How to teach our kids to use technology during a pandemic

I love Sunday mornings, but there is one thing I dread each week about them. Outside of the blessing of gathering together as the church (even remotely in this season) and extra time with my family, I get the dreaded notification on my iPhone. From reading and entertainment to social media and productivity, the screen time activity report on my phone displays the reality of my online activity for the past week. That methodic revelation often comes as a disappointing and discouraging reminder of the toils of this season of remote work, online school, and social distancing.

Our children are likewise fixated on screens, with countless hours spent online for homework, remote learning, gaming, reading, social media, connecting with friends, and even gathering with the church. This generation of children is the first to grow up in the smartphone era, seemingly always connected by social media and digital technology. It will be decades before we see the full effects of these technologies on their development as adults.

If we are honest, this season is hard on most of us. The guilt associated with screen time and our children can be overwhelming at times even for the most disciplined parents. I don’t know of a single family that thinks they have these things all figured out. Two things are for certain: we will get through this pandemic season, but we will fail at times in our role as parents. However, our job isn’t to be the perfect parents or guardians. Our role is to shepherd and disciple our children in the ways of the Lord, even in our digital first world. 

The Rundown

Twitter is building ‘Birdwatch,’ a system to fight misinformation by adding more context to tweetsTechCrunch

In order to combat misinformation in the final month before the election, Twitter has added a new feature that will allow users to flag tweets for moderation and add notes with more details behind posts. This new addition called “Birdwatch” gives users the ability to vote on whether a tweet is false or misleading and add annotations which may be public or private.

Americans are one step closer to a national contact tracing app for Covid-19Vox

Catalyzed by a tool developed by Apple and Google, the U.S. has progressed towards a nationwide COVID-19 contact tracing app. This national server created by tech giants helps pave a road toward coordination among states, which up until this point has mainly produced programs that have yet to provide useful tracing information across state lines.

Facebook Widens Ban on Political Ads as Alarm Rises Over ElectionThe New York Times

On Wednesday, Facebook said that it would take more preventative measures to keep political candidates from using it to manipulate the election’s outcome and aftermath. The company now plans to prohibit all political and issue-based advertising after the polls close on November 3 for an undetermined length of time.

Facebook completely bans QAnon and labels it a ‘militarized social movement’The Verge

In its most drastic moderation measure to date, Facebook has decided to ban all profiles, groups, and posts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. This move is important in setting the precedent for online content moderation on the part of big tech companies. How this action is received by lawmakers and the public could also have implications for regulative policy in this sector.

Other Resources:

A conversation with Trillia Newbell about parenting, kids, and technologyWeeklyTech Podcast

‘The Social Dilemma’ and the Bigger DilemmaThe Gospel Coalition

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Digital Public Square Podcast with Jason Thacker

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