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Summer Tech Check-In

How’s your tech going this summer? Summer comes with less structure, more free time, and different hours — generally we’re not waking our children up at 6am in the summer to get their rears in gear.

A tech check-in takes just a couple minutes, and it is a great launchpad for positive tech conversations.

Today we’ll discuss how you can use three intentional questions to empower you to get those tech wins at home, no matter how healthy or unhealthy your tech is right now:

  1. Is my tech safe?
  2. Is it a good fit for my child?
  3. Does my child’s tech make him or her look like Jesus?

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Nathan Sutherland:

Hello everyone and welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. My name is Nathan Sutherland, and this podcast is dedicated to helping families love God and use tech. Today we are taking a chance here, a full month plus into summer, depending where you are in the United States, and we’re going to look at how is our tech doing this summer? Often we are in different rhythms, but at this point, we’re in a summer rhythm. We generally are waking up later, going to bed later. Here in the northwest, it stays light out until 9:30, 10:00 PM. We’re basically southern Alaska this time of year. And so it’s hard sometimes for our kids to go to bed, so our kids bedtimes have extended and then guess what? We’re not waking them up at 6:00 AM to get to school. So our time is different, and our tech rhythms are different. We don’t have the drive and the demand of multiple sports and of school every day, and of the regular relational cadence that we have in life. This is a little more relaxed.

We got back from a cool little family trip to the Oregon coast here this last week. And that was lovely and beautiful and our kids played with cousins for just a week straight, and we’re exhausted. They just yesterday started to recover from this trip. But thinking through that, what does that look like with our tech then? What are we doing with our tech? So that’s going to be the conversation. Is it going the way we think it’s going? How do we know? We can answer it in three quick questions. I guess technically four, four quick questions. And by the end of the conversation we’ll know, hey, are we going to get a tech win by celebrating that things are going well? Because again, the point isn’t be tech perfect. The point is be tech purposeful. Let’s make sure we celebrate the wins if we got them. Or if we go, oh wow, that’s actually not what we want to have happening, let’s get the tech have happen… That sentence was awkward.

That’s not what we want to have happen. There it is. Let’s then go to our child and say, “Hey, this is different. Let’s get the tech win by redirecting that conversation, by being relational, and by fixing whatever the problem is in conversation with our kiddo. We’re talking young as six. Little kids can get this. They understand that there are boundaries, and that’s out of love, not out of fear. And so that’s what we want to do today. With no further ado then, let’s get this conversation started.

Welcome to the Gospel Tech Podcast, a resource for parents who feel overwhelmed and outpaced as they raise healthy youth in a tech world. As an educator, parent and tech user, I want to equip parents with the tools, resources, and confidence they need to raise kids who love God and use tech.

Thank you to everyone who’s helped make this podcast possible. Entering August is always a super cool time here at Gospel Tech because this is our fundraiser season. So here, coming up in, man, two and a half weeks, we’ve got our fifth annual fundraiser. I was notified by a friend back east that this isn’t a fundraiser, this is a backyard picnic. And I’m perfectly fine with that. It is literally a backyard picnic we’re going to be doing. But the reason I love this is my time of year when I get the reason to set aside my regular daily kind of content creation work and truly reflect and intentionally prey on what has the Lord done this year? What’s our heart with gospel tech? And so it’s a super cool time because I really learned three things. One, God’s been incredibly faithful well before we ever started this work and preparing our hearts to do it. Seeing God’s provision and financial needs and health and the opportunity to do this work and open doors, people bringing us to their churches and seeing gospel tech grow has been great.

And then just on our personal side of recognizing this is work we need. We’re doing gospel tech because we’re raising three kids in a tech world, not because we have all the answers. So it has been an amazing blessing. Thanks for making this happen. Please if this is helpful, share it with your friends, take it to your church. We are booking talks. I guess that’d be the part of number two, is we’re booking talks now into January, which is awesome. So we have those booked. We have a couple more available in January, and then it’s going to be 2024 scheduling, which is cool. And I’ll tease this here because it’s actually a thing. I think I mentioned it once before, but the Gospel Tech book is becoming a thing. I’m writing it. It’s actually in editing right now, meaning Anna did her first full draft edits on it, and we are getting that to roll hopefully January, which is why I don’t want to hype it up too much right now.

