One of the great challenges that Christian parents have today is the challenge of figuring out what responsible parenting looks like in the middle of this technological supernova we are living in. For example, when should your teen get a smart phone? What are the parameters? Who is competent to police those parameters?
So let me begin with the false dilemma posed in my title. With those two variables—smart/dumb and kids/phones—we actually have four possible situations.
- Dumb kids, dumb phones
- Dumb kids, smart phones
- Smart kids, dumb phones
- Smart kids, smart phones
I take it that every Christian parent who is not actively neo-Amish would consider #4 the most desirable outcome, but that they would settle for #3 if they had to. The first option is an option on paper, but is decreasingly available with every passing minute. We will always have dumb kids, but we won’t always have dumb phones.
So parents are most worried, reasonably enough, about #2. What are you supposed to do when all your kids’ classmates have the latest phone in their pocket, and your kid is the uber-dweeb with the walkie-talkie? How do you handle the painful conversations about all this around the dinner table?
Unlike the parenting situations in the 1950s—going to a dance, say—this is a decision with much higher stakes. Are you going to let your kids have a device in their pockets that would give them instant access to the wrong side of every town in the world, and which would allow that access in under 30 seconds? “Here’s your new phone, Billy. Remember that Bourbon Street is only two clicks away!”
This is an excerpt…keep reading here.