Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

Child sitting at table using ipad

Parenting in the Digital Age

Moms give tips about how kids and technology can be a good thing if we teach our children to become producers rather than consumers of information.


Bernie Rosquites: You’re listening to Faith and Family, a Christian family community that aims to promote Christian values. 

I’m Bernie Rosquites. I’m a wife, and a tired mom. I have a toddler, I have a job, I have church duties, and sometimes, I just need my toddler to stay still while I’m making dinner, doing the dishes, checking my email, and so I sometimes let the T.V., sometimes iPad, babysit him. How many of you moms do that?

A recent study was conducted my polled 2,403 American parents of children ages two to thirteen; 27% of respondents said that they allow kids to access tech devices on a daily basis, 22% on a weekly basis, and 19% said they do it occasionally, 18% said they rarely did, and 15% said never, and they probably live on some remote island without wifi. When asked if they often use their tech gadgets to effectively babysit their children, keep them occupied so the parents didn’t have to, the majority, 58% said that they did while 25% admitted that it depended on the situation.

Ok so many of us are letting tech, guilty of letting technology babysit our children, raising my hand, I am one of them, but are we aware of what children, of what our children, are watching? Are we controlling what kind of content they are exposed to? Let’s ask other moms.

Joining me today are Emirick, mother of three boys from Monteclaire, California and Annie Canete, mother of two from Jacksonville, Florida. How are you, my girlfriends?

Doing good! Thank you for having us!

Bernie: So, first of all, Annie this is the first time on board with Tired Moms, and you have two kids, right? 

Annie: Yes I do. I had both my hands up earlier with you. I have a seven year old and a three year old. My seven year old is my son and the three old is my darling little daughter. 

Bernie: Oh, ok, and Amrick, you got, you have a teenager, right?

Emirick: I do! I have a fifteen year old and I have…I have a teenager and a “tweenager” and one who thinks he’s a teenager but he’s got a long way to go. He’s nine. So nine, twelve, and fifteen.

Bernie: Ok so, I know a mom, she put her baby in front of one of those, what do you call those? Those baby can read videos on the iPad everyday and let him play with educational apps since he was little. And he read his first 100 words at fourteen months. And I feel like he’s probably like three now and probably on the fourth book of Harry Potter. Maybe Amrick you can answer this first. It’s like, has your children benefited from the technology now?

Emirick: I think so. Well when they were little, they watched a DVD, it was a Leap Frog Learning called Letter Factory…

Bernie: That was as far as technology went, right?

Emirick: Well yea, that was, that was the thing back then. So we had a Leap Frog, what is it called? The Letter Factory and they watched that and they learned their letters quite quickly because of that show. And then they would watch the show, and then I would have flash cards, and I would be like, you know, quizzing them here and there. So, I would say that, yes, they have benefitted from the technology, it has been helpful, but I agree that there is a flipside to it. And we as parents have to be diligent in making sure that, you know, balance is maintained and that we are monitoring the content that they are looking at, and things like that.

Annie: Definitely. We love the LeapFrog DVD series and now it’s all accessible on online streaming

Bernie: Online, yea. What isn’t accessible?

Emirick: I know! It’s impressive. 

Bernie: And you could do anything online. So what about you Annie? Has your seven year old benefitted it? Have you seen a flipside to that? Where you’re like, “What is that on the screen? Where did you get that? How did you…”.

Annie: Oh it’s the worst thing. I was setting up YouTube on our bluray player, right? So it’s an app accessible there and I had to take a phone call and all I did was open the app, handle my phone call, and I come back probably four minutes later, and my two sweetie pies are sitting on the couch, staring at a YouTube screen, and I have…so it’s just the YouTube homepage and there was x-rated content on the screen. Skin, women, upper torso and my jaw dropped, and it’s just flustered, and I was going, “Wait they don’t know. They’re not asking me anything. I’m just going to fumble with this remote to get this off the screen and, you know…”. Thankfully it wasn’t…but, it damaged me. And I’ve seen stuff, like…what? So, and I was so flustered and frustrated. As a parent, we really need to be proactive. And that’s what it is. It’s not that you’re, you know, restrictive. You’re proactive so definitely just do our research and just hold discussion. Ask your kid, “What did you watch? Why did you like it? Do you…would you want to watch more?” and you can rate it, “How does it compare to this show that we watched? or “Why did you choose that one?”, you know and just get to know them and ask them those things. And a lot of times they’re not going to answer. They’re like, “Mom, really? uhh ..”, 

Bernie: But that’s important, right? Communication with your kids. As long as you ask.

