I’ll never forget the day I got my driver’s license. It was all I could talk about for an entire year before. It was a time-honored tradition back then: do whatever necessary to get your license by the time you’re fifteen, no later than sixteen. That little plastic ID got me and my friends out of the house and enabled us to hang out with each other whenever and wherever we wanted. My driver’s license was key to my social world.
Boy, times sure have changed.
The driver’s license has lost some of its importance. Some teenagers aren’t earning their licenses until they’re eighteen or older. My teenage son, Trent, told me that that was the pervasive attitude in his own peer group. One of his friends actually told his parents: “Why would I want to get my license? I like being chaufferred around.”
Thanks to social media, teenagers don’t have to drive all the way across town to hang out with friends. They can feel connected with everyone they know without ever leaving their bedroom.
Reports show that teenagers spend an average of nine hours a day with tech – phones, tablets, iPods, computers, television, video games, etc. Tweens (8- through 12-year-olds) have almost 6 hours a day of screen time.
Tech is a great tool for work, play, and for connecting with others. But it’s lousy when it interferes with relationships and constructive behavior. When you’re ignoring the people right in front of you because you’re focused on your virtual world, there’s a problem.
On today’s program, we want to help your children become tech-enabled, not tech-dependent.
Your children might be more ready for a change than you think. Common Sense Media asked parents and teenagers if they thought they were too dependent on technology. To no one’s surprise, 66 percent of parents said, “Yes.” But so did 52 percent of teenagers.
Joining us for our radio program “Connecting with Your Tech-Absorbed Child” is Jonathan McKee. He’s sharing practical suggestions from his book 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone-Obsessed Kid.
The answers, he says, are rooted in Deuteronomy 6:7: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
How do we have conversations with our children and teach them discernment about tech as we walk along the road of life?