“Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. – Ecclesiastes 7:10 NKJV
We all like good tools that will help us get our tasks accomplished. Some of the latest and best tools to be invented, in my opinion, include the computer, cell phone, and the technology that comes with them. However, just like any other tool, they must be used appropriately or they can cause harm.
I don’t think there are very many people who would give a toddler a hammer and let them use it any way wanted. How about a chainsaw, or even a weed trimmer or lawn mower? Would we just hand them to children and walk away? Yet, isn’t that what many are doing when they buy their children a cell phone? As with any tool, children need to be trained to use technology properly.
Just as there are certain things for which a hammer is to be used, the same applies to a cell phone or computer. Just as a child should not be allowed to go around beating on good furniture with a hammer, neither should a child be allowed to do everything desired with technology. Definite rules need to be used with children and technology.
“But you can’t watch a child every minute!” many would say. Well, if rules are laid down and the child cannot be trusted to follow those rules, there is an easy solution. Simply take the cell phone away or disconnect the computer until the child can be trusted and DON’T GIVE IN when they beg to get it back. It may take more than one time for the child to become convinced that you mean what you say.
It is helpful to sit down with children and go over rules as soon as the computer or phone is received. The rules should be written down and placed on the refrigerator or other easily observed place. It would be even more helpful for the child to sign a written paper swearing to obey certain rules before the phone is purchased.
What should be included in those rules? There should be a time limit of usage each day with an exception of a phone call from parents or other necessary individuals. The child should take proper care of the phone. In some instances, the child may also be required to help pay for the usage of the phone. Some sites should be off limits.
Just as with any tool, proper usage is necessary. Personally, I am very happy to have the technology. It can make life much easier if properly used. I’m afraid too many parents are guilty of waiting until a child does something wrong and then saying, “You shouldn’t have done that!” Every child is inquisitive and will want to examine possibilities. It isn’t fair to expect a child to automatically know what should or should not be done without being taught.
Let’s teach our children to use this wonderful tool the proper way!