It’s not coming out next month, but it is like it’s my version is done, and my version has been done twice with Anna’s brain adding to that. So just a little sneak peek behind the curtain in there. But that Gospel Tech book is going to be a thing, and the heart behind it being I’m trying to make it as condensed as possible, to basically be you come to a talk or you listen to this podcast, and you’re excited and you want it for someone in your life, you’ll hand them this book. And my hope is it’s going to be like a hundred pages. I don’t want it to be a 500 page tome that no one’s going to read even if it’s got great info. I want this thing to be practical and applicable and accessible. So that wasn’t in my notes, but I decided to throw it in there.

Anyway, all right. With that conversation, let’s begin our conversation on, is our tech healthful this summer? Well, let’s summer tech check-in. First, let’s take a quick moment to reflect what tech are you using. You can pause this if you need to. You are welcome to write it down on a piece of paper, say it out loud, talk it out with your family if you’re in the car right now or wherever you’re listening. But let’s run through this. Just from my family, here’s what summer tech looks like. We’ve got laptop for show. Again, our family right now does not have a TV. We’re going on year two and a half of that. We use a laptop, pull that out of the drawer, watch a show. Our kids are currently watching things like Wild Kratts, still getting it done for our kids. That’s perfectly fine with me. We don’t need new shows just to have new ones.

Full disclosure, we do watch one called Grizzly and the Lemmings. It’s basically if Wiley Coyote mixed with the minions. It is like the silliest thing you’ve ever seen. They’re like seven minutes. They are nuts. I’m not going to stand by this show for everybody because I’m pretty sure that if I watched it as a kid, it would make me bounce off the walls, but my kids do fine, so whatever. Please don’t judge me if you watch that. We have a laptop for like a family movie night. We do a family showtime. Again, shout out to Dude Perfect. If you haven’t watched their most recent video on their golf Guinness record attempts, it’s phenomenal. So please spend 12 minutes of your life and watch that at some point. But just family showtime, we use that. Kids listen to audio books, and the boys use Duolingo. And by the way, just on Duolingo, if you’re letting a kid use an app, I use Guided Access on an iPhone.

So Guided Access, you can just Google how to set up. It’s under accessibility. You triple tap your power button, and it basically locks the screen onto whatever they’re doing. So they can’t leave it, they can’t follow links, they can’t click on ads. They can’t do anything other than this one app you’ve got them in, but they can go throughout the entire app, and that’s great. So we use Duolingo. The boys are trying to learn Spanish. And Henry’s excited about Japanese, and so he works really hard at it, and that’s great. So that’s the tech we’re currently using. Maybe you use other tech time or there’s individual tech time. Maybe your family uses social media or video games or learning apps. Maybe you allow your children to use shows or social media in independent places. That’s just we want to recognize that. So right now, you need to make sure you know what your tech is that your family’s using.

Then three simple questions. Question one, is this tech safe? We get these cadences for summer. We did it because it was fun or because we were on a trip, because the cousins were over. Whatever the reasoning was, we changed a normal tech habit. And now we’ve got this tech, and we just want to make sure, is it safe? I understand that. Let’s reflect what is safe tech? Safe tech is tool tech. It’s designed to help you create. Think Microsoft Word. There’s no notifications, levels. There’s not any internet requirements. Word does use the internet if you have it, but you don’t have to be online. You’re not going someplace where distractions are inevitable. It doesn’t have any social media built in. There’s no social media. There’s no likes or comments or any of that stuff, ranking, rewards, or any other gamified behavioral training.

It’s just a device, or a tech, excuse me, a piece of tech that helps you do some task. It leverages your creativity in case of word. It’s a really fancy word shovel, right? I want to dig a word hole, and I’m going to use this thing to do it. I’m going to be able to type it, save it to the cloud, share it through email if I need to. And it’s very functional at that. It’s going to be public. So first is its tool tech. The second is its public. A lot of our, I need privacy for this because I’m in class on a Zoom call or whatever, that doesn’t exist, so let’s make sure we have our public tech. Generally in a public space, again, our laptop is the only family device we have, and it stays in a drawer. And if our children want to use it, or if they want to use our phone to listen to an audiobook or to do something, guided access comes out.