Emirick: Yea, even when your kids are a little older, my kids are a little older. And I’m constantly asking them, you know, what they’re viewing on YouTube and on the different shows they watch. I try to stay up to date with whatever they’re watching and not just so that I could get on their case about it, but I try to enjoy it with them. So like, you know, I try to see, I know that David is really into anime, 

Bernie: I was going to ask you about that. That helps his creativity. How is that going? How is that helping him in that realm? Does he like…

Emirick: Oh yea, he is constantly drawing all the different anime characters that he watches and he…YouTube is everything and he checks it out. I call it “YouTube university” because he is learning so much. So many things, you know, he draws, he learns about animals, and he draws the animals, and he draws all his anime characters, and he has, you know, I never give him, I’ve never put him in any drawing lessons, but his drawings are really pretty cool and it’s just everything on YouTube. So it has it’s good sides and its bad sides, and I think as parents, we just have to stay involved and just, you know, we learned the hard way, to constantly check the history of like, what they’re searching on the internet. Let me tell you a story of how that came to play. Why that came into our face, that you need to keep checking the history of what they’re searching.

One night, my oldest son, and this is a couple years ago, when he was probably like thirteen, he’s in bed and he has the iPad and I’m like, “Hey, why do you have the iPad? Give that to me”, you know, “It’s time to go to bed”. And so, you know, I say goodnight, I take the iPad, and as I’m walking out the room, I turn on the iPad and it’s like,, and I was like, something crazy like that, right? And then, and the funny thing is I just came, I took the iPad from my son, I walk out of my son’s room, I see what’s on the screen, and I go, “Louis! What are you searching up here?” 

Bernie: I was searching how to make ramen, mom! 

Emirick: I blamed my husband! I didn’t connect it. I didn’t connect it. And so when I, when I realized I was like, wait a second, what? And then, you know, because I’m like thinking, my son is too young for…he’s not checking this stiff out. And so I’m like, what is going on, and my husband comes out and is like, “What’s happening?”, and then he’s like, “It’s not me!”.

Bernie: But that’s a typical mom thing to do. You know, as a mom you’re like, “Oh no, no, no, no, no”, you’re going to go clean your eyes out, with like bleach, because there are things you can’t unsee. And then of course the dads are going to be more…

Emirick: Yea, more understanding. More like, ok, let’s sit down, let’s not jump to conclusions. And I’m very grateful that he’s got that leveled head because he starts searching the history, and then he starts realizing, he’s like, “he’s searching for pregnant anatomy”. He’s like looking at, he’s searching the different anatomy that he’s been learning in school, because they had…just had that, like, sex-ed thing, and so my husband is just like, “This is what’s going on. This is what he’s searching, and this is what pops up when he searches it”, and so my husband and him, and my son, had the talk after that, and all that stuff

Bernie: And you went to the bathroom and screamed your head off

Annie: I’m on the other side of her bathroom doors, saying, “We got this!”

Emirick: Don’t worry. Let’s scream together!

Annie: After describing what you do with your child, the follow up and the discussion, that’s the whole point. Because I was a public school teacher and it baffled me when, and we’re not changing the subject here, but it just baffled me when parents didn’t spend so much time, and so you can. Instead of sending your child off with the device, or to the device, go with them. Discover something together. And please be the one to teach them, because they’re not learning it at school. The teacher does not have time to walk them through, step by step, how to find this stuff. And chances are, they’ve picked it up already so they know what to do when they get to Google, they know how whatever it is they search

Emirick: That’s so true. See an iPhone and an iPad are so nice and compact and you could put them in your purse, and then, like go places, and then if you need it to distract your kids, you could. I had to bring like this huge gym bag with puzzles, and crayons, and big old, like characters [laughter] because I didn’t have an iphone

Annie: And you had to rotate your stuff

Emirick: Yea, and bring it out, exactly, I’m bringing out the like preschool as we’re like at the chapel

Bernie: Well you know, it is so easy for our kids to get caught up in their games. And it’s so easy for us to give in to their whims, especially when you know, they’re being so behaved while they’ve got the device in their hands, but, you know, how are we making sure our kids stay present, and are doing meaningful things, especially because God don’t like lazy. God doesn’t like lazy, and too much of that zoning out and being lazy creates and generates idleness. So can we use technology to teach kids about their faith? So, do you introduce or are your kids now watching like INC Kids content, or is that a daily thing that your kids watch? How about you, Annie?

