2000 years to take principles and apply them to our current life. And there’s no reason we can’t do that now. We don’t need a set of rules that tell us not till 14, only between the hours of, two and five or whatever. Right. You know, we don’t need those kind of rules now. Yes. I’m all for boundaries. Don’t get me wrong, but what your guidelines for your in your home might be different that are in my home that we can follow principles of appropriate behavior.

Dave:                    And that’s the key. The principles are the same. As concerned parents were always worried about cyber bullying and we don’t, okay, cyberbullying is an amplification. Okay. It can be amplified, and an amplifier and multiplier. Okay. The core is bullying. Okay. It’s being a butt crack to somebody. Okay. Right. It’s being a jerk. Okay. So that is the core that we should be, we don’t need to teach our kids, Hey, don’t pick on somebody on Facebook. Okay. Don’t align with other people. No, we teach them. Don’t pile on in real life. Right. So when your friend is getting picked on by somebody else, you are to be the one who steps in between your friend. Keep them at your back and stands there and lets the other person wail on you or you stop it or something.

Dave:                    You stop the bullying. You don’t pile on to the bullying. When you understand that principle, protecting other people and speaking to other people the way you would like to be spoken to, then it’s going to come out online. It’s going to come out at the movie theater. It’s going to come out at the mall. It’s going to come out in a church business meeting. It’s going to come out in Sunday school. It’s going to come out on the playground across the board. That’s the principle. We’re worried about porn. Okay. When I was growing up, we didn’t have the phones, we didn’t have stuff like that. We had dirty magazines and we had HBO after midnight or something like that. So Cinemax after dark. SINNER Max after dark. Exactly. So what did, what did my parents do? They said don’t watch rated r movies.

Dave:                    And they said, don’t watch porn. Don’t look at dirty magazines. Okay. Right. And if I looked at a dirty magazine, if they found one underneath my mattress or something like that, I got in trouble. And I got explained about why objectifying women is really bad and it can mess up the way you perceive women and later in life with your wife and with girlfriends and all that sort of stuff. So they explained this principle about honoring women and honoring God so that later in life, while it is easier to do it and stuff like that, there’s this thing ingrained in me that says, Hey, don’t do that. and it’s the same thing we have to teach with our kids. Whether, it’s too much television, whether it’s bullying, whether it’s porn, whether it’s the way we talk to each other, whether it’s any of these principles. That’s the stuff that we have to be teaching in Sunday school, teaching in youth group, teaching in, in family life, groups, teaching in our, our home groups and all that sorta stuff. It’s those principles. This is just a tool. This is no different than a telephone. This is no different than a computer or a radio or your car or anything else that you can use for good or for bad.

Jeanette:             Well, and that kind of brings us back to our thing that we were kind of talking about this like this idea that the screen time is bad, how much time are children on the screens and we want to blame the screen.

Dave:                    Like, like having an LCD screen or back in the day we had the phosphorus lighting, nothing like that is good, it’s bad for your eyes, you’ll go blind. Don’t sit too close.

Jeanette:             This is kind of what started me down this whole rabbit hole. I’m on Facebook all the time. This whole idea about the new study out that says kids are spending this much time on their screens and video games and it’s rotting their brains and we’re going to have antisocial people… So, I’m like, okay, if I believe that staring at a screen for three hours a day is bad for my child, then do I count the three hours of screen time they’re staring at it at school.

Dave:                    Right. The reading that they’re doing.

Jeanette:             I was sharing with you earlier… one of my sons attends a school where all of their textbooks are digital. They’re provided an iPad at the beginning of the school year. They rent it and it has some firewall set up, you know, so it’s not super easy to get everywhere, but it is a digital device. And all of their textbooks are on there. They take notes, they watch videos, they communicate with their teachers. Their email system is on there. All of these things. So throughout the day in every single class, not just the one computer class that they take. Right. Cause he also takes one of those, the only time he’s not on his iPad, is when he’s in his computer class. He’s taking digital technology. I’m so proud. anyway, and then he comes home and he’s got one assignment for math.

Jeanette:             He’s got to go to this platform and one and then after he’s done with that, he wants to play video games. Right. So am I going to go, oh no. You only have 30 minutes of video game time because screens are bad and if we have any more than 30 minutes… He just looks at me like I’m a moron because he’s already been on the screen for like eight hours.

Dave:                    Exactly. Exactly.

Jeanette:             And meantime, what is Mommy doing? I’m at work all day on my screen tweeting, planning, strategizing, Facebook, and then I come home and like I just want to go watch the Punisher, can I say that I want to go watch the Punisher? And that, is what I want to do.

