Secular Warnings About Social Media
January 24, 2024
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The following is excerpted from Keeping the Kids in the Social Media Age (December 2023)
Book: Keeping the Kids

Even the unsaved are wising up about the danger of the internet, social media, and mobile phones and are taking control of it.

Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired, has five children and 12 tech rules. They include no phones until the summer before high school, no screens in bedrooms, network-level content blocking, no iPads at all, and screen time schedules enforced by Google Wifi that he controls from his phone. Bad behavior? The child goes offline for 24 hours (“A Dark Consensus about Screens,” New York Times, Oct. 26, 2018). He says, “Rule No. 1 is there are no screens in the bedroom. Period. Ever. My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules. We have rules because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself; I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”

Kristin Stecher is a former social computing researcher married to a Facebook engineer, Rushabh Doshi. After researching the matter, they decided they want almost none of it in their home. “Doing no screen time is almost easier than doing a little. If my kids do get it at all, they just want it more” (“A Dark Consensus about Screens,” New York Times, Oct. 26, 2018).

Athena Chavarria, who worked as an executive assistant at Facebook, says, “I am convinced the devil lives in our phones and is wreaking havoc on our children.” She did not let her children have cellphones until high school, and even now bans phone use in the car and severely limits it at home. She said she lives by the mantra that the last child in the class to get a phone wins” (“A Dark Consensus about Screens,” New York Times, Oct. 26, 2018).

Jesse Weinbeger is the author of The Boogeyman Exists: and He’s in Your Child’s Back Pocket. In a survey of 70,000 children, she found that, on average, pornography consumption began when children turned 8, and sexting and pornography addiction began around age 11. Weinbeger says, “The longer you keep Pandora’s box shut, the better off you are. There’s no connection to the dark side without the device.”

Before his death,
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was asked if his kids loved the iPad. He replied, “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home” (New York Times interview).

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, said, “You’re always looking at home technology can be used in a great way--homework and staying in touch with friends--and also where it has gotten to excess. We don’t have smartphones at the table when we are having a meal. ... We often set a time after which there is no screen time” (cited from David Eaton and Jeremiah Callihan, Smartphone Sanity).

These people are exercising more wisdom in this matter than the average parent in a Bible-believing church. Their rules aren’t strong enough, because they aren’t based on biblical principles, but they are probably stronger than those of the average Christian parent.

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