Could Technology Be the Biggest Threat to Our Kids’ Faith?
A few weeks ago, I spoke in a church about the truths that combat the technology lies I write about in Screens and Teens. Near the beginning of my message, I said something like this: “I hope you’re concerned about lies being told about the God of the Bible, Christianity, and other religions. They are dangerous and potentially misleading your children. What if I suggested there’s a source of lies that’s more influential than the TV news?“
Everyone was paying attention. When I suggested it’s technology causing especially young people to believe lies, I think many were doubtful. Thirty minutes later they weren’t.
Of course, I’m not the only one who understands how our current culture can negatively influence us and the young adults and teens we care about. Brett Kunkle and John Stonestreet have studied our culture and people well to draw significant conclusions for their excellent book, A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World.
Read Monday’s important blog by John if you haven’t already. Today I’m sharing insights from Brett about technology. We see eye-to-eye. His opening comments about why we must be aware of the power of technology are compelling. His list of how technology can specifically interfere with teens’ faith development is alarming. His 9 points will cause you to think. I doubt you stop there. Brett, John, and I hope you make changes if the list and his other thoughts are relevant to you. (I can’t imagine they won’t be!)
Technology is not the only thing Brett and John include in A Practical Guide to Culture that distracts our children from pursuing Christ and Christlikeness. Their complete analysis is one of the reasons I highly recommend the book. You’ll understand more about the culture; young people’s beliefs, decisions, and attitudes; and why to stay current and concerned.
Enjoy this, benefit from it, and then I encourage you to share it. Let’s work together to inspire many people.
Guest post by Brett Kunkle, Founder and President of MAVEN
Certainly, the host of intellectual challenges our young people face are a threat to their faith, such as the atheistic arguments of a college professor or the anti-Christian views of a secular culture. But how often does the typical evangelical kid face the arguments of an atheist or a skeptic? Here and there, but it’s probably not a daily encounter. Of course, we still must equip our kids with good apologetics and worldview-thinking so they’re able to deal with skeptical challenges to Christianity.
However, how often will our kids face the challenges of technology? Every. Single. Day. Technology is omnipresent in a student’s world. Whether it’s the internet, social media, or their smartphones, students are bombarded daily—no, hourly—with the pressures and provocations of technology. And those challenges can be just as powerful as the challenges of the atheist or skeptic.
- Make students passive and apathetic.
- Create distracted young minds.
- Decrease student’s desire and ability to read.
- Decrease student’s attention spans and the ability to think and concentrate.
- Decrease our ability to think deeply and carefully.
- Create addiction to the screen. (Indeed,some research suggests teens are replacing their drug addiction with smart phone Teens are addicted to social media, as well.)
- Rewire a student’s brain.
- Inculcate the values of pop culture.
- Allow unfettered access to pornography.
Ultimately, the impact of technology has tremendous potential to slowly but surely erode and undermine the faith of the next generation. So what are parents, pastors, Christian educators and youth workers to do? Put in some hard work to understand this technological revolution and be intentional to combat its harmful and corrosive effects on our youth. In addition, find ways to harness technology for good. Here are five suggestions to equip yourself so that you can equip your kids:
- Read A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World. John Stonestreet and I spend part of the book tackling technology, showing how it shapes our kids, as well as offering practical steps parents, youth leaders and pastors can take to help guide their students through this challenge.
- Kathy here – Brett kindly recommends my book this way: Read Kathy Koch’s excellent book, Screens and Teens: Connecting With Our Kids in a Wireless World. Kathy helps parents understand the lies that technology feeds our kids and offers helpful practices parents can put into place in their family life. I’ve used her many of her insights with my own
- Subscribe to The Culture Translator weekly emails from AXIS and “gain weekly insight into how pop culture, technology, and media are influencing your students.”
- Set aside some time to read this interview on“Smartphones and How They Change Us.” It offers some of the most penetrating insight that I have ever read into the impact of technology on our souls.
- Read John Stonestreet’s post“Amusing Ourselves to Death” from Summit Ministries. It’s excellent.
Choose one or two of these suggestions and start immediately. The faith of your kids—and the next generation—may depend on it.
What do you think? Do you especially see evidence of one or more of Brett’s nine points in your teens or teens you serve? How can you talk with them about them? Which of the five suggestions will you follow through on? When? Now? Great!
I certainly recommend you purchase A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World for any adults who care about and work with young adults and teens. Also, if you know young adults frustrated by their own generation and concerned, buy this book for them. I’m buying copies for Christmas gifts for my niece who teaches and coaches in a Christian school and my nephew and his wife who work with teens in their church. Who do you know who needs this book?
Check out Brett‘s ministry at www.maventruth.com. Read the “about” page and you’ll see how much he and I have in common. I’m eager to see how God is going to continue to use him now that he’s launched his own ministry. And, if you don’t already follow John’s work at BreakPoint, the nationally syndicated commentary on the culture founded by the late Chuck Colson, www.breakpoint.org and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, www.colsoncenter.org I encourage you to. I depend on both to keep me informed with truth. It’s right to care and to stay informed. More than ever before, we need to discern who to listen to and who to follow. These men are all about Jesus and truth. (By the way, if you’ll be coming to any of the Great Homeschool Conventions in 2018, both Brett and John will be speaking at all five.)
Brett Kunkle is the founder and president of MAVEN (www.maventruth.com), a movement to equip the next generation to know truth, pursue goodness and create beauty. He has more than 25 years of experience working with junior high, high school, and college students. Brett has developed a groundbreaking approach to mission trips, creating a one-of-a-kind experience that immerses participants in real-life engagement in apologetics, theology, worldview and evangelism in Berkeley, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition, Brett is a Teaching Fellow at the Impact 360 Institute. He was an associate editor for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students and co-authored A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World. He received his Master’s degree in philosophy of religion and ethics from Talbot School of Theology. Brett lives with his wife and kids in Southern California.