What enters your mind when you think of the word “change”? What images or feelings are created as you contemplate that transformational verb? Have you ever reflected on how you could have done some things differently… or in some situations, have you preferred that they had stayed the same?

While we all experience different personal, developmental and societal changes, nothing occurs as rapidly as technological change. The technological world has opened the door for almost any type of information to be available at your fingertips.

I recently listened to a sermon about technology, and it really amazed me at how big of a change it has made on society. One example the pastor used is the way technology has impacted children and parenting. Before the rise of recent technology, parents were the major influence in their children’s lives. Parents had the opportunity to train their child, and provide adult information only when their child was ready for it. With technology, parents have lost that filter. Current, when a keyword is typed in, the computer does not sort information based on age or according to what each specific person can absorb. For example, the television does not care if a child is watching a PG rated program or an R rated program. The internet does not filter which advertisements pop up or what a child can search for. As a result, technology has impacted how parents or grandparents influence their children’s lives. In today’s age, parents are just one of many sources of information, compared to 20 years ago when they were the primary source of information for children.

I think that this is an important concept to grasp. In this sermon, the preacher stated that, before technology, the ratio of serious adult criminal offenses compared to serious child criminal offenses was 250:1. Today, that ratio has dropped to 44:1, which means that a lot more children are now committing serious, adult level crimes. I think much of this is attributed to the fact that technology is exposing children to information before they are ready to process it, and the parents or grandparents aren’t equipped to prepare their children about what this world exposes through technology.

So, how can this be avoided? I believe that the personal changes in life, the ones we prepare for, are the ones we can usually look back on with joy. The changes that we neglect are the ones we almost always reflect on with disappointment. If we, as parents can take the time to learn about changes in society due to technological advances, then we can be better equipped to protect our children.

Mark Etting

Author Mark Etting

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