Dave:                    Right. You want to go binge on something, right.

Jeanette:             Yeah. And probably I’ll have that on and my screen on my laptop continuing to create my graphics, you know? And so if I had decided that screen time is not what I want, I don’t want my children to use screen time to zone out. Right. I don’t want to use it to zone out. Then I have to be responsible enough to say as a family, we’re not going to decompress by using screens. We’re going to decompress using something else. Okay,

Dave:                    So what, what is that? What is that that other else?

Jeanette:             I don’t know, cause I’m watching my Netflix…

Dave:                    And see and that’s the thing, that’s the thing. We’re focusing on the wrong thing. We’re focusing on on the tool instead of what the thing is, the reality of the situation is is that your kid needs to read, your kid needs to watch videos too and take notes and learn things and then regurgitate it in a test and apply principles that he’s learning in in his life.

Jeanette:             We’d have a whole other topic about that.

Dave:                    Exactly. So he, he needs to do that. Okay. That’s called school. So does it, it doesn’t matter if it’s 1985 and you and I are sitting in seventh grade, history class and we’re watching a film about the Auschwitz concentration camp and taking notes and then being tested on it and then reading about it in chapter seven of the book. Okay. He’s doing the exact same thing, right? It’s just that he’s doing it on a very handy little device. So what it comes down to the zoning out…how did you and I zone out? We sat down and watched MacGyver after dinner.

Jeanette:             Well, and that’s the other thing is like a lot of these articles that are coming out that are scaring parents have today. They’re not talking about the school. Right. Did you know some of these same groups that are coming out with these articles that are fear mongers? You know the scare tactics, right about all this video games and screen time and YouTube. But hi YouTubers We love you!

Dave:                    Absolutely. We do.

Jeanette:             We love you watching. We love you creating things. But nobody wants to say that the school computers bad. We’re just going to say the home computer is bad. And I’m like…

New Speaker:    That’s a load of crap.

Jeanette:             That’s what started it all for me. I was like, I don’t really believe that. and now, I know might get @’d on the twitters. I know I have read the articles, I’ve looked at the studies, I’ve seen all the things…

Dave:                    You spent a lot of screen time researching.

Jeanette:             …maybe not all of the things. Cause you know the Internet is a bottomless pit of information. but I do know that an anecdotal story about one child that had to go that didn’t handle the screentime very well, like that’s a horrible story. I’m not doubting the veracity of that story, but that’s an anecdotal story. Right. You know, I can just as easily, and I can tell you an anecdote, I have lots of anecdotes that are positive.

Dave:                    Sure.

Jeanette:             But the point is those are both anecdotes, right? So we can’t base our own decision making, our own parenting on what somebody else said is best.

Dave:                    Right. If you got a friend that’s a roaring drunk. That doesn’t mean that if you have a Margarita you are going to be a roaring drunk. No. It means you got a friend that’s got a problem.

Jeanette:             Right. As well. Yeah. Again, it’s all remembering, our principals, our world or Christian worldview. Having that be the lens by which we look now is the time. And it may be the school screen time or the child’s screen time at home, you know, it may be the phone or the video game in the system. If anything is distracting from their ability to be able to sit in worship, participate in prayer time, if they’re watching something and then using bad language or blah, blah, blah. All of is part of something that needs to be addressed. But, you know, we don’t have to say no screens. You know? No, no Netflix, no.

Dave:                    Right. It’s not the tool’s fault. It’s not the Hammer’s fault that the window got broke. It’s you taking the hammer to the window.

Jeanette:             Right. And so I just think as parents, as Christians, as people who are working with youth or around youth, and even if you’re not, if you’re like, I don’t have kids, I don’t like to be around them. I’m not going to tell as a responsible person, we have to address how we are, how we’re using the tool. And it’s okay to say I’m using this tool to decompress. Sure. But we have to acknowledge that. We have to be good disciples in real life when we’re talking to the person at the gas station or the grocery store or the waiter at the restaurant. We have to be good disciples there and we also have to be and good friends. Like when we’re with our friends, we had to be good friends. There’s ways that we treat people around us in real life that is the same, that has to happen online. And so I think if we’re practicing that, we are in a much better position to be able to speak to generations below us.

Dave:                    Right, right, right.

Jeanette:             The number one thing my son said today when I told them I was going to do this and he, he’s like, oh, that’s your gig. He said, I just wish that the people telling me to get off my phone would get off theirs.

