Certainly, the host of intellectual challenges our young people face are a threat to their faith. But how often does the typical evangelical kid face the arguments of an atheist or a skeptic? Don’t misread me. Of course we must equip our kids with good apologetics and the ability to deal with skeptical challenges because our youth will encounter them. However, how often will our kids face the challenges of technology? Every. Single. Day. Technology is omnipresent in a student’s world. Whether it’s the internet, social media, or their smartphones, students are daily bombarded with the pressures and provocations of technology. And those challenges can be just as powerful as the challenges of the atheist or skeptic.
- Makes students passive and apathetic.
- Creates distracted young minds.
- Decreases their desire and ability to read.
- Decreases attention spans and the ability to think and concentrate.
- Creates addiction to the screen. (Indeed, some research suggests teens are replacing their drug addiction with smart phone addiction. Teens are addicted to social media, as well.)
- Rewires a student’s brain.
- Inculcates the values of pop culture.
- Allows unfettered access to pornography.
Ultimately, the impact of technology has tremendous potential to slowly but surely erode and undermine the faith of the next generation. So what are parents, pastors, Christian educators and youth workers to do? Put in some hard work to understand this technological revolution and be intentional to combat its harmful and corrosive effects on our youth. In addition, find ways to harness technology for good. Here are five suggestions to equip yourself so that you can equip your kids:
- Preorder the book A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World. John Stonestreet and I spend part of the book tackling technology and show how it shapes our kids, as well as offer practical steps parents and youth leaders can take to help guide their students through this challenge.
- Buy and read Kathy Koch’s excellent book, Screens and Teens: Connecting With Our Kids in a Wireless World. Kathy helps parents understand the lies that technology feeds our kids and offers helpful practices parents can put into place in their family life.
- Subscribe to the The Culture Translator weekly emails from AXIS and “gain weekly insight into how pop culture, technology, and media are influencing your students.”
- Set aside some time to read this interview on “Smartphones and How They Change Us.” It offers some of the most penetrating insight into the impact of technology on our souls that I have read.
- Purchase and watch John Stonestreet’s talk “Amusing Ourselves to Death” from Summit Ministries. John’s talk is excellent.
Choose one or two and start immediately. The faith of the next generation may depend on it.