Annie: Yes, oh yes. They are watching INC Kids content and they love, absolutely love the characters, they love the animated Bible stories, they love the sing alongs with Let’s Sing. I love them, they’re great for when you’re brushing the teeth, it’s like the perfect amount of time. And my three year old does not want the toothbrush anywhere near her mouth but she’ll zone out and I’ll just get right in there 

Bernie: I got like three minutes. Have you used technology, or have you, you know, has technology helped with your children’s faith? Sometimes we’re going to come across things, like you said, that aren’t friendly to the eye or you may see something that, like for example, Christmas or holiday stuff. You know what I mean? How does that come into play with their faith? Have you come across anything like that? Annie?

Annie: Oh my gosh, thank you. I’m going to run with this one right now. 

Bernie: Run with it girl

Annie: One of the reasons why I’m homeschooling was because I know that most of the early education years are centered around holidays on the calendar, which mostly are pagan and I’m here in the south where they haven’t, they haven’t really adapted to the whole separation of things, and I was a teacher, so we taught where, well if you’re going to teach one thing, you teach all of the options, right? And you’re going to honor and I just went the science route. Totally, and nobody knew anything different. It was awesome, and fun. And so, the coolest thing was, those INC Kids episodes, I believe, I know there’s Let’s Sing episodes on all the holidays that we do not follow because they have no biblical basis and you can’t tell that to kids. They’ll listen because they love God. They know of Him, and your instruction of Him, and praying to Him, and then learning about Him in the worship service, and then you sit there, and you’re trying. And if you, if the school beat you to that conversation, you have some catching up to do. And here comes INC Kids, I’m sorry, twenty three minutes later, I had the rest of the day. I was like, “Wow, he got it”, and he was like, “Well, this…we don’t do Halloween because it’s not in the bible, and yes I can have candy whenever I want”, and he picked these things up from the episode. I literally was like, kissing the iPad like, “I love you!”. It just made it easy.

Bernie: Thank God for INC Kids, right?

Emirick: Yes. One of our favorite ones is That’s In The Bible, because they’re, you know, concise and they’re very straight to the point. So I know that there are several episodes about the holidays on That’s In The Bible and we would watch those. And so it would, like, reaffirm the things I was telling them, and then we would expand on it, and we would use, we would use technology to further research. You know, we’d find websites to show like, “See this is where it came from, you guys could read it. This is the history of that holiday. Does that go with what we believe? And all that stuff. And so, I know that some parents might think like, it’s hard to explain that to a young child, I think you totally can, and I’m so grateful now that there is INC Kids that help you do that.

Bernie. That is awesome. Well we have an obligation to make sure that they are consuming and utilizing technology responsibly.

Emirick: You know, in your use of technology, you’re a consumer, and sometimes you’re a producer. And so I talk to them about how like, if you’re just always a consumer, you know, how…it’s not really helping you. Technology, it should be a tool to make your life better. You know? It shouldn’t just be something you zone out on, and become zombies, and you’re just like…you know, absorbing all this tech but really, what are you doing with it? So, the point is to be able to produce. And so I talk to them about how like, don’t just be a consumer, be a producer, too. What can you do with all of these things you’re learning? And technology, you know, you’re learning all these different things, and so like, when they’re using technology, and I feel like, you’ve been using that kind of long, I’ll approach them and be like, “Are you being a consumer or producer right now? [laughter] And then they’ll be like, “I’m a consumer right now because I’m doing research because I plan to produce soon”, they found ways around it. But then, like, it’s in their consciousness that like, I can’t just take it all in and not output anything. That whole consumer-producer conversation, I feel like it has helped me get it into his head, that like, tech is a tool, it’s not just something I stare at, it’s not just something I play with. You know? It’s a tool to do something with, to make my life better, to contribute to the world, to share my ideas. So I think that helped me a lot. 

Bernie: How about you Annie? Did you want to contribute?

Annie: I wanted to add another way that INC Media, the content on our website is so helpful with your children. The one thing I’m very grateful for in this day and age, is to be able to track the whereabouts and the visitations done by our executive minister, and how my children know his name, and they know what he looks like, and they know his purpose. They’re not going to watch the entire segment of Executive News, but they catch it, and they “Oh where is he?”, and it’s neat because you can tie it right into geography, so if you got a globe, or a map, a world map, or pull up Google maps, they’re able to see, and you just right reviews there. What continent is he on? 

Bernie: Perfect. Well I want to thank you moms so much, Amrick and Annie, and I appreciate you joining this Tired Moms podcast on Faith and Family. So, I appreciate your wonderful input, I’m literally just like, writing notes as you guys talk, so I’m learning. I’ve learned so much today. 

I’m Bernie Rosquites and we’re all going to talk to you next time on Faith and Family, thank you.