Collin Kartchner is a social media activist, TEDx talk presenter, husband and dad who travels around the country speaking to parents and kids through the organization Save The Kids. This generation of parents are dealing with a resource which no other generation has dealt with. The boundaries, the communication, the cell phone companies, the urgency to empower parents to be parents while dealing with social media is new, necessary, and frightening all at the same time. I remember having to purchase our daughter’s first cellphone when her high school removed all the pay phones on campus, but it was different. It was just a phone, not the world at her fingertips. How does the local church help parents navigate this entity that makes them the first parents to ever…..

The week our community struggled through another teen suicide, Collin came to speak at a local church youth group on Wednesday night, a local high school on Thursday morning, and with parents at a community event on Thursday evening. I discovered Collin’s TED talk in January and was thrilled he’d planned to come to our community. Several of the moms who serve in our children’s ministry joined me as well as two middle schoolers attended the parent event on Thursday evening. Another mom attended the youth group gathering on Wednesday evening and offered these notes as her take-aways. With her permission, these are her notes:

TAKE A BREAK FROM FAKE event by Collin Kartchner, notes by Cheryl Kischuk

The number of cases of teen suicide, self-harm, depression & anxiety has gone up in multiples since 2010… the same year social media was invented.

There are businesses that make money from making technology as addictive as possible. There are other companies that build secret apps into programs like YouTube to draw a user (child or adult) to other websites with adult content. We MUST be vigilant.

Collin’s THREE Goals For Tweens & Teens:

  • Bring back all the self-love you might be giving away to a tiny machine in your pocket.
  • Stop letting Satan use your phone to steal your happiness
  • Get off screens. Get off social media a bit. Go be a kid and be free.

The “Collin Challenge” for the children with social media:

  • 8 Hugs Every Day For 8 Seconds. Minimum.
  • Start sharing more authenticity & positivity. Show others it’s okay to be real.
  • Guess What? Earth already hit it’s quota of mean people. We don’t need anymore. Be cool to each other.
  • Do something awesome, and DON’T SHARE IT.
  • Fail at something, and SHARE IT. Proudly.
  • ALL SOCIAL MEDIA – unfollow EVERY person or account that doesn’t make you happy. Cut the joy thieves out.

Challenge to the Parents:

  • Absolutely no phones in the bedrooms at night. Children need unhindered sleep.
  • Buy a central “command” charging station and ALL electronics get charged there at night.
  • Predators LOVE apps like SnapChat, Fortnite, Instagram, TikTok, etc. They build in secret accounts to pull your child or adult into more explicit content sites (like Kik, Omegle, Yubo, and Live.Me).
  • Make sure your kids get 8 hugs every day for 8 seconds. Minimum.
  • Evaluate your own digital behaviors and make necessary changes. Grandparents – you too.
  • Create a Family Tech Contract, signed and posted on the fridge by the end of the month. (Ask Google for a family tech contract. Sit together as a family to discuss it and sign it together.)
  • No more phones out when you are dropping off or picking up kids from school.
  • One night a week, commit to no phones out from 5pm – 9pm.
  • Children who do play video games off the internet can play up to an hour a day.

What to say when your child comes and tells you they have seen or done something inappropriate…

  • Say, “I am so sorry.” and give an 8 second hug.
  • Say, “What can I do to help you?”
  • Say “Tell me more.” and then BE QUIET and listen to them.

Your phone won’t feel bad if you don’t pay attention to it. It won’t care if you haven’t played with it in a while. It won’t mind if you don’t hold it.

Your cell phone will be small forever. Your children will not.

We have scheduled a Parenting With a Purpose dessert event entitled Parenting Technology & Cell Phone Safety next month. The goal is to facilitate conversations while building relationships among our parents as we lead families to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength AND love our neighbors as ourselves. How are you resourcing your families?

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.” Ephesians 5:1