As an educator for 41 years, I have been a careful observer of teen culture and how it has changed over the years. Much hasn’t changed – the desire to fit in, the tendency to engage in dangerous behavior, etc. But what has changed is the amount of time teens spend connected to each other and digital media through their cell phones, ipods, and computers. Obviously these devices didn’t exist for teens thirty years ago and so one could argue that my observation is a rather obvious one and not really worth much.
I’ve been involved in computing technology since it came into the school over thirty years ago and in fact I was the one who introduced computers to our high school. But what has taken me completely by surprise is the way teens of embraced the new technology in the last few years and have become connected to each other and the world 24/7.
The degree to which kids are connected presents a challenge to teachers and parents alike. But there is an important dimension to this that I think we as Christian men need to consider and that is the implications for us as Christians when we consider what is lost when more and more time is being devoted to online communication. I would encourage you to read Dr. Albert Mohler’s recent article and listen to his radio broadcast on this subject. He is responding to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation which found that the average teen spends over 7 hours per day connected in some way. Christians, and especially Christian fathers, need to pay close attention to these findings and determine how they are going to provide the strong leadership necessary to make sure their families use media wisely and take the necessary time to unplug and spend time talking, reading, praying and a whole host of other activities that are being lost because of the amount of time being devoted to online communication.
You can access Dr. Mohler’s article at http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/01/21/like-the-air-they-breathe-the-online-life-of-kids//
The radio broadcast can be found here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/01/21/“like-the-air-they-breathe”-—-the-online-life-of-kids/
The Kaiser Report can be found here: http://www.kff.org/entmedia/mh012010pkg.cfm