In This Series:
If it’s a smartphone, you need to make a few sober assessments about the maturity level of your child and the accessibility options that you want to give them. If your child has to have a smartphone because all his peers have one, you will feed his pre-existing addiction if you give him one. The addiction is peer pressure, codependency, or what the Bible calls the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25). Is it wise to give your child a phone so he won’t feel out-of-step with his peer group? It’s illogical.
If his peers were using drugs, would you enable him so he can fit in? Do you want to provide him a false god where his ability to feel good about himself connects to his phone, not the Sovereign Lord? Wouldn’t it be better to identify and isolate the heart idolatry and teach him how he can have a bigger God while bringing his friends down a notch or two? Wouldn’t it be better that he does not succumb to the control of what he or his friends have? Don’t feed his addiction, but help him overcome the desire so he can be Christlike. He may “hate” you now but will love you later, especially if the Lord gets hold of his heart.
The best time to give a son (or daughter) a smartphone is when he is mature enough to resist the temptation of porn. When you know that pornography is not an issue in his mind or life, you can think about giving him a device that is one click away from more sexually explicit content than any generation before him could imagine or access. The best time to give your daughter (or son) a smartphone is when she does not have to be on social media. She’s not interested in those platforms, what they offer, and how they suck you into the black hole of false intimacy. If she had instead wanted to build real-world relationships, she’s in a great place, and it would be unwise to put anything in her path that would deter this good desire. If she would rather relate in cyberspace than in the real world, you have a problem that may need outside intervention.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).