Monday, November 16, 2009

Cell phones, Texting and Immaturity or Raising Biblically Discerning Children in a Teckie World

My kids think I hate technology. (Rather an interesting statement considering I have a web page and my own blog.) However, in all fairness to them, I am rather quick to point out the problems with technology, focusing on the negatives rather than the positives.

We were discussing the possibility of getting unlimited texting on our recent phone upgrade. Up until this time only one of my children really uses texting in a way that would necessitate an "unlimited" status. So, we discussed the cost, the need, and the problems associated with texting. As usual, our discussion turned into a rather intense discourse eventually leading to the statement I began with. "Mom, why do you hate technology?"

Technology, a gift from God, is a wonderful thing. Amongst the thousands of things I could list, I will say that I love my washing machine, dryer, microwave, oven, and vacuum cleaner. I love the television, radio, I-pod, computer, yes, and even my cell phone. Yet, amidst all the technological advances, we seem to have lost something as well. Raising Biblical sons and daughters takes a lot of work and discernment; however, it seems that with all of the advancements, happening at a dizzying pace, discernment has fallen by the wayside.

Since the benefits of technology are obvious to all, I need not spend time listing them: they are numerous. However, I would like to point out some of the disadvantages that seem to be disregarded and all but forgotten. In order to limit my discussion, I would like to address my concerns primarily to cell phones and texting (facebooking could also be included).
1. Cell phones, texting (facebooking) and immaturity. As parents, the convenience of our children having their own cell phones and the capabilities of texting is very advantageous, for us and for them. But should convenience override the fact that many immature and undiscerning children are carrying around phones and having conversations we know nothing about.

The family phone used to be in the kitchen and many times my mom would be privy to my conversations, which were comparably few to the phone calling and/or texting kids do today. As an immature child I needed correction and she would instruct me on my unkind language, gossip, and sharing of inappropriate confidences. She knew who I talked to and why. She was able to guide me in a way that taught me to watch my mouth for it is very important to God how we use our tongues. When I reached a level of maturity in which my parents were more confident, I was allowed more privileges. I had a good background in Biblical understanding and had memorized and applied verses such as Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" or Proverbs 15:2 "The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly."

I have unintentionally (another point to can't be anywhere with out hearing somebody talking on their cell phone) overheard many conversations by immature children (and adults) having conversations that make me blush. Many of these conversations are in Christian churches and youth groups. It is commonplace and natural in the way they talk revealing many years of unsupervised and undisciplined training in the area of conversation. It is a by-product of allowing immature children access to a medium that they are not ready to handle.

Therefore, my conclusion is this.....Cell phones, texting, and facebooking are great tools if your son or daughter has reached a level of Spiritual maturity to be discerning. It needs to be clearly evident in their walk with the Lord that they can handle this kind of responsibility and be an example to their peers. Unless that is true have them wait for this kind of privilege afforded by technology.

I will continue this discussion in a future blog. Until then, let us use technology in a way that is wise and discerning and glorifies God.