So now I know I’m not allowing you to use my entire phone. I’m allowing you to use this specific program. And that has been really functional and helpful for us. There’s no browsers or apps. So some of us, so watching a movie on a DVD would be different than watching a movie on Netflix, or even off YouTube. If your child is using a browser or an app, just make sure that you have a hedge around that. We need a hedge around our device, our network and our family, meaning… We’ve talked about it for the family part, they know what is appropriate and appropriate. They know what’s safe and unsafe. They’ve heard these words before. You can go to episode 166 or 173 if you want more on building hedges. But just know that the safest tech isn’t going to have a browser, and it’s not going to have apps.

Again, my child using Duolingo, that’s not safe if I just handed him Duolingo because sometimes ads are crazy, because sometimes the internet is distracting. So I use guided access. Now, I’ve locked that app into something that is much, much safer. I’m not just going to do it for any app, but in that particular app, it’s been vetted. Whereas something, even like YouTube, I could use guided access. But YouTube itself has content that I don’t want my children seeing, so now I need another layer. I need something that locks it into restricted mode. I need something that blocks ads, whether I’m paying for the premium version or I’m using an ad blocker. Those are conversations that we need to make sure we’ve had when we talk about, all right, is it a browser, is it an app? If it is, those are inherently unsafe. They’re there both for engagement. They’re trying to keep you longer than you wanted to stay. And there’s all sorts of content you’re not in control of, from the ads to the links to the people, they run into the comments to just the quality of the content itself.

I will say iPhone and iOS 17 is coming with a default content blocker for searches. So you can basically say this user account is 12 or younger and it will automatically blur, which is phenomenal. So that’s that’s progress. We’re defaulting to safety. We’re defaulting to healthy choices. Yes. But we’re not all the way there yet. Individual apps aren’t doing it. TikTok doesn’t do that yet. And Apple won’t be blocking TikTok content with that. It’s just for searches. So the fourth and final thing… So is our tech, is it tool tech? Is it public? Is it a browser or an app? And then finally, the safest tech is going to be accountable. Basically remove the lie of internet anonymity. The internet loves to tell us that we can do whatever we want and be whoever we want and no one has to know that’s a lie.

God knows us. I mean he sees what we do, and he loves us in spite of that. This is not meant to be a God’s boogeyman, and he’s going to find out. So you better get really sneaky. This is a God already knows. And while you were making that poor decision… This was a friend of mine who said this, and I love it. Jesus is standing next to you saying, “I love you. I love you so much.” You made that search, and he’s standing there going, “I love you.” He loves you enough to say that that was a bad choice, that that’s bad for your heart, not because he’s arbitrary, but because sin leads to death a hundred percent of the time. You’re killing relationships, you’re killing your conscience, you’re killing your joy and he’s saying, I love you. Stop. I love you. Turn around. I love you. Repent.

And that’s what we want for accountability for our kids, for ourselves. We want that ability to put to death our sins, and we do that by repenting, by confessing, saying the words out loud, and by turning away and allowing our hearts to be retrained, to find joy in new choices. So that’s going to be the safe tech piece. I spent all that time because we need to know is the tech itself a good choice? Is this tech safe? Question number one, once you’ve assessed what tech your family’s using, where it’s at in your house, is it safe? And if not great, this is a chance to go to your child and say, “Hey, we got in a family rhythm because of A, B, or C,” whatever your reasoning is, “and we’re going to make a new choice because this tech isn’t safe.”

It’s not tool tech, it’s drool tech. It’s not public, it’s private. It’s not independent of browsers or apps. It’s just free Wild West internet. It’s not accountable. We have no way of knowing what’s happening on this device or in this technology, and therefore we’re changing something. Maybe it’s the tech. Maybe you’re going to go build those hedges. You put a network hedge up around something like an Xbox or a PlayStation, because those devices can be hard to be accountable. Well, they get access to the internet through wifi, so now your wifi has a hedge around it, and that helps you hold accountable what’s happening and where people are going through those devices. Because they do have internet browsers through them, they’re often online with other people. So that would be an example of where we’re going. The second question we’re asking then, once we know is the tech safe is simply, is this tech… Oh, sorry, before we move on, if the tech is not safe, we need to take steps to amend that.

