Parenting and technology: you can’t just “phone” it in.


Since we have 2 high schoolers and 1 junior higher, one of the most common parenting question we get is, “How do you handle cell phones with your kids?” That’s a difficult question.

I love cell phones. And I hate cell phones.

I use mine all the time. And I wish they were never invented.

They can be so useful. They can be evil and HUGE time-wasters.

But what if there’s an emergency and she needs to call me?

But what if she sees something bad?

Ugh. These are the conflicting thoughts that went through my mind when we got our oldest daughter her first cell phone. It felt like giving a very sharp knife to a 3 year old and saying “Don’t hurt yourself!” You know it’s dangerous and they seem too young to handle it.

So is the answer to just avoid phones all together? What about other technology? Computers? TV? Maybe we should become Amish and kiss all electronics goodbye. Honestly, that sounds easier.

Technology is something our parents didn’t have to parent. It’s a new challenge for our generation to face. And face it we must.

The truth is, we will always be first time parents in everything with our oldest child. She’s 16 and we’re still making “new” decisions about parenting. From driving to dress-code to dating, she’s the first one to receive our parenting wins and failures. (Sorry, Ashley!) Sometimes we’re too strict, sometimes we’re not strict enough. And everything in between. We make rules, then re-think and adjust. We set guidelines, then re-think and adjust. We make decisions, then change our minds. Repeat, repeat, repeat….

As parents, we can’t just back off and let parenting happen. We need to prayerfully think through and engage in the process. Proactive not reactive, is the right strategy. Doing nothing is not an option.

Because my husband is a writer and an academic nerd…I mean…genius…he wrote up a cell phone policy for our kids that has worked well for us for the last few years. We wanted to create a policy based on our convictions. But we also wanted to change and adjust as needed for each of our four kids based on their ever-changing ages and maturity.

Disclaimer: This is what has worked for our family so far. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to parenting; and dealing with technology is no different. We are not perfect parents and do not have all the answers about technology, but we do have Biblical principles that are ALWAYS wise and current.

Feel free to copy ours; or come up with your own guidelines based on your convictions and the maturity of your kids. The point is to think through it proactively. Because parenting isn’t something you can just phone in.

(PS…Having it on paper was very helpful. We printed a copy for our kids so they can refer to it regularly.)

Here it is…

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