How do we thrive in digital Babylon? Over a number of posts, we’ve highlighted many of the advantages of technology, warned of some of the dangers, and begun a digital detox. But we want to turn more positive and suggest what a healthy digital diet might look like at different ages and stages of life.
You’ll remember how Daniel and his friends purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves with the heathen diet of Babylon (Daniel 1:8). They still ate though. But they chose a different diet, a less exciting diet, to the one offered them in Babylon. And the result? With God’s blessing they thrived and flourished ten times more than their peers (Daniel 1:20). So what will a Daniel diet in digital Babylon look like?
There are probably a few people left who are still trying the “no technology” approach. They say: “The dangers are too great; the consequences are too awful. Therefore, we’ll keep separate from the world by rejecting technology. We won’t buy it, and we will ban our children from using it, too.”
This approach is admirable and understandable, but impossible. Digital technology is so pervasive that trying to avoid it is like trying to avoid breathing. And even if we succeed in avoiding contamination, our children certainly won’t. They will find it, or it will find them. They will then be using it without our knowledge and without any training and teaching—probably the worst of all worlds.
Other people try the “more technology” strategy. That’s what I used to focus on most, the idea being that we use good technology to defeat bad technology. So, we set up passwords and time limits on home computers, we add tracking apps to our children’s cell phones, we install accountability software on our laptops, and so on. All of these things are good and can certainly be helpful parts of an overall package of caring for ourselves and our children.
If you want to go all-in on this, then go for the Challies Porn Free Family Plan. Add Circle if you want the Fort Knox version. If you don’t do that, then at least get Covenant Eyes on all your family’s devices—including your own (Shona and I both use Covenant Eyes to keep one another accountable).
There are some problems, though, if we are relying on the “more technology” approach alone. The first is that we can never get enough good technology to beat bad technology. Teens are especially adept at circumventing controls and finding loopholes in the most secure systems. Sure, we can slow them down, we can make it more difficult by putting some obstacles in the way, but if they are determined enough, they are going to beat us. They can always find more technology to beat our “more technology” battle plan.
Also, even if we succeed in securing their devices, as soon as they walk out the door, they can access anything they want on friends’ devices. Or, they can simply get another device and hide it from us.
This approach can sometimes tend toward legalism and often undermines relationships by creating a sort of “cat and mouse” scenario, resulting in suspicion on the one side and hiding on the other.
We need technology, but we need more than “more technology.” Tomorrow we’ll begin to look at what more we can do to help our families thrive in digital Babylon.
Previous Posts: Technology is Created by God, Technology is the Gift of God, Technology Reveals God, The Dangers of Digital Babylon, Digital Technology is Killing our Minds, Digital Technology is Killing our Health, Digital Technology is Killing our Relationships. Digital Technology is Killing our Productivity, Digital Technology is Killing our Souls. Digital Detox.