Last month, Dr. Kathy Coch spoke at LCA's latest PEP Talk on “Technology’s Influence Over Children’s Beliefs and Behavior.” Dr. Coch broke down 5 ways that technology is influencing children’s beliefs and behaviors (and ours). LCA Guidance Counselor, Dr. Lana Snear, walks through how parents can play a role in helping their students navigate the often muddy waters of the digital age.
Our students have never lived in a world without technology and the cell phone. The iPhone was invented 14 years ago so it has grown up with them and vice versa. Technology is as much a part of their ‘normal’ lives as oxygen.
Since children’s brains aren’t fully developed until they are 24 years old, and 80% of communication capability occurs after birth, the iPhone and technology have completely shaped the way our students think, and communicate. Furthermore, technology has changed their beliefs, hearts, and relationship with the Lord.
Below are 5 beliefs/lies today’s students believe and live based on the technological world they have grown up in.
- “I am the center of my own universe.”
Why they believe this: Through the use of technology the world has become centered around them. They receive ads based on their interests, if they walk into a store, GPS picks that up and sends them ads based on their location. They quickly begin to feel that ‘it really is all about me,’ ‘there is not a lot outside of me,’ ‘the world revolves around and caters to me.’
Results of this belief: self-centeredness, pride, entitlement, loneliness, anger, dissatisfaction
How this impacts their faith: If they are the center of their universe then that does not leave a space for the Lord, He becomes an afterthought or a conditional need, so they don’t rely on Him or see the world through His eyes. They don’t see a need to seek or consult with Him
Our Role: Teach them to be other-centered, have them serve often, teach empathy and compassion, teach them that everyone has value. Reveal their need for the Lord. Help them to see things through God’s eyes.
2. “I deserve to be happy all the time.”
Why they believe this: They are being raised during the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ era. Also they have a lot of control over their immediate happiness through the control of their technology, i.e. if they are playing a game and losing then they can just exit the game, if what they are watching no longer has their interest or attention they can quickly flip to the next thing.
Results of this belief: inability to endure, fear of negative emotions, poor decision-making skills, increased complaining, whining, arguing, anger, limited effort
How this impacts their faith: Believe that God’s sole job is to keep them happy and if He isn’t then they can move on to something else. Unable to endure struggles to grow in their faith.
Our Role: Talk about hard emotions, help them to see how trials produce strength and character, teach them to be fighters, not runners, prioritize gratitude and peace over happiness
3. “I must have choices.”
Why they believe this: They were raised in a generation where parents believed it was important to give children choices rather than tell them no. Technology has placed a million choices at their fingertips, if they make a choice that leads to dissatisfaction they can ‘unmake it.’
Results of this belief: overwhelmed with making the ‘right/best choice’, difficulty focusing, fail to persevere, never satisfied, struggle with ‘big choices’
How this impacts their faith: Believe that God should give them choices rather than require them to live a certain way, believe that they have choices regarding ‘truth’, if following God becomes difficult then they can choose something else.
Our Role: Teach them that choices are a privilege, not a right. Prioritize obedience, teach them how to make decisions, teach them how to accept the consequences of a bad choice. Teach them to value standards and truths.
4. “I am my own authority – I am in charge.”
Why they believe this: There are no clear standards in the world today. They are told, “Own your own truth.”
Results of this belief: They are argumentative, feel everything is up for debate, do not have a teachable spirit, confused about right and wrong, have no absolutes, lots of stress because they have no one to depend on but themselves
How this impacts their faith: They reject God because belief in Him denies their own authority over their choices, they don’t believe because they don’t feel there is an absolute authority
Our Role: Be a mentor, help them find mentors, help them see and process ‘authority failure’ – those in charge that have failed them or others, be an example of someone who relies on an ultimate authority, show them the freedom that comes from having an ultimate authority, don’t engage in arguments or debates with them because this gives power to their belief that they are an authority.
5. “Information is all I need, so I don’t need teachers.”
Why they believe this: They have information at their fingertips, they can google just about anything, they can be self-taught
Results of this belief: They are not teachable, they don’t dig deep into topics but rather seek simple answers, they develop the ‘google effect’ – gain answers but never really learn anything, they are frustrated, develop education apathy, drop out of school, become lazy workers, don’t set or accomplish goals
How this impacts their faith: They don’t seek Him for answers, they are unwilling to ‘learn’ and to let information change who they are, apathetic about things of a spiritual nature
Our Role: make learning fun, develop growth mindsets rather than performance mindsets, teach them to explore, give them opportunities to ‘be quiet’ – we have ‘aha moments’ in the silence, things sink in when our brains are quiet, God speaks to us when we are in a place to listen, don’t allow them to use earbuds all the time, they have to learn to be comfortable with their inner thoughts, don’t be satisfied as a teacher by knowledge or answers but rather get excited over the process.
Lana Snear currently serves as the South Campus Counselor at Legacy Christian Academy. She came to Legacy in 2018 with previous experience working in private practice, as well as other private and public school districts. Dr. Snear received her Doctorate degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University. She holds a license in psychology, school psychology, and a certification in professional Christian counseling. She has been married for 30 years, has 4 children, and a new granddaughter. She loves the relationships she has gotten to build with the students and families at Legacy. Her over-arching goal is that each student would know they are ‘seen' and have great value. KNOWTICE OTHERS=Notice others + Know Others
Legacy Christian Academy is Frisco's preeminent Pre-K through 12 Christian school committed to educating students in a college preparatory environment balanced in academics, athletics, and fine arts–all within the context of a biblical worldview. For more information on Legacy, visit our admissions page.