September 5, 2019

By: Candice Hillenbrand, Director of Mission Engagement

As a parent, I am charged with the care and keeping of my children. Sometimes that means I stop them from running out in front of a car. Daily, it means I hunt down food and feed them. Often, it means the nagging reminders to “clean your room” and “PLEASE, go back into the bathroom and brush your teeth..for real this time.”

My husband and I are a team; we do the very best we can with what we have. I don’t measure my parenting against that of my parents because today is a vastly different childhood landscape than it was even a few short decades ago. As a mother of two beautiful girls, I have been faced with the constant internal (and too often external) conflict of consciousness over the devices that are an absolute constant in our lives. I have found myself on the couch after a long day at work just to look around and realize that every person in our family is hunched over with their faces glowing into their chosen device. Instantly, the guilt and shame of allowing this to happen will take me over and I will call out, “Devices away! I have had enough of this. Is this how we want to live these precious moments we have together?” My awareness of the problem then becomes the whole family’s emergency. This is almost always met with a series of eye rolls and sighs. Mom is on a device strike again.

Truth be told, I don’t always know all the new apps, the ways things can be hidden from parental eyes, and what my kids view online or who they interact with. I want to know all the things I feel a good parent should, but I can’t keep up with the YouTube stars, the latest trends in hashtags and don’t know what social media sites are trending. As parents, we often feel overwhelmed by the super highway of instant connection and we can easily slip into the easy out..not discussing it.

Do I think that makes us bad parents? No, I don’t. I know that I am not alone. I also know that other parents struggle to find balance and safety in this social media world.

This desire to share information and have meaningful discussion with other parents about these unique parenting challenges is what drove me to start the Family University: Navigating Life in a Social Media World during Wednesday Night Alive.

This class is intended to build bridges of trust with our children while giving ourselves the practical tools and education needed to help us navigate this online world within our families. I hope you will join us!

Register for Family University:Navigating Life in a Social Media World