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Focus on the Family Broadcast

How to Take Your Family Through a Digital Fast

How to Take Your Family Through a Digital Fast

Like most parents of children born after 2010, Molly DeFrank embraced the new digital technologies of smart phones and tablets for her kids. But she grew increasingly alarmed as she observed detrimental effects of “zombified kids,” emotional outbursts, loss of other interests, etc. And she discovered alarming research that the average child spends more than 7 hours per day on a screen for entertainment purposes! Molly is not anti-tech; she simply wants to equip families to put technology in its proper place as a tool for our families.
Original Air Date: January 2, 2024

John Fuller: Today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, we’ll explore how digital technology can affect your family so much so that you might need a long break from it.

Molly DeFrank: I know detoxes, but you know your kids like nobody else. And you’ve been watching them for the last two weeks, and you’re observing what dose of technology of dose of digital entertainment kind of sends them into a tailspin. We need to view interactive digital entertainment more like doses because of the way it affects the brain, so, you know, observe your kids and, and be confident when you’re making these rules and these parameters for your kids.

John: That’s Molly DeFrank, a concerned mom who wants to help equip your family to establish some healthy tech boundaries, and we’ll hear more from her today. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, here’s a billboard surprise. Uh, we all know digital technology, smart phones, tablets, um, internet, are generally good for finding information. Can you remember back to how we used to get somewhere before smart phones? (laughs)

John: Do you remember the microfiche we would use-

Jim: Yeah, totally.

John: … at the library, the little s- … the-

Jim: Oh, I used the Thompson books.

John: … paper thing? Okay.

Jim: So you bought these books, you know-

John: Uh-huh.

Jim: … for LA or wherever, and you’d have to go to page 17 and then… But, man, GPS has made our life easier.

John: It really has.

Jim: So the point is, technology itself isn’t the problem, but when we overdose on technology, it does become a problem. Here’s an eye-popping statistic. On average, our children are into technology seven hours and 22 minutes a day. Now, half the audience just said, “Whoo, we’re, we’re not there. That’s great.” The other half said, “Oh, my goodness. We’ve gotta cut back-”

John: Uh-huh.

Jim: … “on our kids’ tech,” right?

John: Almost a full day’s work…

Jim: (laughs) Yeah.

John: … spent on the screen.

Jim: Uh, yeah. I… How do they go to school and sleep and all the other things? But listen, we battled with it too. Jean and I, with our boys, we had same issues. Uh, we did well at times, and we did poorly at times. Do- do- don’t feel judged. (laughs) We’re gonna, today, talk about technology, how you can corral it so that your children can have a healthy, uh, childhood in their developing years and not be overrun by technology.

John: Yeah. And I mentioned Molly DeFrank is here, and she did a really interesting experiment that we’re gonna talk about today. Uh, Molly is an author and speaker, and she and her husband, David, have six children, ages 14 to 7. Uh, she has a book that captures a lot of her stories and insight. Uh, it’s called Digital Detox: The Two-Week Tech Reset for Kids. You can learn more about it at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: It should say, “Kids of all ages.” (laughs) I feel like I need a detox from time to time.

John: Well, there, there you go.

Jim: Molly, welcome to Focus.

Molly: Thanks so much for having me.

Jim: It’s so good to have you, and I, I talked with you before we’ve come on here just to say this is, like, a pressing issue. This is one of the top issues we hear from parents is, what do I do with technology? So it’s really good that you’re here today, and we’re grateful that you’ll pour some wisdom into people. Now, first of all, who’s got the kids? (laughs)

Molly: My amazing husband has the kids.

Jim: Does he really?

Molly: Yeah. He’s the best.

Jim: Six, six kids. That’s awesome.

Molly: Yeah.

Jim: And, uh-

Molly: It’s a lot.

Jim: … he’s got them all, so he’s probably, uh, having a busy day today.

Molly: Oh, yeah.

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: (laughs)

Jim: And you’re kinda loving it. (laughs)

Molly: Oh, yeah. I’m on a vacation. It’s wonderful.

