This past week, Discovery News reported that a special “smart” wide-band watch called VivoPlay (by manufacturer Evado Filip) designed to track children will be available in the spring. This device sends alerts and alarms when children are violating “safe zone” boundaries set by parents (with GPS tracking) and sending alerts to the parents’ smart phones, and enables two way communication keeping kids “in touch” with parents.
According to this report, the inventor got the idea after loosing his young child in the mall, and it suggests that using this device is perhaps safer than equipping young children with mobile phones.
Jonathan Zachariou, Senior Pastor of Davis Christian Assembly in Davis, observes that the way mobile phones and cyber tools are used has created a crisis for children and families. He is concerned that there is very little real meaningful interaction between parents and children because we are substituting routine personal interface with devices.
“I see it everywhere,” Zachariou said, “Moms on their smart phones and not bonding with their kids. There is a poverty of passing on wisdom, advice and guidance to children. And if Dad is not absent in the home, he is not engaged.”
According to Zachariou, the network culture encourages us to be focused on things that really don’t matter (such as responding to the next text) and distracted from the primary family relationships in life. “We are creating a generation of parents that are incredibly self absorbed.”
Being a parent involves setting boundaries in the heart and mind, not just in the local geography.
"There is a misconception about discipline as being punishment," Zachariou said. "The reason to point out bad or incorrect behavior is to save the person from having negative consequences later. God wants us to prosper, which can only happen with course correction."
He cautions parents to put down the phone and parent. “And to parent means to be ‘the parent’, not the ‘friend’,” Zachariou said.
For more about helping children develop a strong sense of cyber-secure boundaries, go to: A Parents’ Guide to Cyber Citizenship.
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