I mentioned with Duolingo, using guided access, or with Audible, using guided access so it’s just that one device. Great. I’ve actually found, by the way, with Audible… Anna pointed this out. She’s like, Yeah, but there’s still a whole store of books that we don’t want our children clicking on.” Very true. Guided access does let you lock parts of the screen. And I’ve actually found that with Audible specifically, it’s really annoying, but I have to in… Let’s see, I do it in full screen mode because there’s like the little mini bar down at the bottom of Audible that has the play bar. I have to maximize that. So it’s the full screen, use guided access. And you can lock everything using one, two, three, four… I use four different rectangles of blocking screen contact points, and so there’s just the play button. And that way, they can click play, they can click stop.

They can’t change the volume, and they can’t browse. And the reason I say that it can be a little bit trickier when it’s in the sub bar, but basically block every contact point on screen, but the play button. And then I found I have to reset it every single time. I don’t know if it’s like a bug in the software version I have. But if I stop guided access, restart it later, now, you can just click right through it. So just double check that, families. But this being said, we now know the tech we’re using. But is this tech safe? Is it right for my child? Excuse me. “Is it right for my child right now?” is the second question. Because I know it’s safe, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a good fit. And for this, we’re simply using our RESET. This is something that I hope you sounds super familiar with you. And if you’re new to Gospel Tech, RESET is something we use a lot.

It’s a way to simply say, is this tech a good fit for this child right now? RESET means, does this tech improve or impede my child’s… And RESET is an acronym that stands for relationships and responsibilities, enjoyment, sleep, emotions and time. Does this tech improve my child’s friendships, their willingness to do their chores, their family time? The work that they’re doing, like anything they’re committed or invested in, are they doing better at it because of this technology? It could, right? That’s the whole point of a lot of families getting these dumb phones is, “Hey, this dumb phone helps my child stay connected. This dumb phone helps my child be safe when they go away, that they can call and text when practice is over,” or whatever, right? Cool, that’s great. Please do it. That’s the reason I love Bark and the Bark phone. Bark is an app that lets you have a high level of accountability without destroying trust so you’re not spying on your child. But when things go sideways, you get a notification, like a little digital dog is barking at you, letting you know something’s off.

That is a way to restore and retain relationships. I love that. The Bark phone is great too. It starts as a dumb phone, and then you can upgrade it as it goes. I know there’s other great phones out there. I will simply say the Gabb phone can be great too. I’ve heard some complaints more recently that Gabb runs into some software issues where it just doesn’t do what you tell it to do. And I get that that can be really frustrating. The Bark phone is more expensive, but it’s also a little more smooth, and it’s a newer version of a phone too. So both of those are great options. That’s just an example of tech helping your child have better relationships and responsibilities. Sometimes people are like, “When has tech ever made our relationships better?” It can. It absolutely can. And social media absolutely can, and video games absolutely can. And check those little things of how they’re chores, family time work.

Then we go to enjoyment. And really, what I’m looking at here says, your child use this tech from hope or for hope, meaning are they using this app, are they playing this game, are they listening to this music, are they watching these shows because they love life? So to use my children, for example, my children love life, they love playing. And they also enjoy shows. They watch Wild Kratts. And then the Wild Kratts inspire them to go look for frogs in the backyard. Underneath our trampoline has insanely deep grass, and frogs and gardener snakes love to live in that area. And the kids love to try to find them, inspired by this show. It builds on their love of real life. Whereas in my life, video games for example, I used games for hope. I used them because I wasn’t okay in daily life. And therefore, video games weren’t something I went to because life was so awesome.

Video games were something I got to because I made it through life, and now I’m getting back to something that’s awesome. That doesn’t mean video games are like that for everyone. I’m not bashing video games. I’m simply saying, check does your child extend their enjoyment to this technology they’re using, or is this technology the thing they use, or the more they use it, is this technology the only thing they start to enjoy and all their other things start to wilt? That’s what I’m trying to get to is using tech from hope or for hope. “Are they using it because they like life, or are they using it in order to life?” as Micah would say. And shout up Micah Roberts. So next would be sleep. Does tech improve or impede their sleep? Basically, do they have drool tech in their bedroom?

