I’ve written quite a few posts on electronics. The first one I wrote I thought would be my last. My passion for encouraging families to guard their children and protect their time has only intensified.
If you are a parent who feels like electronic devices have taken over and kidnapped your family, you are not alone. I met a women recently who made mention to how much my boys play outside. She assumed they were younger than they actually are. I get it. You almost never see pre-teens outside anymore. How sad! Her comment to me was, “I wish my boys would play outside, but all they do is sit on those stupid video games.”
Here’s what I wanted to say but feared opening my mouth since we literally were meeting for the first time, “You are the parent, and they are the children. The parent sets the boundaries, rules, and limits. Not the kids. If you don’t want them playing video games after school, set a limit for weekends only.”
There is a part two to this statement. Josh McDowell is notorious for saying, “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” Herein lies the real issue. If your child spends hours on a device of any kind, his relationship with you suffers. It steals time that is yours. Quality time is critical to building relationship, so if that suffers, and you place your rules around something that’s become an addiction, that is when the fight back begins.
The majority of the parents that I talk to about the video game addiction are frustrated with it, yet they feel powerless to the drug. And drug is what it is. I don’t want to waste writing space on the science, but do spend some time researching the effects on the brain, the pleasure center in particular, when your child is playing video games or feasting on social media.
Would we ever offer our kids cocaine? A cigarette? How about heroine? Never. But at the youngest of age, we place a drug in their hand to appease them. To make them happy. To entertain them. To make our lives easier. Babies in shopping carts playing games on an iPhone. Lost to the real world before they’ve ever had a chance to discover and experience. Taught to get their demands for constant entertainment at the first peep they make. Taught they don’t need to learn self-control because we will just occupy you so you don’t need any self-control.
Kids at a ballgame watching their brother or sister play, sitting with a circle of kids playing video games. Heartbreaking. They can’t handle boredom. They don’t care to cheer on their sibling. They want to be entertained. The parents don’t want to listen to the whining, so they give in. The kids are happy and quiet. After all, they are learning games.
A generation of kids at stake to be the most selfish, self-centered generation we’ve ever seen. And we will be to blame. Because we fed this diet to them. We are creating the monster.
Kids are losing their wonder for the world. Their attentions can’t be held for long anymore. It takes more and more to excite and entice them. Like the effects of pornography. A child in the real world has a hard time looking around and finding wonder. Instead, they complain it’s dumb, it’s boring. Then they begin to tell you about their Minecraft world they created.
Video games and electronic devices are the most innocent looking destroyer set on our families. It’s not just about our kids. It’s about us too.
What grabs my attention first thing in the morning? Do I turn to my husband and give him my eyes or do I reach for the phone to see what I missed while I was sleeping? Do I go to my kids to spend the first few minutes with them or do I try to sneak in a few quick articles or see what everyone is doing?
When we go to bed at night are we connecting as a family? Or are we all in our own private worlds connecting to imaginary worlds or people we rarely see face to face?
And at the end of it all. At the very end of my life, will I be satisfied with how I trained my kids or how I spent my days?
I’ve said almost everything in the posts listed below. Each looks at a different aspect. Some speak to the parents, some to the kids. Here’s the deal- whether we like it or not, this electronic addiction is destroying families. When our kids are little, we don’t see the trap we are setting. It’s destroying creativity, free thinking, critical thinking, time, relationships, empathy. And the list goes on.
I will never look back and wish my kids had played more video games. I know that for certain. But if I allow the addiction to set in, I will regret the time the devices stole from us that we will never get back and the parts of their person that changed because of what held their hearts.