Be honest, are you in control of the technology in your home, or does it control you?

I recently read a book by Andy Crouch called the The Tech-Wise Family.  I was anticipating a guide warning me about the dangers of this website or that ap.  Instead I got a soul-convicting call to lead my family out of the slavery of the “Everything Everywhere Always” culture.

I highly recommend Crouch’s book.  It’s short, convicting, and offers some tangible steps to putting technology in its proper place.  At the same time, he’s honest about the fact that he doesn’t meet his own standards with perfect consistency.  Here’s a quick overview of the book  If my summary intrigues you even a little, I recommend you pick it up.

  • The primary place to develop wisdom and courage is in the family.  In reality, technology doesn’t truly help us do either of those things.  The deluge of mobile technology often does the opposite.
  • The model for life given to man in the Bible is work-rest.  The pattern of our current lives is more like toil-leisure.  Mobile phones and computing have “saved us work” but allowed work to follow us anywhere.  At the same time, our attention seeking devices are good at entertaining us but not at giving us soul-restoring rest.  Combine these, and it’s no wonder we stay stressed and anxious.
  • To help his family try to live as flourishing human beings, rather than units of productivity or mind-numbed monkeys to be entertained, they have developed Ten Tech-Wise Commandments for their family.
    1. We develop wisdom and courage together as a family.
    2. We want to create more than we consume.  So we fill the center of our home with things that reward skill and active engagement.
    3. We are designed for a rhythm of work and rest.  So one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year, we turn off our devices and worship, feast, play, and rest together.
    4. We wake up before our devices do, and they “go to bed” before we do.
    5. We aim for “no screens before double digits” in our home.
    6. We use screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using them aimlessly, and alone.
    7. Car time is conversation time.
    8. Spouses have one another’s passwords, and parents have total access to children’s devices.
    9. We learn to sing together, rather than letting recorded and amplified music take over our lives and worship.
    10. We show up in person for the big events of life.  We learn how to be human by being fully present at our moments of greatest vulnerability. We hope to die in one another’s arms.

I am going to explore some of these commandments further over time.  Today I wanted to give you an overview and challenge you to put this book on your reading list.  I’m sure some of the commandments feel drastic or even abrasive to you at first glance.  But is there at least one you can focus on that might really enhance the quality of your family life?  Be bold.  Give it a try!

And read the book!

I’d love to hear your comments on which point or commandment intrigues you the most.