Jim: Well, listen, I shared that alarming statistic about the average usage of technology for children, seven hours… over seven hours, almost seven and a half hours. Uh, what kind of impact is this excessive usage? And some people may say, “Is that excessive? I don’t know,” but it is. Just let’s start there. But what kind of impact is that having on the kids?

Molly: Oh, it is huge, Jim. You know, you don’t really have to go far to find an expert that’s gonna tell you that this is a problem for our kids. It’s affecting them in so many ways. This digital entertainment is actually rewiring their brains. It’s numbing them out, instead-

Jim: Yeah.

Molly: … of helping them to connect with human beings. Um, it’s preventing them from being able to cope with everyday setbacks. Um, the opportunity costs are enormous. It… It’s… Also, a huge part of it is, what are kids not doing? What talents are they not honing? What, what, um, skills are they not practicing? Um, it’s actually really interesting, the research that’s coming out. Kids are starting to develop something they’re identifying as virtual autism-

Jim: Huh.

Molly: … where, where s- … young kids are presenting like they’re autistic, but upon closer scrutiny, it’s not autism. It’s just that they’ve been so numbed on out their devices that they aren’t experiencing, you know, running around outside.

Jim: So they’re not behaving socially in a normal way.

Molly: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Molly: The cost is-

Jim: I could see that, or… y- … I understand that.

Molly: It’s really terrible, and parents are starting to see it. You know, 85% of parents say that their kids’ relationship with their devices is stressing them out, so if you’re listening and that’s you, please just know that you’re not alone. You’re actually in the majority of parents.

Jim: Mm-hmm. Right.

Molly: And the good news is that you don’t have to stress about this. You don’t have to wring your hands. You can just roll up your sleeves, and with a couple simple steps, I wanna help you get in front of this and get back in the driver’s seat when it comes to your kids’ technology use in your home.

Jim: Let’s start there. Uh, you had the aha moment. Describe what was going on in the family and that moment you went, “Okay. We gotta get ahold of this.”

Molly: Yeah. Well, like most parents whose kids were born in maybe 2010, that… or… that time period… You know, the iPhone came out in 2007. The iPad came out in 2011, and we really bought into the marketing. And the marketing said, “Hey, if you wanna raise little rocket scientists, give them technology early and often,” and so we did. I remember I had a little, um, iPad case for the back of my, uh, driver’s seat so my kids could be entertained, but like most parents, I started to see, as the, the years went on, “Hmm, where are those little rocket scientists?” Instead, what I’m seeing is epic meltdowns. You know, it was like zombies of kindergartners-

Jim: Yeah.

Molly: … going on in the home when you take away the screen, and so we’re, we’re left scratching our heads, like, “What, what, what’s going on? What went wrong?” Meanwhile, the thing we weren’t told is that the very people who create this technology wouldn’t let their kids near it. They’re some of the strictest parents ’cause they know-

Jim: Yeah.

Molly: … what it does. So back to us and our family, um, we bought in. My kids played with the devices. They, they did it… I thought we were responsible. We were one to two hours a day of digital entertainment for our kids, and still, we saw these negative effects. One day, I came home from running errands, and one of my sweet little babies greeted me at the door not with, “Hi, Mommy,” but, “Can I play on your phone?”

Jim: Yeah. “Where’s your phone? Where’s your phone?” (laughs)

Molly: Exactly. Like I was this gatekeeper to the n- … their next fix of dopamine. So that was it for me. That was the last straw. So I called my husband at work, and I said, “Hey, I think we need to pull the plug on all of it. I think we should take a break.” And, you know, he was in the office full time. I’m at home. I’m homeschooling two of the kids. It’s m- … I had two three year olds, a new foster place- … It wasn’t a good time to take this on, but my husband said, “Absolutely. If you’re in, I’m in. Let’s do it.” So we told the kids that night at dinner. We… We’re eating dinner, and we said, “Hey, guys, we just wanna let you know we’re trying something new. Y- you’re not in trouble for anything, but until further notice, we’re not doing any digital entertainment. So no YouTube, no Netflix, no Nintendo Switch. All of it, we’re taking a break.” And would you believe it, it, it didn’t go over very well.

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: They didn’t celebrate?

