Many parents are caught in a dilemma of whether or not to buy their children a cell phone. For some it provides the security of knowing where their children are and they are able to communicate with them regardless or travel or activities. But for others, it also presents the darker side of cell phone usage including cyber bullying, sexting and pornography. According to Nielsen, less than half (45%) of mobile kids got a service plan at 10-12 years old. The most predominant age when kids got a service plan was age 10 (22%), followed by 8 years old (16%) and ages 9 and 11 were tied at 15%. Additionally, Apple shareholders say it needs to research the impact of smartphones on kids after working with child development experts to review studies that found links between the use of electronic devices and negative effects on concentration, emotional health, sleep and empathy.
In an online world that creates an illusion of reality and “friends” through social media, apps and “followers,” “Kirk Cameron: CONNECT” pulls back the curtain to the benefits, dangers and boundaries that every parent, teacher or adult should consider while monitoring and utilizing technology in our young people’s lives. As Cameron reminds parents, “The heart of the battle is really the battle of the heart.”
For two nights only, Fathom Events, CAMFAM Studios and Provident Films present “Kirk Cameron: CONNECT” exclusively in movie theaters nationwide on Tuesday, February 27 and Thursday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m. local time (both days).
This compelling documentary highlights the experiences of Dr. Ian Armstrong (Neurosurgeon), Kathy Koch, Ph.D. (founder of Celebrate Kids, Inc.), Tim Woda (founder of uKnowKids), Pastor Ken Graves (Calvary Chapel, Bangor, Maine), and Mark Gregston (founder of Heartlight). Also featured are parents and young adults who share their own personal stories regarding the impact of technology in their lives.
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8
Growing up in the entertainment industry, Kirk was considered a teen heart throb in the 80’s and from his starring role on “Growing Pains” (1985-1992) where he met his future wife (Chelsea Noble) – they married in 1991. Together they have six young adult children (including four adopted). Kirk’s recent film credits include Left Behind, Fireproof, and his recent record breaking documentaries Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure and Unstoppable. Kirk Cameron and his wife, Chelsea, are also the founders of Camp Firefly, where terminally ill children and their families are provided an all-expense paid retreat (www.campfirefly.com).
Learn from others. Whether it is the movie “Kirk Cameron: CONNECT,” a book or a conference, there are lots of great resources out there to help parents, educators and mentors on the effects of social media, cell phones and technology. Grab another parent, neighbor or friend from church and check out the movie or go to a conference. It can be nice to go with another person so that you can talk about what you learned and give one another feedback.
Set boundaries. This can be difficult as a parent or someone that oversees youth, especially when others don’t seem to be setting boundaries. If possible ask other parents, small group leader or a pastor for ideas on what has worked for their family. Remember what works for one child may not work for another. Pray and ask God to direct you as you establish boundaries for your family. One that we have found insightful is only having computers in places where everyone can see the screen. It is less likely for someone to view pornography if anyone can see the screen at any given time.
Guard your heart. Take time this week to evaluate all of the messages that your family watches and hears. It could be the music you are listening to, the television or movies watched, the games played on computer, phone or game system. Think through the messages of each of these outlets and if they honor God. It can also be helpful to evaluate the time that is spent doing each of those things versus the time we should be doing other things like homework, household chores and just spending time as a family or with friends. Ask God to help you if you need to spend less time on the computer, watching TV or on your phone.