Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Technology and Kids--Incredible!

Are you a techie?  I don't really consider myself one.  My husband likes to say that I am "technologically impaired."  I know just enough to make myself dangerous. Not so with kids.  I was babysitting a 4 year old boy who asked to play with my ipad and was able to get on the internet and download a game in about 2 minutes.  He then proceeded to play and get to several top levels in the game!!!!  He can't read yet but could navigate the internet just fine.  I was amazed.

Those of you who know me, know that I am a Grandmother 6 times over. I am also a Children's Pastor which makes me a" Kidologist" of sorts. Those of us who work with kids should make it a regular practice to study the culture of the children we minister to.  My grandchildren and the children we teach each week are growing up in a completely different culture than we experienced.  The presence of technology (especially the internet) in their world impacts everything about them.  As a grandparent and Children's Pastor I am concerned about the online environment our kids are exposed to.  We have all seen the horror stories on the evening news.

Here are just a couple of facts about kids and technology:  (1) 80% of children under 5 use the Internet, and most start by the time they're 3 years old.  (2) Kids spend 4-7 hours online every day.
Technology is advancing rapidly and the culture of our kids includes it in a huge way.  Like it or not, we must rise to the challenge of finding new ways to embrace technology.  Like it or not, we are competing with secular programming that is designed to hook kids in with the best and most creative games, virtual worlds and educational elements. 

What should we do?  We have only one solution.  We must figure out a way to use technology to reach and teach kids in a safe and secure way.  I am convinced it can be done.  The message of the gospel has not changed in over 2,000 years but the methods that we use to deliver it have!  So, let's get with it!

There is something brand new that I want to tell you about.  It has been developed by My Healthy Church (formerly Gospel Publishing House) and One Hope Innovated.  It is called Incredible Islands. It is a virtual world for kids that is fun and also teaches interactively through Bible stories, quizzes, scripture memorization, prayer and teaching about missions and generosity.  This program harnesses the power of technology for 21st century kids.   It is designed to enhance the effectiveness of the children's ministry leader, allowing them to teach in the method that children today are learning.  Check it out online at www.incredibleislands.com

I am excited about this great new tool for us to use.