John: Yeah. (laughs)

Molly: No.

John: (laughs)

Molly: You know, it was some weeping and gnashing of teeth sort of coming from the dinner table. They were crying. It was one of those parenting moments where you’re like, “Did I make a terrible mistake? What have I done? What is it… What is this gonna mean for us?” And by far, that was the hardest part of the entire detox, so rest assured-

Jim: Initiation.

Molly: … it was the breaking the news to the kids.

Jim: Yeah.

Molly: That’s the worst part. So we, we told the kids, you know, “W- we’re just gonna try it. It’s something new.” Um, and by th- the time morning rolled around, the kids knew, like, do not even ask. You will be met with a chore if you ask for a device, so they didn’t. And I couldn’t believe it. We woke up the next morning. They were playing with the toys on their shelves. They were playing with each other. They started making up, inventing games. They made currency out of pebbles outside, and they-

Jim: Right.

Molly: … started their own little t- … Th- they just… Their creativity-

Jim: Th- … Right.

Molly: … exploded.

Jim: The imagination exploded. Yeah.

Molly: Exactly.

Jim: That’s so… I, I give Jean credit because we… you know, we weren’t, uh… our kids were born in 2000 and 2002, so they… right when smart phones were coming out, they were old enough to say, “Hey, can I have one of those?” And we delayed that for the longest time. I think… I think Trent received a smart phone at 17 ’cause he needed directions (laughs) to drive, and because Troy was there at 15, he got that at the same time. So 17 and 15, which I thought was great advice we had gotten.

Molly: Yeah.

Jim: Just delay it as long as you can. But the other thing that she did, I mean, we shut off cable. We got rid of TV. That was a little tough for a football fan like me, but we did it, and probably for, like, 10 years. I mean, it was a long time. But she said what she observed was exactly what you observed. I mean, they played. Their imagination came alive. They’d go four, five hours playing together with Legos and other things, and that’s good.

Molly: Absolutely. It’s incredible, and you don’t really appreciate how much our kids are being numbed out and how much their imaginations are being stunted until you go through this digital detox.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, you have a model, uh, an acronym, UNDO. Let’s start there. Explain what UNDO is, and then we’ll get into each of the letters, U-N-D-O. So what do… What do they stand for?

Molly: Yeah. So every successful detox that I’ve helped parents with has these four components. You can remember it with that acronym. So the U stands for unplug cold turkey two weeks. Okay. A lot of times parents will say, “Well, can we just, you know, cut down on the consumption?”

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: “Can we just keep, you know, maybe one show a day, 30 minutes of screen time?” No. So let me explain why. Um, first of all, if you have a little bit of screen time, a little bit of gaming waiting for your child at the end of the day, they’re just gonna be buying time until they get there. They’re gonna be moping around, waiting to get that fix. So what you wanna do is you wanna clear it out. You wanna s- … You want them to realize, “Okay. For two weeks, I don’t have another option, so I better figure something out.” And you want those wheels to start turning. Okay. So the second reason is what you’re actually doing is you’re resetting the dopamine levels in your kids’ brains.

Jim: Mm.

Molly: This is the piece that I didn’t know when we detoxed our kids, and this is why it’s so effective. So, you know, dopamine is that neurotransmitter. Um, it’s that feel-good chemical that’s released in the brain when we e- experience anything pleasurable, enjoyable.

Jim: Right.

Molly: So, you know, eating a delicious bite of chocolate cake, dopamine is released. Well, these geniuses in Silicon Valley have taken what we know about dopamine, and they’ve engineered it into their games, into their apps that our kids are playing all day. And so there is so much dopamine getting released in the brain that dopamine receptors are actually numbing out. Well, why does that matter? It’s because now, when your kid puts down the device and tries to enjoy real life, they can’t. They’re not getting the same dopamine hit-

Jim: Ah.

Molly: … that they do from their devices, so that’s why your kids say, “Oh, that’s… Reading is boring,” or, “Playing outside is boring.” So it’s not entirely their fault. It’s… There is a physiological change happening, and when you take it away completely, cold turkey, for two weeks, you’re resetting those levels. You’re giving your kids a chance to appreciate nature, to appreciate real life, to appreciate-

Jim: Yeah.