Next would be emotions. Do they use this tech… Again, from hope or for hope would apply here, but what I’m specifically looking at is, do they need this to be okay? Do they have a codependent relationship with technology? I guess my video game thing would be an example of that, is I wasn’t okay when I didn’t have video games. I could make it any amount of days and weeks, but as soon as I was expecting game time, I would be crushed if it wasn’t there. And there were certain parts of life that were just like, this is what I need right now. I’ve earned it. This is my way of relaxing. And if I don’t get it, I’m not all right, and that’s going to make you not, all right. I will punish you guys. That’s what we’re looking for specifically, emotional. Can they be calibrated and at peace without this particular piece of technology?

And then finally time. Can they set a limit and be content? Can they walk away? So now we know is it a good fit for our child right now, if we run into a reset and say, “Oh wow, my child’s enjoyment is going all into this one particular tech piece, that’s a conversation point now. This isn’t for you to come in and swoop in and go, “Aha, I caught you being bad with tech.” This is a chance for you to be a loving parent, say, “Hey, I’ve noticed when you use this technology, son or daughter of mine, when you use this tech, you, I don’t know, blow off your relationships. You blow off your responsibilities. You’re less engaged in life and things that we see you loving. We see you enjoy the things you are wired to enjoy less.” Again, I use the examples of my own kids, but Owen, Henry, and Hadley are wired to very particular things for different reasons.

So all three of them love board games right now. I just bought Hadley a unicorn board game because she made an excellent pitch. We’re at a board game shop. She came up to me and held this box and said, “Daddy, I don’t have any games with unicorns.” And so now I own a pink board game with unicorns. And so they all like them, but Hadley likes them because people play with her, and because unicorns. Henry loves them because it’s something he can do independently and something that he can do quietly and that he can do with his older brother specifically. And then Owen, excuse me, loves them because rules. He loves rules. He loves so many rules. And I keep finding games with more intense rules. And he’s like, “Yes, more of that.” So that’s awesome. And they like them for different reasons. They happen to enjoy the same thing. That’s great. But that’s what we’re looking at, is does this bring out the good stuff, excuse me, in our kiddos, or is it bringing out things that don’t?

When it comes to their enjoyment, what do they enjoy, we want to make sure that that’s not becoming the only thing they enjoy, right? So that’s where we’re at in our second question, is this tech a good fit for my kid? It can be perfectly safe tech, but if it’s causing your child to wilt in these areas, so the relationships and responsibilities, enjoyment, sleep, emotions and time, if it’s… We want them to improve the relationships and responsibilities to improve their enjoyment. They’re extending this tech use into enjoyment in other areas, to improve their sleep. Yes, there is tech, by the way. There’s tech that can block screen time, that can turn off the internet, that can stop apps at certain times of day. This is where Griffin routers and apps like Bark can be very useful, or even the Bark phone where you can shut off specific apps and things at certain times of day from a parental app. That’s great. It can improve sleep.

It improves emotional wellbeing. And whether this is connecting with friends in positive ways or having great outlets, or just having some fun enjoyment, emotional wellbeing can absolutely be improved because of technology. And their time. You can use it to set time limits. They can be content. And that’s a wonderful adult life skill to learn, to know, hey, you know what? This is becoming unhealthy because of the amount of time I’m investing in it, and therefore I’m changing my behavior. Please train your children up in that. The third then, once we know is the tech safe and is it a good fit for my child right now, the third thing we’re asking about tech for this summer is, does my child’s tech make them look more like Jesus?

I used to word this differently, but this is how I actually mean it, and so I’m just being as specific as possible. When our child uses this tech, do they look like Jesus? I said this at a talk a couple weeks ago, and I got an audible laugh. And this isn’t meant to be a joke. I’m really not going for a punchline here. I want to ask, when we use this tech, does it help us experience and extend love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control? Galatians 5:22. Because it can. There’s absolutely a time when technology can help you be more loving. It can help you be present, it can help you be engaged, it can help you know about what’s happening in the world in an individual as you care, excuse me, you care about. And it can help you extend that to others. It can help you be loving to people who are hurting.

