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Social media distracts kids from religion

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“How do you teach kids to ‘let the word of Christ richly dwell within’ them when there are so many electronic distractions?” 

 

Sure enough, there is evidence that in this age of ubiquitous social media the incidence of narcissism, anxiety (“FOMO”) and preoccupation with meaningless “information” are on the rise. Many people (not just teenagers) are digital-dependent, obsessive and compulsive about their phones. It is quite possible that these distractions have negative implications emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.

On the other hand, social media is not all bad. Twitter is used for a multitude of social justice issues and the promotion of acts of kindness and volunteerism. YouTube is a universe unto itself of entertainment as well as a vast resource of useful information. Powerful search engines have relegated my Encyclopedia Britannica to the dustbin. 

We cannot condemn social media out of hand. It holds great potential for both good and bad. Nonetheless, parents face the stiff challenge of helping their kids find value in ancient Scripture when there is so much more entertaining stuff at hand. 

Parents have to take the lead. Let your kids know what matters most to you. Practice the personal discipline of putting that Word in your own life. Make it a part of your daily conversation (Deut. 6:7, 9, 20). 

Teach your kids to value people in the moment. Help them see that they do not have to be connected all the time (practice an “electronic fast” once in awhile!) Teach them that neither self-discipline nor delayed gratification are evil concepts. Remind them that it matters what they put into their brains (Phil 4:8-9). 

As important as anything, show them why they matter. Show them they have real purpose in this world—purpose that transcends entertainment and even education, job, or “success.” How? Introduce them to the God of the universe, the One “in whom we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:22-31).