Navigating through this digital age can be difficult. But one thing is for sure…It’s not going away anytime soon. As parents and children’s ministry workers, it is vital that we help lead the next generation safely through this world by first taking the appropriate steps in learning the ins and outs ourselves. Digital media is not the enemy of our children’s faith. In fact, when used for its intended purpose it’s actually pretty cool and can be an effective tool in reaching young hearts for Christ. There are a variety of children’s ministry curriculums who have already recognized this trend and have jumped on the digital bandwagon by incorporating digital media in their lessons and even making fun apps available in an effort to help children to grow deeper in their faith throughout the week. However, all good things can be distorted if we’re not careful. So don’t get left behind! Check out my three tips on how you can effectively reach your children in this digital age and navigate them through these sometimes perplexing waters.
Never shame your kids when it comes to their digital usage by saying things like “that’s stupid,” or “why do you like that?” Such negative language targeted at the apps and social media outlets your children enjoy only enhances their idea that you are completely disconnected from what’s in and only encourages them to hide what they are doing, which can lead them down dangerous paths you don’t want them to go. So keep it positive! Compliment them on creative filters and the videos they may create. Take a filtered selfie together. Play an app with them. Even if you don’t understand it, be open. But remember one important thing…have fun!
Let Your Kids Be The Teacher For A Change
Alright guys…truth moment. Do you understand all of the ins and outs of the digital media your children are using? I don’t either! So let your kids be the teacher for a change. Ask your kids how to use the apps that you don’t understand. Be completely open to the experience and remember: Keep it positive and NO SHAMING! Download an app your self. Wow your kids with your new found knowledge. Show authentic gratitude to your children for their guidance and watch them glow with pride.
It’s no secret that digital media can have a dark side. With a rise in predators using digital media to reach your kids, it’s even more vital that you know your stuff! So stay in the know! Make it your business to know about the apps that your kids are using and the dangers they present. Find out ways you can protect your children by creating certain settings to help your children avoid the common pitfalls and monitoring their social media sites within reason. Make sure you aren’t too over bearing in your approach which can cause your children to lose trust in you and do things in secret. Creating the appropriate boundaries can result in a happy digital media experience for both the child and parent. Be open and talk to your kids about the dangers of certain apps they may be using. Remember, the whole point here is to keep open the lines of healthy communication between you and your kids about their digital media use.
So there you have it. 3 simple tips to help get you started in the amazing adventures of your children and digital media. Happy surfing! You’re gonna do great!!!