Dave:                    Right. Yeah. And when you pull it into like the analog world, you and I, and everyone always reminisce about the good old days and how it was so much better when we were younger… how we had better relationships with our parents and we weren’t on these screens and all that sorta stuff, but the, the reality is, when you’re on your screen in a social situation and like you and I were sitting at Starbucks and we’re having our conversation or doing something like that and I pick up my phone and start paying attention to it instead of paying attention to you. That’s me being rude. Right?

Jeanette:             Yeah. That’s rude, but that not the phone…

Dave:                    That would be exactly the same as if it was 1987 and, at the mall and we were having a conversation and someone else walked up and in the middle of you talking, I turned around and started having a conversation with them completely ignoring you or write while you’re talking. I pick up my Walkman and put the headphones on and start blaring the music. That’s me being a butt crack. That’s rude. So we joke. You go back to that principle. So the thing that I want people to understand is that all of this stuff is just a tool. Okay. And we think we have this idea in our head that we don’t have these great relationships with our children. We don’t communicate with our children. We’re losing our children because they’re watching YouTube and because we’re on here watching Netflix and all this sort of stuff. What was it like when you and I were growing up, we were talking about this earlier. We didn’t have all the screens and all that sort of stuff. So what was our relationship with our parents like? It consisted of what?

Jeanette:             Me not talking to them. I can tell you that right now.

Dave:                    Right. We were teenagers. We weren’t having these deep, meaningful conversations with our parents because we were teenagers.

Jeanette:             I didn’t have a phone to ignore my parents at dinnertime. Right. So I just ignored them.

Dave:                    Right. You just sat there quietly and ate and then got up and left.

Jeanette:             Yeah. And I’d be like (Snoring sound) all the time.

Dave:                    Exactly you were being rude to their face.

Jeanette:             Right in your face. Like, and you can’t even blame a smart phone…

Dave:                    And what did they do on Saturdays? We would get up and eat our cereal and be watching cartoons and stuff. And they would come in and they would cut the TV off and have an afternoon of meaningful, deep relationship building with us? NO!

Jeanette:             Then they would say get out, run out of the house.

Dave:                    Right. You’re a goonie go be a Goonie, go with your friends, get on your bikes and go have an adventure.

Jeanette:             Yes. Oh yes, yes.

Dave:                    We’ll see you at dinner. That kind of thing. That’s the way it was. So it’s really not, it’s really not any different except right now we actually have things that our kids want to come and show us. My daughter, my 13 year old constantly throughout the course of the day is coming in here and showing me a funny meme. She’s showing me something and we’re talking about were giggling about it and we’re looking at the next one and we’re giggling again. I think we’re having better social engagement and, and one on one time then we would be, if it was 1987.

Jeanette:             So this happened recently. This is a fun little story. So, my father in law got tickets to peach bowl up in Atlanta. And so they were going to go and then at the last minute, my husband and I got tickets, but they weren’t in the same place, so we were all like our whole family, like the four of us were going to be up there, but my kids were going to be with my father in law and I was going to be with my husband. So we’re at the game and the whole time, but like we’re watching the game but we’re also like chatting with each other on our devices and like finding each other and waving and taking pictures. And it was so fun. And at the beginning of the game, Andy Stanley was there to say the prayer, like the prayer of the game. And of course like I am freaking out cause he’s like rock star to me. So while like during the prayer, like I’m praying, but of course my son wasn’t, he was taking a picture of the screen of Andy Stanley and then he’s posted on Instagram and was like, my mom just freaked out because, this is her favorite.

Jeanette:             And I just thought that was so fun because number one, without technology, my kids would not know who that is. Number two, something my son knows about me because of technology is that, I listened to this person, I value his opinion and his insights and then, and then to be able to share that moment with me, like he was excited for me because that person was there. Does that make sense? Like that was a moment that was like…

Dave:                    There’s an enhanced level to your relationship that wouldn’t be possible unless you guys were just constantly sitting down talking to each other and driving a thousand miles to go to his church.

Jeanette:             Right, exactly. and so, I just feel like there’s, countless examples… sometimes I have some of the hardest conversations with my kids through texting. Now does that mean I don’t follow up later? Obviously I do, but there’s times where my older son, especially, who’s in high school can’t, he just can’t say some things to me, to my face. Right. And I’m not talking about mean things. I’m not, he’s not like a jerk. And he’s able to say that through texting and I’m able to do something that I’m not great at all the time when we’re face to face, which is to be thoughtful about my response and not freak out and all those things. And so, to me, to your point, it’s the principles. It’s, not trying to whitewash our past, the nostalgia of it all.

