Fear Not Technology—

You may have already seen the videos of young people walking down the sidewalk, riding the train, eating at restaurants, or even driving a car with the Apple Vision Pro® plastered across their faces.  These images are concerning and scary.  This new technology is an amazing tool for connecting the user to the world online but blinds them to their surroundings and isolates them from the people around them. The pattern is true almost any time a new technology is released: we see the blessing of its benefits along with the possible challenges and dangers to individuals and our families. Technology has benefitted our businesses, convenience, transportation, education, healthcare, given us added conveniences, and increased our ability to connect with the connecting of family and friends.  But there have been consequences to those technological advancements: access to unfiltered videos and images, cyberbullying, mental health issues such as an increase in loneliness, isolation, anxiety, and clinical depression (especially in young people (1)) , physical health issues, along with many other dangers. The increasing complexity and pace of these technological advances can leave parents feeling discouraged, defeated, and desperate for help. As Children’s Ministry leaders, how can we encourage parents to “fear not” technology?

God Has Given Us Hope

I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  – Romans 12:1-2

Often we can think of technology as either all good or all bad. This can lead to us approaching technology with an all-in or all-out approach with our families. We would benefit by thinking of technology as a mirror that “magnifies who we are as people both the good and the bad. It reflects the values of  its users, but to the extreme.”[2] Jesus reminds us, when we are tempted to not only look externally, “. . . it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. . . . what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart” (Matthew 15:11, 18). Often the technology itself is not evil, but the intentions of the creators and how our hearts and the hearts of our children decide to use technology may be.  However, we have real hope: we have a Savior in Jesus who transforms our hearts. We no longer just go with the flow, conforming to the patterns of the world and its use of technology. Instead, through Christ’s transforming of our hearts and renewing of our minds, we have the ability to give technology the “proper place”[3] in our life and in the lives of our children. We have the opportunity, by God’s grace, to model wise use of technology (We may have just as much trouble turning off our screens as our children do!) and to train our little ones to grow in discernment and wisdom with the technology in their lives.

God Has Given Us Community

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!  – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

One of the overwhelming experiences for parents is the feeling that they are doing it alone. This can especially be true when it comes to technology. How can a parent keep up with all of the news, videos, apps, video games, websites, devices, social media platforms, etc.? How should a parent decide what ages their children should be to have access to these different technologies? Parenting can be a very isolating experience. But God has given us an incredible gift in the church. He has graciously given us community to love and serve each other while offering face-to-face experiences of real relationships for parents and children.  Also, He as graciously given us a place to learn and grow together.  Are there parents in your church who have navigated the issues of technology with godly wisdom and discernment with their children? Connect them to other parents who are navigating similar ages and stages and are needing help. Encourage parents to humbly share their stories of successes and failures with their practices and the lessons learned in the area of technology use in their family.

Also, as a Children’s Ministry leader, you can offer resources to parents to help them stay informed and better prepared for helping their family interact with technology. Consider sharing these resources in your Children’s Ministry emails or parent handouts. There are many books, websites, apps, podcasts, and other resources (See below for a few examples.) you can share with your families to help guide them with biblical wisdom and encourage them with godly hope in the midst of their fears concerning technology.

Resources for Further Study:

  • The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch (2017)
  • The Culture Translator. A website by Axis.org that sends a weekly email informing parents on teen/tween trends, culture, language, and technology. (https://axis.org/resource-category/culture-translator/)
  • Digital for Good: Raising Kids to Thrive in an Online World by Richard Culatta (2021).
  • The Social Dilemma (2020). A Netflix film depicting the dangers of social media use for families.
  • Generations by Jean Twenge (2023). Specifically chapters on Gen-Z and Polars. An overview of trends, studies, and observations of each generation in America.

Works Cited:

Culatta, Richard. Digital for Good: Raising Kids to Thrive in an Online World. Harvard Business Press, 2021.

Twenge, Jean M. Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America’s Future. Simon and Schuster, 2023.

Crouch, Andy. The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place. Baker Books, 2017.

[1]  Jean M. Twenge, Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents – and… What They Mean for America’s Future (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2024), 345-449.

[2] Richard Culatta, Digital for Good: Raising Kids to Thrive in an Online World (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2021), 42.

[3]Andy Crouch, The Tech-Wise Family Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2017), 15-21.

Justin Huensch is serving as the Pastor of Next Generation Ministries at Chesterfield Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO. He is passionate about reaching the next generations with the amazing grace of God, the relational connection of the body of Christ, and the purposeful calling of the gospel in their lives. Justin and his wife Emily have three wonderful children.