A big issue that parents face today is how to handle raising kids in a world filled with technology. We have more screens in our home drawing us in than windows on our home calling us out. As parents, we are constantly wondering if we are balancing our kid’s lives with technology well. We want to know when a kid can have a phone, how much they should consume from the internet, where should the screens be in the home, and we want resources that will help us with it all.
The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch is a resource that I recently came across. Crouch is an author and musician – but the most important credential that he has for this book is he is a father of two kids who are sixteen and over. In the book, Crouch goes through the failures and victories that come through the struggle of raising kids in such a high-tech world in an honest, humble, and sometimes humorous way.
The Point Of Parenting
Crouch believes that the family is there to instill wisdom and courage in the life of a child. As Christians, we are called to teach our children an understanding of the world that guides action (wisdom), and then instilling in them the conviction and character to act on it (courage). In a world where so many are allowing screens to raise their kids, Crouch wants Christian parents to live differently. Technology can be good, he argues, but only when it is in its proper place.
To help the reader see the proper place for technology, Crouch and his wife came up with The Ten Tech-Wise Commandments. These are commitments his family made on technology that guided them as they parented their kids. I became discouraged when I first read this list. Don’t do that. Crouch quickly points out that his family has failed miserably many times on these. When I was reading this, I thought that many of these were completely crazy and impossible. I still think that, but I believe that these are a great starting point for parents as they deal with technology in the home.
The Ten Technology Commandments
- We develop wisdom and courage as a family.
- We want to create more than we consume. So, we fill the center of our home with things that reward skill and active engagement.
- We are designed for a rhythm of work and rest. So, one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year, we turn off our devices and worship, feast, play, and rest together.
- We wake up before our devices do, and they “go to bed” before we do.
- We aim for “no screens before double-digits” at school and at home.
- We use screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using them aimlessly and alone.
- Car time is conversation time.
- Spouses have one another’s passwords, and parents have total access to children’s devices.
- We learn to sing together, rather than letting recorded and amplified music take over our lives and worship.
- We show up in person for the big events of life. We learn how to be human by being fully present at our moments of greatest vulnerability. We hope to die in one another’s arms.
I believe that a good book should cause you to think and to act. This is one of those books. These commitments really caused me to think about how I am letting technology effect my child. It caused me to ask some really tough questions and it has actually spurred us on to make some changes in how we handle technology. Screens are good when they allow you to have more appreciation for the world God has created, they are poison if they take you out of that world.
Should I Get This Book?
Yes! Some of the commandments look ridiculous when you first see them (numbers five and nine did to me), but Crouch really does a great job of unpacking them and explaining why they are there. This book goes way beyond the “do this” and gives you the reason behind it. Once you see the reason, you might come to understand why it made the list.
This topic of technology crosses all religious beliefs. Because of that, this can actually be a great tool to share some pretty great Biblical truths with your friends who are asking about technology. It talks about who we are created to be, what our purpose is, what our hope is, and what matters most. If you are in a conversation with another parent about technology tell them to grab a copy of it. Let them know it is from a Christian perspective and see how God works. You never know how the Holy Spirit will work.
Like I wrote earlier, you won’t put everything you read into practice, but you will have a better understanding of what technology is doing to you and your family, why you need to make some changes, and what you can do to start doing that. I would highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and read through it.