Jeanette:             But to take the principles that we know, truth is truth. And what God wants for us and our family is that we would be united in him first and then with each other. And so, we can use technology as a tool to do that if we’re intentional and just like we have to be intentional about if we’re doing quiet time with our family or whatever. We have to be intentional about this. And so this is just another element, of adding to that part of discipling our children. And like I said before, the thing that’s a little bit more difficult is, for years and years and years, there was kind of like a method of discipling your children. You do the quiet time, you do the family prayer. It was the same, the same, the same, the same basically. Right? Now we’re adding this component, but we don’t have decades and history like some of generations to show us where to go. We’re having to lead that, right? If we don’t teach ourselves how to walk through the digital world as Christians and then raise our children up, then they’re not going to be in a position to teach the generations below them.

Dave:                    And one of the ways that we teach them is by letting them engage with all of this because it just, I look at it as like the drinking thing, f you don’t like drinking and dating and that sort of stuff. If when you’re under the protection of your house and under your parent’s protection and under their guidance, you need to be able to make mistakes. Yeah, no, you need to, you need to have a girlfriend and, have the freedom to make the mistake of being a jerk to her and her breaking up with you. And now you have to deal with that. you need to understand that there is alcohol out there, and that, it may taste good, it may taste bad, but the core thing is that, being drunk is never okay.

Dave:                    You need to understand that and learn that inside the structure and the safety of the home so that when you are turned loose on life that and you are making all your own decisions and I’m a big boy and you can’t tell me what to do and all this other garbage like that. You don’t fall prey to all. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve never had a drink and now all of a sudden all my friends are drinking and stuff like that and I’m going to taste it and I don’t understand the concept of self control. So, because it’s never been modeled, just told that this was bad and I’m on my own so I can do it on my own now. So pass me the beer. You see what I’m saying? that sort of stuff.

Dave:                    You go crazy. because you’re young and your brain is not completely fully formed.

Jeanette:             So it requires more of us. And we were talking about this earlier, like parenting. Yeah. And we want an app that we can put on our kids’ phones and there are good ones out there and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do that, but I think sometimes when we have something that promises… We’re going to put this hedge of protection around our children and then they’re not going to mess up what we do. Two things, were not what you were just saying. We’re not really training them how to walk out there but, another thing that we’re doing is we’re setting ourselves up for a false sense of security. So we’re not actively checking the phone cause I’ve got the app is going to ding if something weird is going on, well the kids can figure out how to get around that. And so I’d rather…you say, What’s the app you use, I use my eyeballs on their phone.

Jeanette:             And I may go a long time without doing it. But then I might do it several times in a week, right. … My kids are good. They’ve been having digital for a long time, but, I’m not always looking for like the, the super scary thing. I’m looking for how are they interacting? What are they doing? one of the things that I try to do myself on my own platforms, but also trying to encourage my kids to do, is, instead of going to Instagram to see how many likes you have, what I want you to challenge yourself, go to Instagram and go like three posts.

Jeanette:             Go comment on three posts and go, DM somebody to let them know something but it has to be the right kind encouraging words. And if you’re going with the idea of like, what do I want to do? And of course they’ll like way more than three. Sure. They may not comment though, cause liking is more passive. But if you say no, I want you to comment, I want you to say something nice. Even if they’re the girl or the person is asking for, like, are these shoes cool? You know? Yes. It’s a dumb question. I don’t know. He just like it. Comment! And you don’t really have to love the shoes to say those look great on you or whatever would be doing that in real life. If they walked up to you and said, right, what do you think of these new shoes?

Dave:                    It’s like that. Even if they were horrible, I hope you would be a nice person and say good.

Jeanette:             Yeah, exactly. And so I think, when we start looking at social media as a way that we can encourage other people, right? And It takes a little bit about selfish out like me, me, me. And side bonus is the more posts that you like and comment on, right? Those people are going to start doing that to you. We know that from studying communications, so we know that like from a technical standpoint, that’s true. But then that personally can be true too. And so yeah, there’s going to be a byproduct of, you’re going to get more likes and comments because people like to comment on on people’s posts that have commented on them. You know what I’m trying to say.

Dave:                    So yes, the net net for this whole, this whole discussion, Jeanette is basically for us to be active parents. Don’t seed our responsibility to an app to lock our kids’ phones and stuff. Let’s just go ahead and raise our children, take the responsibility that God’s given us and be the parent.

Jeanette:             And that may mean you have to shut down screen time. That may mean you have to put an app on your phone, but it may not mean that.