In fact, I’m using technology right now, tool tech, albeit, but this is tech. And absolutely, my prayer is that this is encouraging and helpful for you. Not only that you feel better, but that you are empowered to go into your child’s life, or if you’re a young person listening to this, that you are empowered to reflect on your own life, to speak into your parents’ life, and to be loving as a resource for your friends so that you can help them experience what Christ has for them to look more like Jesus, not because you have all the right rules or because you never make a mistake, but because when you make a mistake, you listen to the Holy Spirit, because you are repentant. And believing in trusting in Jesus is your righteousness, and therefore you’re a new creation, and you are going to live from that truth.

So love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, all that is the fruit that’s going to extend from you abiding in Christ. If it’s not there, then that tech now becomes a problem. If this tech doesn’t help us look more like Jesus, then we either need to adapt how we’re using that tech, or maybe the tech isn’t good. I understand that sometimes there’s tech that’s well-made, that’s award-winning. It might even be perfectly safe. But when we use it, we don’t extend the fruit of Christ, we extend sensuality and idolatry and sorcery, enmity and strife, jealousy, fits of rage, rivalries, dissension, division, envy, and sexual immorality, that when we use this technology either, because our own personal past and our own baggage that we’ve got with our flesh, or because this tech is actively fighting good decisions, we extend this stuff. Think about social media. When you use social media, do you extend love, joy, peace, patience and kindness?

Or do you experience jealousy, fits of rage, rivalries and dissension? This can be within the church. We go out there and we want to call out other church organizations. And sometimes it needs to happen. People are believing unhealthy, unsafe, and unbiblical doctrine, and you have a relationship with that person. Sometimes though, we just like to go find forums on Reddit or Discord or YouTube, and we just want to get in shouting matches and get the last word and feel awesome. And we break a sweat and it becomes a form of weird, unhealthy entertainment for us. If that’s you, please repent, please change, and please find a way to use this tech well. It can be used well. Maybe you need to actually go out and make your own gospel centered content and start sharing that with the internet. Great. Do that in love, do it courageously, and do it in a way that’s going to be healthful and intentional on your end. But it needs to be producing good fruit, I guess.

We can speak biblical truths in a way that isn’t producing good fruit. And we’ve all seen that. We’ve all seen people speaking loving words out of hate, right? Not because they want to see people repent, but because they’re mad. I would think of Jonah in this case, right? Why did Jonah run away? Not because he didn’t believe God, but because he did. He knew God would save Nineveh, and he didn’t want it. He wanted them to burn. That’s not loving. That wasn’t God’s heart for Nineveh. God’s heart was for them to repent, and that needs to be our heart as well. We need to be lovingly guiding people towards repentance, not just being right on the internet.

So how are we doing with what fruit we’re producing? When I say safe tech, as well with that tool tech, you could use email to do any number of these Galatians 5:19-21, you can use email for sensuality and idolatry, and enmity and strife and jealousy and rage and rival, right? All of those can happen with email, even though it’s tool tech. In fact, email’s probably one of the least healthy things for a lot of us as adults because we use it to extend our kingdoms rather than God’s kingdom, because this is where I get my work stuff. This is where I get people reaching out to me for things that make me feel important and valuable and powerful. So that’s what we’re talking about. So does my child then use his tech and look more like Jesus? Again, it’s just the do they extend the fruit of the spirit?

If they do, this is another spot to get a win by celebrating and say, “Hey, son or daughter. I’ve noticed that when you use this technology, man, you look so much like Jesus. I love it when you play that game. I love it when you watch that show. I love it when you listen to that music because you look like Jesus afterwards. And I love that, and the world is going to notice that, right? People are going to say, ‘Hey, I’ve noticed the joy you have when you play or listen to this music, when you engage this game, when you participate in technology in this way. That’s cool.'”

And it’s also optional that there’s concerning technology, that, “Hey, son daughter of mine, every time you watch this show, use that app, play that game, use those websites, hang out with those people in that format, man, you come away bitter and angry and cynical and isolated. You come away just spewing venom, or being sarcastic or losing sleep. Something changes in the way. I’ve seen God wire you and the fruit he’s called us to bear. And I want to talk about that. What’s going on?” That’s where we’re going to build a hedge. If you don’t have one. Your device needs to have accountability. Your network needs to have protections. Your family needs to have talked out expectations so your child doesn’t feel like you’re playing whack-a-mole with them, and they’re just trying to get away with as much as they can. They need to know what is expected, where that’s coming from, and what God calls them to do heaven be, even if they’re not a repentant Christian at this moment, right?

