Much of what our kids are looking at, when using electronics, tends not to be of Christian origin. This isn’t bad in and of itself, but a lot of what they are doing on their smartphones and computers can be opportunities for dialogue between you, and them.
To my way of thinking (and maybe yours, too?), just hollering at kids to “get off your phone, computer, video game,” etc. is leaving them with no alternative to what they may be spending hours doing. One of my grandsons used to have a crying fit when this happened, because he didn’t see anything else to do with his time. But there are alternatives, and your kids need to know them.
First, depending on their age, talk to your kids. Let them know your concerns about their electronics, and the information and games they can access. This is a fabulous opportunity to find out what their favorite games are, and why. Many teen boys really like games that are pretty violent. Whether or not you allow them to play these games is truly up to you, but it offers an opportunity to discuss violence with your kids, and perhaps find out what other kids at church play on their electronics. Discuss good games to play with their youth group leaders. They will most likely be the best at knowing what good and bad games might be, and it might also be a good time to ask whether or not leaders have had discussions about violent and inappropriate games and websites with the kids.
Next, you and your child can both come up with alternatives when they have “timed out” of their electronics. Make a list you can both use.
Set a time limit and stick to it! For young kids this might be 45 minutes, for older kids perhaps 1-2 hours.
When time is up, offer the alternatives on your list. It might be something horrible, like doing chores or helping with dinner, but even these options count!
Have a board game night (or afternoon). Kids sometimes balk at this idea at first, but they usually enjoy the game and time spent with family.
Encourage outdoor play with their friends. It’s HEALTHIER!
Encourage participation in Church activities and groups. Kids should be attending church more than once a week. They need to see church as an important part of their life, plus, they will grow as Christians.
Encourage participation in after school activities, such as clubs, groups, or sports.
Play group games on gaming systems (yes, gaming systems!). Many board games have been converted to Wii, Playstation, or other systems, and can be played by many players. One of the things my grandkids I enjoy most is playing Mario Party, or Family Game Night games like Life, and Clue
I would still very much appreciate your input. I want to know what works and doesn’t work when it comes to alternatives to electronics. Please subscribe to this blog, so you get automatic updates!
Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (NIV)
Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…” (NIV)