Recently, our parents had the opportunity to view Kirk Cameron’s film, Connect, as part of our Parent.Ed series. The film is a documentary depicting the quandary Kirk and his wife found themselves in after purchasing cell phones for their six children. As many of us do, the couple felt pressured by their children to provide the devices. Quickly, they begun questioning their decision to grant their children’s requests. The film walks the viewer through the journey that Kirk travels to determine the best way to educate himself on the dangers of technology, specifically social media. He is also on a quest to discover the best way to monitor his children’s use of technology and assist them in finding a balance with their use of technology.
Here to Stay
As all of us know, cell phones are a huge part of our daily lives. There are pros and cons to every aspect of technology, and the internet and social media are no exception. Through the film, Kirk Cameron illustrates the cautions that we should share with our children as they use technology and surf the web. Our children need to be aware of the dangers that exist and how to protect themselves. Most importantly, we as parents need to educate ourselves and set boundaries to help protect and educate our children. Kirk also addresses the reality that technology and social media are here to stay and we can find a balance to help our children learn how to use them appropriately. At the end of the film, Kirk shares information about “Circle” - one tool he recommends that parents can use to monitor and control family technology use.
The use of technology is a necessity in our daily routines. However, there are ways that we can protect our children. What do we do to help our children learn to use technology and social media appropriately? Monitor them closely. Have open, honest conversations. Set boundaries – they cannot and will not do it themselves. Model appropriate use of technology and social media. We have all heard these suggestions and others. However, just hearing them does not benefit our children. We must put these habits and routines into practice.
Tech Tips for Parents
Here are some wise habits to develop as you monitor your child(ren)'s internet and device use:
- Monitor your child’s use of technology. Know their passwords and monitor all their usage on their device. View their Instagram and other social media sites.
- Limit your children’s device time. Model that by limiting yours as well.
- Have conversations about the appropriate use of technology
- Be intentional about family conversation times: use the car to talk, not watch movies, play games together, plan family meals together, and spend time together completing household chores.
- Collect all devices before bed.
- Put devices aside at mealtime.
- Collect devices when friends come over.
- Require non-device time each day at home. We have encouraged our lower school teachers to facilitate a quiet time each day at school. Our children need to be able to quiet their brains, rest, and think.
Educate yourself. Parents should equip themselves to manage their family screen time and content in a healthy way. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” We encourage you to keep in the know about apps and social media sites that your kids are using. Ask questions and stay engaged with the content. In addition, there are many online resources parents find helpful.
- Connect the movie by Kirk Cameron: https://connectmovie.com/
- Common Sense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
- The Culture Translator: https://axis.org/ct/
- Circle Home for managing family devices: https://meetcircle.com
MPCS counselors are always on hand to guide parents and help answer questions about appropriate boundaries for technology. Also refer to the digital citizenship WingTips blog series on Digital Citizenship.
This recap is based on Kirk Cameron's film "Connect" and is available on DVD, Digital, and On-Demand offering real help for parenting kids in a social media world. MPCS hosted the special presentation for MPCS families through the Parent.Ed talks held approximately every other month on campus.
Dr. Deborah Davis serves as the Lower School Head at Mount Paran Christian School in northwest Atlanta, GA.
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