My wife and I have wrestled over the many questions related to social media for a number of years now, and I have come to the conclusion that as parents, it is time for us to speak up and do something for the sake of our children and the sake of future generations. Social media in its current form is destroying brains and destroying lives. Parents lament, parents worry, parents regulate, parents try to control, but the data shows that our best efforts in isolation cannot stem the massive personal and social damage that social media applications are wreaking, all in the name of profit for a few very rich and powerful companies.
It is not the fault of our brains. Our brains work perfectly fine. It is the fault of developers who spend billions of dollars designing software that intentionally manipulates the human brain in order to get us addicted to their software so that they can sell our data to the highest bidder. Rather than fight the developers however, parents need to work together to build a movement that intentionally limits the use of technology and protects children from engaging in content that is inappropriate. The time has come for a movement of likeminded individuals to agree and covenant together to provide social media free, technology limited environments for children to play and develop in.
CrossLife is a teeny tiny fish in the pond, but I am calling for leaders across the board in Christian and even secular circles who care about what social media is doing to our children, to take the lead and develop a platform that makes it easy for parents to come together and agree in terms of values and actions on what they will do to protect the children who enter their home from the damaging effects of technology and social media. It is time for parents to exercise our first amendment right to peaceably assemble and make change happen.
Here are some basic ideas of what the platform should communicate regarding technology and social media.
1. No child living or visiting my house will have unsupervised access to technology devices, including tv’s, cell phones, tablets, video game consoles, computers, or the like.
2. Parents of children visiting our home will be notified and asked to give permission regarding any use of technology such as video games, tv’s, tablets, phones, etc.
3. No adults or children in this home will ever be allowed to look at or use any kind of pornographic media, including printed material like magazines or books, videos, video games, or anything else.
4. All devices in this home are equipped with software to protect against unprohibited use for pornographic content.
To some parents this might sound extreme, but the data is clear that current practices are making life miserable for teens and having an enormous impact on childhood development. It is time for parents to take childhood back from the technology companies and social media purveyors who have stolen it. Enough is enough.
Others might say that while this all sounds well and good, who is going to enforce it? Obviously, just because someone signs up to join the movement on the platform does not mean I am going to throw all caution and discernment to the wind. I still have to do my best as my child’s parent to make sure I can trust my child’s friends and their parents, but this platform gives us a common starting point that makes it much easier to have these kind of conversations. Instead of having to have lengthy talks with every one of my child’s friends to make sure they understand our rules regarding technology and social media, I can send them a link to the platform, let them know that we are part of this movement and want our children playing in homes of likeminded parents. If they agree, then we can have a brief conversation to cover the specifics, if they don’t, then we will have to decide what would be best for our child regarding that friendship.
The other benefit is that when there is a platform with potentially thousands or millions of parents signing on, it makes it much easier to convince other parents to join too, and the end result is that many more parents will join the movement to give kids freedom than if it is just myself talking one-on-one to parent after parent.
If you’re reading this, work with me to get those with the influence, power, and money to organize this movement. Just imagine if parents were no longer at the mercy of luck and wishful thinking about what their kids were able to see and do on their phones when they’re hanging out with their friends? Imagine a world where our daughters are not consumed by envy and covetousness because of the effects of social media on their developing brains and bodies? Imagine if parents could easily agree with one another through a common platform that all children in their home will be allowed to have a childhood not poisoned by the toxic influence of social media, pornography, and technology addiction?
The solution is not to get rid of technology, but to make technology work toward human flourishing, not corporate profit. Who’s with me?