They might not be, and that’s okay in terms of you as a parent needing to love them where they’re at. That’s not your job to save them. It is your job to love them. And that’s going to be speaking biblical truth and making those poor decisions is hard to make as possible while they’re under your roof and using your wifi basically. So that’s this third part of the conversation. Does my child’s tech make them look like Jesus? I’m not being hyperbolic there. It’s not meant to be a punchline. It’s a literal thing. And I’ve found it very clarifying for myself because sometimes I can’t figure out what’s wrong with the tech and I may never know it. In fact, researchers are doing this now. This is a fun fact. Researchers are going, “You know what? Every time we try to prove that a particular type of tech is bad, we just get blown up.” And so these three researchers… I want to say they’re out of California, yeah, not UC Berkeley. I can find it, but I’ll just tell you what the general findings were.

The general findings were they said, “Hey, we’re not going to be able to prove that tech is bad. Every time we do, someone from some trillion dollar tech company comes and just blows us up and threatens us with libel or slandering their company. So instead, we’re simply going to do research on what if the kids don’t use it? So rather than saying, ‘Hey, all these kids are going to use smartphones, and look, we’ve proved X is wrong, or all these kids play video games,’ we just removed it and we said, ‘Hey, all of these kids don’t have smartphones.'” That was one of their studies. And they’re like, hey, it turns out that not having a smartphone improves test scores, improves sleep, improves emotional quotient, their ability to handle stress and be emotionally intelligent.

So we can’t necessarily prove what’s wrong sometimes with technology, but we can see the after effects. And we can say, “Hey, I don’t love seeing this fruit come up.” So since I can’t prove what’s wrong, we’re just going to make these adjustments. We’re going to change the time of day we use it. We’re going to change the type of technology we use. We’re going to change who we use it with. We’re going to change for how long, how often. Whatever your family’s expectations are, we’re going to remove the unhealthy, replace it with healthier options. Sometimes those are analog options, things that aren’t on the internet, and we’re going to just going to have fun in real life and train our brains to enjoy those type two fun, the fun that takes work.

Then that would be an amazing chance to look more like Jesus in whatever you do. And that’s my hope and my prayer for this conversation, that as we reflect on this, we know what tech we’re using. We know if it’s safe, if it’s a good fit for our children right now based on a reset, and if it makes them look more like Jesus, using Galatians 5:19-22, and say that out loud. This isn’t secret behind the curtain work for you. This is a chance for you to engage your child, read scripture with them and begin talking about what God’s expectations are for your son or daughter, and what that can look like. If it’s going well, why it’s going well. And if it’s not, what can be done in love, in relationship intentionally because the end purpose isn’t be perfect with your tech. It’s be perfect like Christ is perfect, and your righteousness extends from Christ when you put your faith in him.

If you do not believe in Jesus, this is our conversation to talk about that and saying, “Hey, what are you looking to for hope? What are you looking to when you need to do better? Is it just a hard work thing? And how’s that going?” And then working through this is what the gospel says, that you are a sinner in need of a savior. God’s already done everything you need in Christ. He came and lived a life that was perfect, died in your place and rose again so that you could have His Holy Spirit be made a son of God. Yes, ladies, even you were sons of God, it has to do with his inheritance you’re getting. The sons were the inheritors of the family wealth. His wealth is his Holy Spirit, so that yes, you can live forever with him, but you can do good works. Ephesians 2:10 says he’s prepared good works for you to do in Christ, and that those works are going to be empowered by the Holy Spirit that he’s given you. So that’s the good news of the gospel. That’s why we’re gospel tech.

And that’s why if we’re looking at this and saying, “Hey, we got to make a change,” please do. Make a change right now in summer so that these conversations could get rolling. So when school starts, whether it’s homeschool or public or private school, when you jump into the classroom, your rhythms are now reflecting your family’s expectations and the life you want to be training your child up into. So I hope this is encouraging and helpful. If you have any questions, you can reach out to me, [email protected]. You can find us on social media, Instagram and Facebook @LoveGodUseTech, and you can join us next week as we continue this conversation about how we can love God and use tech.

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