Recent studies by Orange and Barna Research Group have revealed some surprising trends in Teen media use as it relates to families of faith. If you’re struggling with your teen or tween’s addiction to media, technology and instant communication… you are NOT alone. Most families are struggling with keeping a relationship alive with their teenagers in a time when most of our kids are either out of the house with their friends and extra-curricular activities or plugged in and tuned out when they do stop by…
No one ministry or expert can solve every family communication challenge, but we can point you in the right direction by recommending a great new resource by Orange and Barna Research. Their “The Family and Technology Study” 2011 is up to date with trends, and statistics that will directly impact how you react and guide your families and youth groups. I strongly encourage you to invest in this resource if you have teens or are in youth ministry.
This is a proprietary research product, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than a introductory statement/quote about their findings, but it gives us something to consider for sure. Here is a summary from the first page of introduction…
“So, whats the bottom line? Well, technology is impacting families in a significant way, but not in the way you might think. The state of relationships between parents and teens are not as healthy as we might have hoped, but technology does not appear to be the culprit. Technology is not the enemy, it simply facilitates the way we were already relating to each other...” (Reggie Joiner, Jared Herd and Carey Nieuwhof, of Orange)
Clearly with the extensive and detailed research of the Barna and Orange groups, the technology and families trend is being studied and evaluated for us to benefit. If you purchase and study this report, you will find the challenges to our tweens and teens begin and end with the parenting oversight and behaviors, much MORE than in the energy and effort to control the consumption of our kids.
Translated…our kids are following our lead when it comes to media and technology. mimicking our personal use down to almost the exact number of minutes of media ingested per day… over 225 minutes per day for parents compared to over 275 minutes for teens. (page 18 of study) The reality comes abruptly at us when you stop to think about it… our kids are simply learning from us.
So, if your kids are blasting away too much of their days online, gaming or instant messaging their seven hundred Facebook friends… it may be time to take a long hard look in the mirror of our lives and see how much we’re using our laptops at the dinner table? Sobering reality to realize that the erosion of the family and faith cannot simply be blamed at the feet of the awful technological tsunami outside our doors… much scarier to realize it’s from the parenting habits well established within.
I encourage you take the time to find out more with a summary of their report at Barna Research, cost is $29.00 but well worth it for concerned Parents or Pastors. ( this is not an advertisement, I use their research regularly in my work and ministry and have purchased my own copy at a recent Orange conference, which I also HIGHLY recommend attending)
God has a strategy and a way for us as parents to reach our kids with the truth of an authentic faith… what may be the most difficult part of that mission, is the changes He may ask us to make along the way. Technology maybe one of the first places we get challenged to carefully consider…
Gotta go… Sorry, I really need to go now to practice my defensive moves on my “Call of Duty” game. 🙂