Dave:                    Right. And again it’s not a rule. It’s not this, there’s not this lowest common denominator in this whole thing. The guide thing is be a parent. Yeah. Or be a youth leader. Wherever you are in that kid’s life, be that role and take an active part in it. That’s what the rule is. And then what are the tools you need to help in those situations? Use those tools.

Jeanette:             Exactly. Exactly.

Dave:                    Just circling back to what you said at the beginning, talking about your kid when you, when you’re like, I’m taking your phone away. When we were growing up, that was when our parents came in and they took away our Walkman. You can’t have your Walkman for a week, or you can’t play your video game, No Nintendo for a week, that kind of thing. But it’s not that case anymore. Taking away Xbox, or locking them out of the Netflix account or something. That’s one thing. But when you take away their phone, you are taking away their communication device. My daughter, my 13 year old, her best friend is Ellie.

Dave:                    And they used to go to our church and her and her family, we’re friends with them and we love them. They’re wonderful people and they used to live 10 minutes away from us. They now live an hour away from us. Okay, so when you and I were growing up, that was it. We would make a phone call here and there and we may never see them again until they came back to visit their grandma or something, you know? But that relationship kind of stopped. That was just the way it was. But it doesn’t have to now. Now you know she’s loaded with screen time. Three hours of that in any given evening is her and Ellie being on facetime, walking around, goofing off together. She’s got her on her phone while she’s working on her homework in they’re working on their homework and they’re doing study group together, that kind of thing.

Dave:                    So it is communication. So we have to be very careful and I want to reiterate this, we have to be very careful when we are taking away their phone… You are basically putting them in solitary confinement. Right? We were growing up. It would have been being locked in our room and not being allowed to communicate with anybody except physically at school and physically at church. And that was the severe punishment. That was the, you’ve been smoking, you’ve been drinking, you robbed a liquor store and we don’t want you to go to prison so we’re locking you in your room. You know what that was like. They sent us off to the military camp or something. And so we can’t do that with our kids. And by the way that goes with the x box as well. We have to remember that, our video games, they are more interactive…,They are groups of people.

Jeanette:             Exactly.

Dave:                    It’s not the PAC man. It’s my pastor and me and our family pastor and a couple of our buddies, hop onto, as Xbox and we play this game together or something like that. And we got the headphones on and we’re all talking to each other and we’re having guy time while we’re running around killing ogres or whatever, that sort of thing. it is a communal thing and so that would be like saying you can’t go and, play softball with the youth group. Right. we’ve got to keep these things in perspective. It’s not just taking the device away, it’s inhibiting parts of their life…

Jeanette:             You told me I couldn’t talk on the phone as a teenager. Nowadays it’s a lot bigger because whether it’s distances…My son goes to a magnet school and our county is the biggest county in the United States. So he has kids friends that live all over the place that literally would take, 90 minutes to get to it, depending on the time of day and for him to be able to communicate. And, he moved to a different school, when he became a middle schooler as did all his other friends.

Jeanette:             So they’re all scattered. And so, being able to stay connected with them is something very important. But I feel like, I don’t have the answers… Am I a perfect parent in this area? Heck No. But I do want to be diligent and not give up. I don’t want to just be so afraid that I would give up on this and then send my children out to be chewed up by the wolves.

Dave:                    Right.

Jeanette:             I want them to be warriors. I want them to be light. If my son ends up being a YouTuber, I want him to be the best YouTuber in the world. Watch out, everyone here we come. So when we’re watching YouTube together, which we do sometimes, although he doesn’t like it, I make sure I ask, what do you like about this channel?

Jeanette:             Why is this person interesting? What is he doing that good? You know? And a lot of times it’s like, well, the sound quality is excellent. And I’m like, yeah, it matters. And so we talk about even even in those cases, but I don’t want to just go on YouTube and be like, that’s a dumb job, whatever. Cause I don’t think it is, it’s a knowledge job to me. But just like I want anything that my children do to, to make a difference in this world, I’ve got to, say, okay, well I don’t know, understand it. it’s not my thing. I can’t wrap my head around what’s going on. But if that’s what you feel like you’re great at and you love to do, then I’m going to help. Let’s talk about ways that we can make a difference using it. It’s that positive difference for the world, right? And so, I think, whatever we do in word or indeed we do for the glory of God and if that’s the principle we are living by, we’re going to be just fine digital world, real world, whatever and scene.

Dave:                    So I guess it all basically comes down to being a parent, not over relying on the tools and again, engaging with your kid through whatever media, whatever means, all that sorta stuff and just teaching them how to be the kind of people that God wants him to be.

 

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