Child Discipleship and Technology

What is technology doing to our children?

(Let me begin with a confession – I’m on the computer over 10 hours a day. I interrupt what I’m working on every time an email sounds; I’m continually checking Facebook and the status of this Blog. In the evenings I sit in front of the TV with my computer on my lap. I awake in the morning with anticipation of what I will find when I turn on the computer. I’m 67 and my brain is pretty well-formed, I was in my 40ties before computers were widely used – if it has such control over me, what is it doing to our children’s brains?)

If you are a Children’s Ministry leader are you providing the parents of the children you serve with the vital information they need in regard to both the dangers of and benefits of technology?

Is your Children’s Ministry adding to this onslaught of today’s culture?

Are you aware that research is showing there is negative neurological damage for children who spend hours a day on the computer, iPod, TV, etc.?

Learned skills that may be affected by today’s technology

  • Delayed Gratification
  • Adaptability
  • Face to face communication skills – difficulty with intimate relationships
  • Accountability
  • Self-soothing skills, coping skills
  • Concentration – persistence – attention span
  • Creativity
  • Memory and Learning are affected – when you don’t use a portion of the brain it is pruned off (How many phone numbers do you have memorized? In the “old” days you would have had many. How could this affect our memory of scripture for that day when it isn’t available to us?”)

Technology is here to stay – but let’s help our families learn to manage it, not be managed by it.

Below are articles with links for your own further personal study. These are just a few of what you can find on the internet.

“The average young person spends more than eight hours each day using technology (computers, PDAs, TV, videos), and much less time engaging in direct social contact. Our UCLA brain-scanning studies are showing that such repeated exposure to technology alters brain circuitry, and young developing brains (which usually have the greatest exposure) are the most vulnerable.”

“Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.”

If this is true of adults whose brains are fully developed – what is it doing to a child’s brain?

“Typically, the concern about our dependence on technology is that it detracts from our time with family and friends in the real world. But psychologists have become intrigued by a more subtle and insidious effect of our online interactions. It may be that the immediacy of the Internet, the efficiency of the iPhone and the anonymity of the chat room change the core of who we are, issues that Dr. Aboujaoude explores in a book, “Virtually You: The Internet and the Fracturing of the Self,” to be released next year.”

The statement below saddened me greatly. Though they see what it does to kids yet they use it more because it is easier for them. It fits with this So much of what we do with children we do for ourselves – we don’t love them enough to do what is best for them.

(Pretty harsh? Over the next few months analyze your own motivations in Children’s Ministry. Be aware of the feeling of power and coolness in having the latest technology available, of bragging that we have it in the children’s ministry for the kids.)

“But even as some parents and educators express unease about students’ digital diets, they are intensifying efforts to use technology in the classroom, seeing it as a way to connect with students and give them essential skills. Across the country, schools are equipping themselves with computers, Internet access and mobile devices so they can teach on the students’ technological territory.”

“Much of the concern about cellphones and instant messaging and Twitter has been focused on how children who incessantly use the technology are affected by it. But parents’ use of such technology — and its effect on their offspring — is now becoming an equal source of concern to some child-development researchers.”

“Multitasking messes with the brain in several ways. At the most basic level, the mental balancing acts that it requires—the constant switching and pivoting—energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning. We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be concentrating on.”



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