Online or Offline

Online or Offline

How do you lead your family?

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, emojis, email, text, Messenger – In this day and time, our dependency on technology is at an all-time high. There is an app for everything and it is so easy for our lives to become an open book for the world to see.  Everywhere you look someone has a face in their phone…sometimes it’s even us or our family members.  So, how much is too much?  What’s the good, the bad, and the ugly with online activity and how does it affect the way you lead your family?

The Good

  • The internet is a wealth of knowledge.  You can find out answers to almost any question within seconds. 
  • It connects us with loved ones through video, social media, and chat.  With just a touch of a screen we can see loved ones around the world!
  • It provides us ability to be flexible with work opportunities
  • It expands our retail purchasing options
  • It is available 24/7/365!

The Bad

  • It can be a time waster
  • It can be a source of inaccurate information
  • It can cause distracted driving
  • It can be used as a replacement for quality family time
  • It is available 24/7/365!

The Ugly

  • It can cause people to create a false sense of reality – especially on social media
  • It gives some people the over confidence to say things that can be hurtful and damaging to others
  • It can cause temptation to partake in sinful activities
  • It can become an addiction
  • It is available 24/7/365!

These examples are just a sampling of the hundreds of reasons that could be added to the lists.  It can be overwhelming.  Sometimes to the point of just wanting to shut it all down and go back to the “stone age” when we had to go to the library or read the newspaper to learn what was going on in the world around us.  We didn’t have information at the touch of a screen.  Now, with information available to us 24/7/365, how do we manage that and prevent ourselves and our families from going into information overload and potential internet addiction?  Let’s first begin by seeking Scriptural guidance.  Does the Bible give us any advice on this issue?  Of course it does!

In Lev. 26:1 we read, “You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.” The internet can easily become an idol.  If we put more importance on the internet, social media, and staying connected with the world than we do staying connected to God and His Word then it becomes an idol.  This can be things like:

  • Using our phones during mealtime or while eating out
  • Using technology as a babysitter when we should be spending time with our children
  • Spending more time each day focused on technology for entertainment (social media, mindless browsing, etc.) than we do focused on God and His Word and in prayer
  • Seeking the internet before we seek God
  • Exhibiting more anxiety when we leave our phone at home than when we leave our Bible at home

If you find some of this hitting home, you are not alone.  Here are some suggestions to help you find that online/offline balance and lead your family like Jesus:

  • Revive your Bible study and prayer time – this is #1!
  • Set timers to limit yourself to a minimal amount of online time each day – this will also set a great example for your children
  • Limit your children’s online time – this may require you to provide some additional activities for them but, in the long run, it will be worth it
  • Have family dinners – everyone at the table for some verbal conversation
  • Have family game night – pull out the Uno cards and the board games
  • Get outside – take a walk – create an adventure

This world of technology is not going to go away so we must figure out how to embrace it but not let it control us. 

 

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Kim Rider

Kim is an independent IT project consultant with Lead Like Jesus, with nearly two decades of IT experience, including help desk, network support, project manager, and director of IT. She also enjoys communications, and writes as a hobby.  She received her dual Bachelor’s of Arts degrees in Computer Information Systems and Business Administration from Piedmont College in Demorest, GA.

 

Kim and her husband live in Northeast Georgia with their two children and grandson.  She serves on the production team at her church and enjoys playing golf, running, and hiking in the North Georgia mountains.