Molly: … downtime.

Jim: Right.

John: Yeah. In fact, Jim, just yesterday, I was talking to one of my kids about some of the content of the book, and I said that very thing. The conversation was instigated by him. He said, “Well, how much is too much on video games?” And I said, “Well, did you know that all of that stuff coming from the screen into your head is changing you physically?” So thank you. You helped me just manage that moment. Uh, we didn’t hit the detox point yet, but we’re getting close.

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: (laughs)

John: Uh, our guest today on Focus on the Family is Molly DeFrank, and she has captured, uh, the research, the insights, her experience in this book, Digital Detox: The Two-Week Tech Reset for Kids, and as Jim said, of all ages.

Jim: (laughs)

John: Uh, we’ve got copies of the book here at the ministry. The details are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Molly, we’ve got unplug or unplugging. Okay. What’s the N in UNDO?

Molly: The N is my favorite part of the detox. It’s notice your kids like never before. So you already know your kids better than probably anyone on the planet, but what you’re gonna do is, now you’ve removed this filter of passive numbing out for your kids, and you are gonna zoom in and see what’s going on in that little brain of theirs, you know, what makes them tick. How are they uniquely wired by God? What are their talents? What are their interests? And you are going to feed those things. So let me give you an example. Before our digital detox, my three oldest kids, if you asked them, “What are your favorite things to do for fun?” Each of them would name a different video game. And I thought, “Well, that’s fine. That’s normal. That’s how kids play these days.” Well, after our detox, they would each name a different sport or dri- … drawing comic books, or, y- you know, uh, doing Legos. And I, I got to know them so much better. I got to know how they’re wired, what they’re good at, how God designed them, and then I got to feed those interests. So it’s really incredible t- … Y- you’re gonna get to know your kids better than ever. And the other piece of that is getting to know their vulnerabilities a little better. So if you have a kid who, you know… Let’s say you’ve got a, a 13, 14 year old who gets anxiety talking on the phone to Grandma or whoever, or they can’t make smalltalk with, uh, the checker at the grocery store. You know, kids these days are not getting those experiences, so how can we put our kids in situations to practice those things that, historically, kids have been able to practice, um, taking those risks and helping to flex those muscles for them? So it’s really fun thing we get to do as parents to cultivate our kids.

Jim: And these things are so subtle that we may not even notice them, actually, that they’re not developing those skills, those normal human behaviors that, you know, they should. So that’s really critical. Okay. We have the U and the N. What about the D?

Molly: Okay. The D is develop a list of screen-free fun ideas. So shortly after you break the news to your kids about the detox… Which I mentioned, brace for impact. It can be a little stressful, but you’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna sit down with your kids. You’re gonna bring a delicious treat. Make it fun. Bring a great attitude, even if you’re a little stressed, and you’re gonna… you’re gonna make a list of ideas for what they can do during this detox. Um, and the purpose of making the list is really twofold. The first is that if you’re, you know, down in the trenches there… And I’m with you, parents. I am in the trenches. I got six kids.

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: They’re s- … uh, you know, 7 to 14, so I get it completely when, when everything is stressful. But when the days get really hard and you’re in that pressure cooker, sometimes you take in a call from the boss or you- you’re trying to get stuff done around the house and your kids are whining, you’re gonna be tempted to give in and say, “Oh, just take the tablet,” or, “Just put on a show.” And so when you get in front of that by making this list, brainstorming ideas with your kids, you slap that puppy up on the fridge, and you tell your kids, when they say, “I’m bored,” they’re getting stressed out, you say, “Look, I have to take this call. I have to make the doctor’s appointment. You can choose something from the list. You can make something else up. You can do a chore. Okay. Those are the options.” And it will help you have somewhere you can go when your fuse is running a little short and you’re tempted to throw in the towel. And the second reason, and probably the more important reason, for making the list is you’re showing your kids they have everything they need in their minds to think of an idea of what to do, to, to look at the beautiful world around them and think about the way they’re wired, and how can they even look outside themselves and, and their neighbor… How can I bless my neighbor? How can I use what I’m good at to love my neighbor, love my siblings, serve my family? And in the culture that we’re in, you know, we’re so inward focused. We’re so all about creating comfort-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Molly: … and, and entertaining ourselves that it’s such a beautiful opportunity to give our kids to show them a different way.

