There was a time in American culture when a family’s significance was based on how many TV’s were in one house. Now in many homes, there are not only multiple TVs, but also multiple devices that cry out for our undivided attention. Devices can indeed be tools for much good in our society and within the kingdom of God, but the saturation of technology can also lead to harmful and even devastating consequences. In the following video, the Barna group interviews Andy Crouch, a longtime cultural analyst, on how families can safeguard themselves against the harmful effects of technology.
Having multiple devices within our homes is not a technological issue as much as it is a human issue. This is why Crouch believes that families must make deep commitments to our children’s development as persons of wisdom and courage. The irony of technology is that it can connect us with many people but can actually detract from us as persons. For instance, smart devices promise to make our lives easier but they actually bring complexity and busyness.
Crouch offers three suggestions on how families can use technology while not allowing technology to use them.
First, invoke the principle of Sabbath. The Sabbath is meant by our Lord as a break from work, but devices can enable us to work all the time. In his own family, Crouch leads his family to take a total break from devices one hour a day, one day a week, and one to two weeks per year.
Secondly, Crouch ensures that anything technological is kept at the periphery of their home. In other words, devices are not centrally located, but are placed on the edges of their home. This sends a message that human interaction is the deepest and healthiest way of connecting with one another.
Lastly, Crouch suggests that children never take their devices with them to bed. He teaches his children to put devices to bed before you and to wake up before them. The constant presence of devices leeches away the critical rest that all humans need in order to become the people of God He intended us to be.