This week’s practical parenting suggestions is one that we have tried before with the youth group at CCC. It might have a greater impact on older children, but in today’s world, it’d be a worthwhile endeavor even for our younger children.
What we recommend is periodically to have a “Tech-NO” fast. It could be a day, a few days, a week, or even more. It’s up to you and your family. By “tech-no” time, we mean unplugging from all of your family’s typical forms of entertainment and leisure that are technology-based (television, computers, internet, cell phones, gaming systems, iPads, iPods, etc.). Why do we suggest that?
Anything or anyone that we love, give more attention to, or care more about, than Jesus is an idol. Many of those things aren’t evil in and of themselves; they are actually good. But our obsession with them turns them into idols. And in our youngest generation, technology has produced all sorts of devices that fit that bill. Think of how much time we spend with our cell phones, iPods, televisions, and computers. The amount of time is staggering. Sadly, many of us would miss those items more if they were taken away than we would our Bibles.
If you decide to undertake a “Tech-NO” time from your family, here are a few practical suggestions:
- Participate yourselves as parents. Don’t ask your kids to do something that you are not willing to do.
- Tell your kids in advance, so they can be prepared for it…Do NOT put the idea up for a vote or make it debate-able though. You are a parent. You have authority in your family.
- Make sure they know the time-frame of the fast, and stick to it (don’t cave to whining or complaining).
- Talk with them about why you are doing it beforehand, and debrief with them afterward to see how the time impacted them.
- Literally unplug things, remove power cords, or confiscate devices if you think your kids will be tempted to work around the fast in secret (or if you think YOU will).
- Use the fasting time to worship, read, and pray together as a family. These disciplines might not be as readily appealing to your child as a game or show, but talk with them about how valuable and worthy Jesus is of our time and attention–FAR more than any dumb device of ours.
- Try to provide constructive and edifying activities for your kids in place of their usual entertainment. Books to read? Cleaning? Exercise? Projects to work on together? Board games to play? Puzzles? etc.
So give it a try sometime. We think you’ll be glad you did!