Ways to Think through New Media

We are living in the Digital Revolution, a time of continuous and often uncomfortable change.  New opportunities arise and with it new dangers lurk, and it can be difficult to keep up with all the new developments.  The internet has changed how we live, shop, learn and find employment.  

How should a Christian respond to all these changes?  

How are we to navigate and shepherd our children through this?

4 Biblical Principles to help guide us in the digital age:

  1. Technology is created by God, He created all of the power, minds and elements to make this all possible.
  2. Technology is not sinful in and of itself.
  3. Technology has many appropriate uses.  We can use it for communication, finances, shopping, education, Christian resources, sermons, etc…
  4. Technology has been perverted and abused by sinners.  Wasting time, pornography, gambling,  predators of abuse, cyberbullying, cheating on exams, stealing files, ID theft, addiction to games, etc… 

We can compare technology to poppies.  Both have been created by God and both have good and bad uses.  Poppies are used to make heroin.  Humans have destroyed God’s good gifts and made them into destructive weapons.

There are 3 possible responses:

  1. Embrace technology without thought.  With every opportunity there is a danger.
  2. Strict separation.  If this approach is used, separation from society may occur, children may “outsmart” their parents which will harm the children and not prepare them for life away from home.  
  3. Disciplined Discernment.   It is vital to learn how to use technology in order to best discern from good/bad, right/wrong and true/false.  

How can you develop discernment in you and your children?

  1.  Educate.  Yourself first, then your children.  Go online and learn how it works.  There are many hidden dangers and we need to learn how to avoid them or how to escape if we stumble upon them.  If kids understand the dangers then they will be more willing to accept boundaries and controls.  Check privacy settings.  Be aware that we are all leaving a digital footprint.  
  2. Fence.  Download antivirus and firewall software to protect your computer and personal information.   This also includes having a filter to keep harmful information out.   Set limits.  This includes how much time we are spending online and knowing someone is checking our browsing history.
  3. Mentor.    We should teach our children, sit and surf the web with them as they learn and steer them away from harmful content.   This includes teaching them what information we can share and which content we download.
  4. Supervise.  As our children get older, we can view them from a distance.  When they are young use physical monitoring and as they get older use more digital monitoring apps.  
  5. Review.  Keep communication open.  Know what your children are looking at.  Teach them to reflect before they reveal.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  6. Trust.  As our children mature, we need to step back and they will need to take personal responsibility.  It is prudent to continue with an accountability partner for life, whether it be your spouse or trustworthy friend.  
  7.  Model.  Demonstrate responsible use of technology.  Show you are willing to be accountable and keep your screen viewable at all times.  Use your technology time wisely and live by example.

We must have a new heart from the Lord.  By nature, humans love darkness rather than light.  Let us pray for ourselves and our children that God would replace love of darkness with love for the Light; only then will we turn our backs from evil.  We can train, legislate and hover but above all, pray that our children will ultimately live and obey not out of the fear of the law but by being kept by the Lord.    

Summary of God’s Technology by Dr. David Murray.