In this week’s podcast episode of parenting with Truth and Grace, we continue talking about technology. Specifically, “How Technology is a Counterfeit way of Meeting the Five Core Needs of Teens.” You can listen to the podcast here. Also, if you haven’t already subscribed, why don’t you subscribe now so you automatically get each week’s newest episode.
In part of her book “Teens and Screens”, Dr. Kathy Koch spends some time talking about what she considers to be the 5 Core Needs our children have. You’d have to argue that all of us have these same core needs. Here are the five core needs along with the key question that each need is asking:
- Security – Who can I trust?
- Identity – Who am I?
- Belonging – Who wants me?
- Purpose – Why am I alive?
- Competence – What do I do well?
When you consider these core needs, it’s easy to see how technology can have the appearance of fulfilling these needs. The problem is, it’s counterfeit. In other words, it’s only an appearance. We know that only Christ can fulfill our deepest needs.
Please hear us on this, we are not against technology and neither should you be. Technology is neutral and it’s here to stay. For our teens, it is all they know, and Dr. Koch would be the first to say, technology has profoundly shaped our kids. In many real ways, we can’t blame them for where they are in this world of technology. The worst thing we can do as parents is to clamp down and try to control our teens with their technology. Remember “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” Our goal is to disciple our children and raise them to be self-governing young adults. Then they can take charge of the devices in their lives.
When we are coaching couples that are struggling in marriage, the issue of meeting needs is often at the core of their problems. Many husbands and wives, especially early in the marriage, will assume their spouse is there to meet all of their needs. Let’s face it, if we are honest, we are all selfish at heart. The problem is, in marriage, it doesn’t take very long to realize, “My spouse is not meeting all of my needs.” Duh!
Seriously, we’ve all done it in one way or another. We find ‘something’ that feels good, a relationship, a hobby, a vice, or fame and we consciously or unconsciously begin to think that ‘something’ is going to fulfill my needs… to make me happy. When in reality, the only thing that fully satisfies, is Jesus. Our spouse can’t do it, our parents can’t do it, our children can’t do it, and our technology certainly can’t do it. And yet it counterfeits as if it will.
It’s easy for all of us, but certainly our kids to begin placing their hope in their technology. They find security in knowing they always have access to the web… identity and sense of belonging in their online relationships… purpose in how many friends they can amass via social media… and competence in how well people respond to their pictures and their posts.
All of these temporary fixes bring our kids a level of fulfillment that feels good… however it will always let them down. Which is why, as their first and best discipler, we must find ways to point them to what will ultimately fill their soul.
In this weeks Podcast Episode, we share some simple ideas to help you do that in your parenting. If you haven’t read, “Screens and Teens” we’d recommend you check it out. Remember, technology isn’t good or bad… the issue is how we use it. Help your children to grow up with a healthy perspective on technology and give them the tools to take charge of the devices in their life!