Parenting on Purpose: Technology

Parenting has many joys and yet also many challenges. Through purposeful engagement around key areas in technology, parents can provide teaching and protection for their children in this ever-changing world. Learn more as Brian Sutter provides practical parenting concepts in these short videos.

Avoid Extremes

Providing Teaching

Providing Protection

Further Information

Parenting on Purpose
Through purposeful engagement around key areas, parents can encourage and support the growth of their children while also helping them to draw closer to Jesus. Learn more as Brian Sutter provides practical parenting concepts in these short videos.


Avoid Extremes:

Hi, my name is Brian Sutter.
I’m one of the clinicians here at ACCFS, and I want to talk to you
for a moment about parenting on purpose in the area of technology.
As parents, I think all of us have been exposed to the reality that technology as part of our world, and we have to think about like, how do we engage this? And, and in that it can be a really tricky space.
There’s lots of pieces and it gets pretty complicated and can get certainly very overwhelming in that.
I think it can be helpful for us as parents to say, where am I at on the spectrum? I, I think most of us either move towards the side of fear,
um, or the side of complacency. And, and I think it can be helpful just to know where do you tend to move? And, and the reality is that,
that both sides make sense depending on where you’re coming at it from.
On the fear side, there’s certainly a lot of reasons to be fearful that you read the news and you, you hear about different, you know, things that are coming out in research or the reality that there are, there are a lot of predators, there’s a lot of things that are really dangerous in
technology, so there’s good reason to be fearful in that it makes sense and certainly want to validate that.
But I think for us on that side, it’d be helpful for us to also see the opportunity as much as we’d like to just be done with it and, you know, throw all the technology out the window and just say, Nope, we’re not going there.
You know, certainly that, that I would love to be able to do that. Um, but we can’t.
So how do we see the opportunity engage that with wisdom.
Those of us that are on the complacency side, certainly I can understand that as well. Like, you start to look at it and think about it, it’s like, it’s overwhelming and like, what can I even do? And so I’ll just set that aside. Just assume that it’ll be okay. They’ll figure it out.
Put our heads in the sand like that. That makes sense too for me as I, as I engage or think about a topic that’s as big as technology, it can get overwhelming and I can see myself moving that way too. But I just wanna invite you into thinking about where are you at on that spectrum and how might you move towards this place of, of engaging it with wisdom.
On the side of fear, what I think was helpful is if we see the opportunity on the side of complacency, I think if we can say, wait, there are some things that are really important here.
How do I move into protecting my kids? And in, and that’s a really important role in this place of technology and lots of other areas as we parent our kids.
Mom and dad, you don’t need to be afraid and you can do this. Step into this space of parenting on purpose in technology.

Providing Teaching:

Hey, moms and dads. I, I want to talk to you a little bit about parenting on purpose in the area of technology and, and specifically to see technology as an opportunity to teach our kids. So, I’d like to take a moment just to, to focus in on three areas, uh, in this area of technology and, and seeing it as an opportunity to teach.
The first would be, uh, emotional regulation. The second would be in the area of social skills. And then the third topic would be self-talk or the inner dialogue in, in your thinking. So we, if we go back to the first one, what does it look like to use technology as an opportunity to help our children learn to regulate their emotions?
Technology is gonna bring big emotions, whether that’s when you’re limiting a young child in their time with technology, there’s gonna be disappointment.
Or if we’re talking about a teenager and they’re, they’re on social media and they see that their friends are together and they didn’t even know about it. And an important skill in life is, is being able to regulate our emotions. And part of that is knowing what our emotions are, knowing the messages those bring and the reality that the goal in life is not necessarily that we always feel positive emotion.
If that becomes the goal, then what it does is it hinders our ability to, to navigate uncomfortable emotions. And, and then the long-term result is that, that we can’t feel either.
When I say regulate emotions, I’m really thinking of three things that would be, be able to name the emotion then to be able to size it correctly. What, what level of intensity seems appropriate for this, this, uh, event. And then third would be how to walk with it. How do you carry that emotion and move into appropriate behavior with it? Now I’d like to just focus a little bit on social skills to see, uh, um, technology as an opportunity to grow social skills. Uh, there’s a lot of social interaction that happens on technology, but it’s, again, it’s a little different than what we did a generation ago where most of the social skill interaction was done in person, which is really helpful ’cause you get feedback. And in that feedback then you learn like, what, what works, what doesn’t, um, when it’s online, then that, that doesn’t happen. And then it makes sometimes social skills more of a deficit.
So if we can see and recognize when a text comes through to help them think about how to respond in a way that’s helpful for the recipient and,
and when, how they’re supposed to receive, when they get something back, those would be really good opportunities for us to be able to help them know how to navigate that. And then to think about how to navigate the world out there when they do move into in-person interaction.
And then in the area of, of thinking that the reality is that we always have this inner dialogue going on that in our mind, but a lot of times we don’t even recognize it’s there.
And particularly, certainly our kids aren’t gonna recognize the thoughts that they’re experiencing. But if we can help bring those out in explicit sort of ways of like, Hey, I’m curious as you, you read this or you saw this video or you got this response, what, where did your mind go?
What did you start to think and to look for? How is it impacting their view of themselves or how’s it impacting their, their view of others or just the world in, in general? And then to be able to speak truth into that. One of the things I think you find, especially in the Psalms is, is that if we just listen to ourselves, then our emotions are gonna tend to write the stories or write the thoughts that go on in our mind. And that tends to take us in an unhelpful direction. But when we start to talk to ourselves, when we know what’s true and we start to talk that and rehearse that to ourselves, that can be really helpful in, in life giving. One of the things that that maybe would summarize part of what I’m saying here is I think we want to really help our kids come up with the correct meaning of the things that they’re experiencing online.
It’s so easy to put the wrong meaning to the experiences that we have as adults or for our children. And if we can help them put correct meaning to events, that is gonna put them at a very big advantage. So I just invite you into that space. Uh, and I think that’s a big part of what it means to engage technology on purpose with our kids.

Providing Protection:

I’d like to speak to mom and dads in the area of technology and parenting on purpose. I’d like to take just one small, uh, segment of that and focus in on protection.
There’s a lot of things to be concerned about with technology. Some of us have a hard time holding onto that, being aware of that. And so sometimes with protection it’s just we need to remind ourselves that this is an area that yeah, there are things that are out there that are dangerous.
And so if, if we have a hard time remembering that it can be hard to move into protection because we forget the reality that we can do this, that we can step in, that we can be protective even when something has a lot of potential dangers.
And it’s a really big topic. So the three things that I would encourage you with in this area of protection would be that, that there’s a limits, like how do you set up limits?
And, and the reality is if we can start at a really young age, that can be really helpful Technology in many ways, uh, especially like social media has been designed by its creators to really hook the brain to, to really pull them in in a way that makes it very difficult to step out.
So even as young kids, what does that look like to say, wait, limiting here in this space is actually gonna help equip them when they get to that space, when they’re in their teens and, and trying to figure out how to navigate things like social media.
And it gets more and more complicated. So if we can start early, see what is it that I can do that might limit their exposure and end that, then that’s protective.
And then I think the next thing would be like filters or blocking those things are really helpful. How do I explore that and see what fits well for our family and, and move into that at whatever stage we’re in? Thirdly, and I would say actually this is actually the most important, and that would be relationship. How do we step into relationship building relationship with them so that we know what’s going on in their world, we know what they’re getting exposed to, that we can help them process what they’re hearing or seeing what’s going on with their friends. And that we have that dialogue that helps us see what’s going on in their inner world and then gives us the opportunity to bring truth and wisdom into that.
Growing relationship with our kids, I think is a huge protection factor in the area of technology. Mom and dad’s talking about protection, acknowledges that there’s a threat. So certainly we’re saying here that that technology is a threat.
I think that the news that I want to leave you with is there’s great hope with limits that we put in place with the reality that there’s lots of good resources out there to help block and filter things. But most importantly with you, your relationship with them, provides an immense amount of protection against the threat that’s there.
And I hope that gives you a great deal of hope to step into this space of parenting on purpose with technology.