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by Doug Fields and Jonathan McKee
Continuing from last week (if you missed it, click here) I want to share a resource called, “Should I Just Smash My Kid’s Phone?” by Doug Fields and Jonathan McKee.  It has a lot of helpful information and questions to consider when navigating the world of smartphones and technology.  Here is part two of their work:

In a world where 8 through 18-year-olds devote  as many hours plugged in to entertainment media as their parents spend working full time jobs… today’s kids are going to encounter distractions difficult to dodge.  As a result, parents are left with some big questions, like:

“What guardrails can parents set to protect their kids from veering off course?”

There is a strong temptation for parents to jump straight into a list of “effective guardrails.”  As a parent, you want something that works–something that will solve the problem of your son or daughter and their obsession with their phone.  Good guardrails will help, but there is a much more important question to ask first.  What good are guardrails if you don’t even know where the road is going?

Teaching Values
This brings up a foundational issue of one’s values.  As parents, do you just want to enforce rules that your kids will robotically follow, or do you want to teach values that will last beyond their behaviors when you aren’t around?

Think about it.  Whenever a parent presents a rule, the most common question is, “Why?”  That’s a fair question from a child’s mind.  The best answer will flow from your family’s values and belief system.  Have you ever had a conversation like this:

Parent:  John, be home at 11:00 tonight.
John:  Why eleven?  Is there something magical about eleven?  Does the Bible say, ‘make sure your kids are home at eleven?’  How come the McCain’s don’t make their kids be home at eleven–aren’t they good parents?  Why not midnight like all my other friends?

Honestly it’s a little shortsighted for parents to just arbitrarily enforce guidelines without having some articulate reasoning behind them.  Our values will confidently supply answers to the “why?” questions.The best rules and guidelines flow from our values.  In the long term, values are more important than the rules.  As our kids learn and embrace values, the rules will make better sense.

The reality is we aren’t helping our kids grow into responsible adults if we simply set guardrails and never talk about the direction of the road.  They should know the “why” (values) behind the rules.  The boundaries we impose should naturally flow from the “why.”  These guardrails should help keep our kids from veering off course, but should never become roadblocks to learning healthy discernment.


Next week we’ll look at the road paved with values.  Since values answer the “why” question, we need to ask an important question, “What values are we teaching?”

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