Smartphones. Computers. Tablets. One of the biggest challenges for parents is balancing the advantages of cutting-edge technology and endless information with the dangers of unlimited exposure. From practical tips on setting good examples for your child to ways of wisely monitoring what they see and do with technology, Dr. Gregory Jantz packs Bible-based ideas and solid research in a 112-page guide to help you protect your children as they learn to interact with media and technology.
Gregorgy Jantz is an American, considered an expert on behavioural based afflictions and addiction. He is a well-known author of 35 books in this area. The scripture quotations are from the NIV, and those more familiar with using the AV may wish to cross-reference to this version.
As the title suggests this book is divided into ten chapters each based on a worthwhile ‘Tip’. There is an opening chapter prior to this called ‘Fish and Scorpions’ based on the Scripture found in Luke 11:11-12. The author says ‘the difference between a fish and a snake, between an egg and a scorpion is obvious. Technology isn’t always so obvious. How can we make sure our good gifts of technology (that we mean to be fish and eggs) don’t turn into something else (like snakes and scorpions) that might come back to strike and sting our children?’ This book is aimed at parents of teenagers and although written with Bible quotations it is clear that it is aimed at a wider audience i.e. any parent that may be experiencing the challenges of bringing up a teenager with all the issues that modern technology brings. With this in mind, some of the scenarios may not reflect how many of us may bring up our children and can be off putting but if you are able to look past these, the points the author raises are relevant to many of us today. He does this in a very open, sensitive manner, gently pointing parents to Scripture for guidance.
The ten tips are entitled:
1. Practice what you preach; 2. Figure out how much is too much; 3. Remember – if you bought it, it’s yours; 4. Find the off switch; 5. Watch out for the bad; 6. Enjoy the good; 7. Look inside, not just outside; 8. Find out what you don’t know; 9. Pray for the best but plan for the worst; 10. Keep up with changes. Each tip commences with a life like scenario to open the subject up, followed by an analysis of the subject and then advice and ideas. These are often interspersed with Scripture quotations. The advice and ideas at the end of each tip are particularly thought provoking and useful. Technology is constantly changing and updating and as parents we have a responsibility not only to protect our children but also to realise that this is the world that they, and we, are living in. We have gone from letter writing to text messaging or e-mails, and we now have access to almost any information in a few seconds. Our children are the first generation to have been born into this digital world with technology all around them and indeed access to many snares and evils. Yet ‘there is no new thing under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 1:9). This book is well written by someone who is clearly an expert in this field and how it affects our children socially and emotionally. Not every idea in this book is endorsed by the reviewer and many of us may have different thoughts regarding technology and our children, but if read with an open mind, those who read it will find many areas extremely helpful in this challenging area of parenting.
Christian Values in Education (CViE) Newsletter