Texting, Facebook, and Technology
Recently, I did a parents training in which we talked alot about the avenues of communications that teenagers are using currently. Much of our time was spent on the topic of texting. The discussion wasn't so much, "Is texting right or wrong?" but more "how can I engage my teenager on the level of this conversation?" It was a great dialogue and discussion. There are a few things that I have observed in this realm in the last several years.
1. There IS a generational difference when it comes to communication and how generations view communication. Here's what I mean. When a teenager texts someone, they tend to think that what they are saying is just as if they were speaking to that person. There is literally NO difference in the mind of a teenager between talking face to face and texting a person. Different generations seem to view this differently. I have heard many parents say, "Why can't they get their eyes off the screen and onto the person in front of them?" The reality is that they are looking at the person in front of them when they are looking at the screen.
2. Many folks ask whether or not texting is a healthy communication pattern and if we need to be addressing it as a church. My personal opinion is that while it allows people to be more efficient and effective in getting information, it is destroying community and allowing authenticity to be paraded in the comfort behind the screens of our teenagers. There are more temptations for our teenagers to be "dual" in their personalities because of the stage of dualism that they are allowed to dance on, one in front of screens and one in front of people.
3. So, should we use the technology or not? I think we will use the technology that we have available to us to use, but we must be careful to teach good principles from God's word, from life, and from living in relationship with other people as we use the tools of technology.
Even in the area of facebook, as Youth Leaders, we must be willing to coach and admonish our teens to live out Christ online as well as offline. I don't ever want to be known as the "facebook Nazi" but at the same time, I do want to be known as someone who will ask questions when there are concerning things that are posted!
The resource that you can download from this particular blog is one that I provided for parents. It's a way to send text messages from your email. Because I am horrible with a phone and using T9, I often use this method of communication with students (and adults) to gather information and make connections. I am careful with sharing personal information through texts but sometimes gather information for later discussions face to face with my students.
I also attached another article for further reading in this discussion.
I'm praying for each of you in the area of technology and using it well and would love comments on this issue!
About Me, Chris Rollman
My name is Chris Rollman. I am married to a wonderful woman, Cassie, and we have two pretty cool kids. Isaiah is a handful but a wonderful handful and Evy is a bundle of joy and alot of fun!
My mission is 1. Lead my family well and 2. Multiply churches that multiply churches to saturate our county with the gospel and reduce the lostness. I am the "Pastor of Church Planting" at West E. Free Church in Wichita, KS.
I grew up in Central Iowa, North of Des Moines in Ankeny, Ia. I realized at a young age that church could be a real dangerous place to be and went through high school going to a solid 'safe' church. But the extreme experiences that I had with church was only mirrored with the extreme experiences that I have and had with God. He seemed distant sometimes and so close other times. I realized that discipleship and following him wasn't about whether it felt good, but whether or not I was consistent and obedient all because I was madly in love with him. I want others to experience this growth in their lives. I want those that don't know Christ to come to know him through the relationships that they have with people that know and follow Jesus!