For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Tim 1:7) Although we may think of this verse when we contemplate witnessing about the power of Christ in our lives, we might do well to remember it when we think of our responsibilities for managing our child’s technology habits. If, as parents, we fear technology’s impact on our homes, we are more likely to make a mistake in managing it. Yet we would be wise to be strong and do the work. (1 Chron 28:10b).
We can begin casting out fear by opening our eyes and ears to the unknown. If you don’t know what Steam is, who Gaben is, or why your son wants to use game content to practice coding or animating, a starting place is to ask the question and wait with your ears while he tells you. You may discover that he doesn’t love videogames as much as he loves animating the 3D characters he finds there using SFM (Steam’s Source Filmmaker software, a movie making tool). Animators practice software skills to collaborate on multi-media projects, whether it be in television, in video game studios or in the broader software industry. What is to fear about his self-initiative and independent learning on software that is in high demand?
If you worry about what he may see on YouTube while he is researching a video topic of which you approve, remind him to ask: What Would Jesus Do? Or, introduce the acronym PUMA—“personally unsettling material”—a term the Harding family uses and describes in their homeschooling book “The Brainy Bunch” (Gallery Books). Help your child practice from a young age turning away from personally unsettling material. This skill is transferable beyond the internet—to television, magazine ads, storefronts, and billboards throughout Missouri. Because our child’s eyes and ears are going to be opened (ready or not, here it comes!) as he gains more access to the internet, we want our own eyes open even wider to prepare him for what will require his discernment.
Our child’s foray into technology requires a Proverbs 1:8-10 approach: provide instruction and teaching and warn against enticement.
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.
If your child seems to be moving faster—technologically speaking—than you, slow him down, listen to where he is at, consider how you might direct his path, and offer ideas for practicing discernment. Most simply of all, just be there to “be strong and do the work.”