How Technology Challenges Our Teens and 3 Resources to Help

Editor’s Note: This week’s blog, How Technology Challenges Teens and 3 Resources to Help, is shared with us by Brett Kunkle. Brett is founder and president of MAVEN, a homeschool dad, and keynote of the 2018 Biola Homeschool Expo. For more from Brett, pick up the book he co-authored, A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World.

Teen girl kneeling on bed typing on laptop - technology challenges teens faith - BYA blog by Brett Kunkle

Certainly, the host of intellectual challenges our young people face are a threat to their faith. The arguments of an atheist professor. The objections of a skeptical friend. But how often does the typical evangelical kid actually encounter skeptical arguments? Not all that often. In fact, most kids—Christian or non-Christian—don’t talk much about religion with their peers or even their family.

Now, don’t misread me. I think Christians must equip their kids with good apologetics, evidence for the faith and the ability to deal with skeptical challenges and objections to Christianity, because our youth will encounter them at some point.

However, how often will our kids face a very different but just as serious challenge, the challenge of technology? Every. Single. Day. Technology is omnipresent in a student’s world. Whether it’s the internetsocial media, or their smartphones, students are daily bombarded with the pressures and provocations of technology. And those challenges can be just as powerful as the challenges of the atheist or skeptic.

How Technology Challenges Our Teens

Technology:

  1. Makes students passive and apathetic.
  2. Creates distracted young minds.
  3. Decreases their desire and ability to read.
  4. Decreases attention spans and the ability to think and concentrate.
  5. Creates addiction to the screen. (Indeed, some research suggests teens are replacing their drug addiction with smart phone addiction. Teens are addicted to social media, as well.)
  6. Rewires a student’s brain.
  7. Inculcates the values of pop culture.
  8. Allows unfettered access to pornography.
  9. Leads to greater rates of anxiety and depression.

Ultimately, the impact of technology has tremendous potential to slowly but surely erode and undermine the faith of the next generation.

3 Resources for Parents Fighting Screen Addiction in Teens

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 three suggestions to equip yourself so that you can equip your kids:

  1. Order the book 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 and youth leaders can take to help guide their students through this challenge.
  2. Set aside some time to read this interview on “Smartphones and How They Change Us.” It offers some of the most penetrating insight into the impact of technology on our souls that I have read.
  3. Purchase and watch John Stonestreet’s talk “Amusing Ourselves to Death” from Summit Ministries. John’s talk is excellent.

Choose one or two and start immediately. The faith of the next generation may depend on it.

 


Brett Kunkle (@brettkunkle) is the founder and president of MAVEN, 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 youth and parents. Brett has a bachelor’s degree in Christian education from Biola University and a master’s degree in philosophy of religion and ethics from Talbot School of Theology and co-authored the book, A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World.

 
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