Here I am sitting at my computer, staring at my speech that I am giving tomorrow, wishing it were on a different topic. It is hard for me to talk about the good in technology these days. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be able to touch as many people with Jesus Christ if technology of social media was non-existent. The bad news is I need to be sure that I am using technology safely and for the right reasons or it can become sinful. Technology can be very evil. It can suck the life out of you. It can lure you in to its pitiful web.
Speaking on this topic is going to be very, very difficult for me. It is a topic that I know I need to talk about, but I know that so many people will not like the statistics that I reveal to them. I know my listeners are all waiting with baited breath to hear about blogging. Blogging is always the draw for this topic. It is a great way to write down your thoughts and communicate your topic to hundreds of people. Not to mention you have a written record of your thoughts for future generations. Yet with the privilege of blogging, comes many responsibilities. If I am not living up to those responsibilities, then I should not be blogging.
Unfortunately, before I can embrace a talk on blogging, I feel it is my duty to let people know the dangers of technology, or what I like to call “Technology Traps.”
Technology can consume us.
Technology can become an idol.
Technology can spread lies.
Technology can be a means to nurse your pride.
Technology can feed lustful thoughts and feelings.
Just what all is under the umbrella of “technology?”
- Social Media
- Cell Phones
- Tablet/IPAD/Surface/IPOD Touch
- Computer games/XBOX/Wii/Playstation
Here are some statistics for you (you will either gasp or think to yourself “no big deal” – I hope it will be the first one):
- 20% of kids have seen nude or semi nude pictures on the internet (which by the way is the catalyst to pornography addiction)
- 85% of parents with kids aged 13-17 report that there child has a social networking account (until kids are in their late teens, they are not capable of making the adult decisions that are needed for posting on social networking accounts)
- 1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied via a social networking account
- 63% of teens say they know how to hide what they do online from their parents
- 52% of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know, including personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves
- 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography
- Pornography is a $95 BILLION industry (this makes it next to impossible to fight)
- 20% of kids in grade 3 have cell phones, 25% of kids in grade 4 have cell phones, 39% of kids in grade 5 have cell phones, 84% of kids in middle school have cell phones, 85% of kids in high school have cell phones (this data did not state a difference between a basic cell phone versus a smart phone)
*All statistics came from the websites Common Sense Media and Enough is Enough.
Technology has taken a direct hit on our families. We need to stop it. I have heard many excuses why parents give in to their children and allow them to be face to face with becoming one of the statistics above. I could list out those excuses but most of you know what they are because you have heard them or you have said them. Do any of those excuses seem good enough after seeing the statistics above?
Because I am a parent of 3 children, I know the difficulty in balancing technology and life. This is why I don’t like to speak on this topic. It is so difficult to do. In fact it is next to impossible to have a technology free home. Technology exists and we must teach our kids the responsibilities and pitfalls that come with technology. The key is to teach them these lessons when they are ready to hear and follow through with the rules. Elementary aged kids are not mentally prepared to make these decisions, nor are most middle school children.
Here is the cognitive development for kids ages 10-14
- Preteens and teens tend to believe that bad things won’t happen to them. This helps explain why they are risk-takers. For example, a young girl may believe she can smoke cigarettes without becoming addicted.
- Preteens and teens believe they are the center of attention. This explains why they are painfully self-conscious – a tiny pimple may seem like the end of the world.
Here is the cognitive development for kids ages 15-18
- Teens are better able to solve problems, think about their future, appreciate opinions of others, and understand the long-term effects of their decisions. However, teens tend to use these skills inconsistently; as a result, they sometimes do things without thinking first.
*Statistics taken from the website Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Being an adult does not eliminate you from the risks of technology. We are all under its thumb. We all make bad decisions when we post things to social medial. We all regret things that we have said or done. It just happens, because we are human.
What we have to do as Christians, is to take the bull by the horns. We have to stop the idolization that has happened all around us. Check out Exodus 32. The people become fearful that Moses will not return from the mountain and they form an idol out of gold. Aaron (Moses’ brother) even helps them. He too falls into the pit of sinfulness. It is so easy to do. They all believed they were doing the right thing. They had seen the Egyptians pray to idols and worship other gods, why can’t they do the same. Moses had left them and probably was never to return.
Ah, but Moses was up on the mountain praying for God to spare their lives. He was praying for them. The Israelites didn’t stop and think about that possibility. They took the easy route.
Exodus 32:21-22 He (Moses) said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” 22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”
Technology cannot become more important than God in our life. We must put a stop to it. We must turn our back on society and show the beauty of what technology can do (when used properly), before it ruins our families.