Fathers sometimes get a bad rap. It feels like there are more negative statistics surrounding fathers and their influence (or more accurately – lack thereof), yet again and again the research proves that parents are the number one influence in their child’s life. So use your influence for good, Dad! Simple acts of reaching out to your children can make a significant difference in their lives.
One area I see a disconnect between parents and kids is in the realm of technology. Parents feel like they can’t or don’t want to understand it, and kids feel like it is free game. In February, I was ministering in Australia, and one gentleman shared an excellent concept with the group during my team’s Tech Talk. He said in his house, tech world is open world. Meaning, his children (who were a little older – I don’t suggest this approach if you have younger children), were allowed to go anywhere on his computer, phone, or iPad. In return, he also had all his children’s passwords and could go anywhere on their devices, too. I thought that was a great idea! Why not make tech world open world? As long as mom and dad are diligent to monitor what goes on on these devices, I’m all for transparency.
Another young gentleman helping my ministry team out during our International trip shared about one of the times he felt like his dad really cared was when, out of the blue, he sat down and played a video game with him. Things had been a little shaky in their relationship, and his dad’s simple act of reaching out really meant a lot. This testimony really drove home the point to me that our kids want us to engage them in their world – which happens to be very technology-driven in our day and age. So what can we do to reach out? I’ve put together some simple ideas below.
5 ideas to connect with your kids over their technology:
1. Start a family whatsapp group (or something similar)
We have one of these in my family. All the kids who have a smart phone are a part of it, along with me and my husband. We communicate about day-to-day details, encourage one another, and post funny things. Many a laugh and good conversation has come through funny pictures my kids have sent. They also frequently ask for prayer over different issues. It honestly helps us stay connected in the midst of our busy schedules!
2. Play a video game with your kids
If your kids like video games, sit down and play with them. Sure, you may not be good at it, but the point is your kids will appreciate the fact that you spent the time with them. It will also give you a glimpse into the games they play and what they are like.
3. Watch a good movie together
I admit finding quality movies nowadays can be challenging, but there have been some good ones made recently. Pick one you think your children will be interested in and watch it together. It’s not rocket science, but it can really start conversation and makes for a great time of connecting.
4. Post something encouraging to your child’s social media
If your kids are on Facebook or something similar, post something like an article they would find interesting, a picture of you and them when they were young, or just a note saying you love them. My husband is very good at this and my kids really appreciate it (even in spite of the occasional eye roll).
5. Put an encouraging background on their devices
Whether it’s a desktop background, cell phone, iPod, or tablet – find something encouraging like a scripture that means something to them or a picture of the two of you, or even a custom phrase like “I am so proud of you! – Dad”. Do it while they are out and have them come home to the surprise. They may even be surprised you knew how to do it!
Need help keeping up with your children’s internet usage? Check out Covenant Eyes by clicking here.