Jim: Yeah. So that list, uh, i- in practical terms-

Molly: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … I mean, did you have five things on there? 10 things? 15 things?

Molly: You can have as many as you want.

Jim: W- …

Molly: And I actually have, um, like, 100 ideas on my website, and-

Jim: Oh, great.

Molly: … they’re free. If anyone wants to go at-

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: … MollyDeFrank.com, you can download them for little kids and for big kids, and I would just encourage parents, when you’re sitting down and doing this exercise, think about your childhood and, and throw some ideas out there. Think about our… Is there a goal that your kid has been trying to, to reach? You know, i- it could be something so simple and tiny, like they still don’t know how to do a cartwheel. Okay. Master the cartwheel over the next weeks, you know.

Jim: Wait a second. John, do you know how to do a cartwheel?

John: I would not even attempt to, so… right now.

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: I never mastered that myself.

Molly: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Okay. That’s the U, the N, and the D. What’s the O for in UNDO?

Molly: Okay. The O is open the books. Okay. Parents, you are giving your kids the most incredible gift by instilling a love of reading in them and doing it early. Um, a child who, who has… who does not love to read has not yet met their genre. So if you’re listening, going, “Oh, well, that doesn’t apply to my kid. My kid’s not into books,” can I just challenge you to try again? Your job as parent during your detox is to be matchmaker for your kids. Um, I thought, before our detox, one of my kids, just not a reader. Well, it turned out I was trying to give him the same books that another one of my kid enjoyed. He doesn’t like those books.

Jim: Right.

Molly: So I had to move over to the children’s non-fiction section. Um, you know, joke books are actually a really great option if you’ve got kids who have ADHD or kids who get really frustrated. They’re just learning to kind of, you know, read through, and, and i- … they’re, they’re struggling. So joke books, they only have to read a little snippet to experience that dopamine hit, and then it makes them wanna read more. So you’re building up that endurance for them. Um, and I would just encourage… I have a lot of book recommendations in this book, and, and in the… another thing I would suggest, too, for parents during your detox is don’t stress about the reading level. You’re not trying to push them to the next level. You’re trying to get them to love books, so, you know, let their teachers… You know, if you’re a homeschooling mom, you can do that when you’re talking about homeschool. But what you’re trying to do is instill a love of story, and we are humans that are wired (laughs) to love stories.

Jim: It’s true.

Molly: So you just gotta work a little harder, and you can do it.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, those are good things, and I think our hearts are pre-wired by God, frankly-

Molly: Absolutely.

Jim: … to hear a story. That’s why he spoke to us in parables, right?

Molly: Yeah.

Jim: That’s why he told us stories. Um, once you’re through that two-week detox, you recommend a family have a technology plan. What are we gonna do from this point forward? That probably (laughs) is kind of the crux of the whole issue.

John: Yeah.

Jim: I think you could probably grit your teeth and grind through two weeks of detox. Then what?

Molly: So the s- … whole second half of the book is about how to create a long-term plan to sustain those results for your family but that don’t make you feel like you’ve entirely moved off the grid and you have to get rid of all of it. So I have tools in the book to help parents kind of create that plan, and you’re gonna use your observations from the detox to create that. So I know detoxes, but you know your kids like nobody else. And you’ve been watching them for the last two weeks, and you’re observing w- what are they good at, how… w- what dose of technology or dose of digital entertainment kind of sends them into a tailspin. And that’s how one child psychiatrist actually explained it, is we need to view interactive digital entertainment more like doses because of the way it affects the brain. So, you know, observe your kids and, and be confident when you’re making these rules and these parameters for your kids. Um, you know, those parents that you’re describing, probably m- most all of your listeners are that type of parent that are… They’re conscientious, and they’re trying to get this thing right. And they’re following the guidelines set by their doctor, and they’re still seeing the negative effects. And first of all, let’s just kick the shame and guilt out, out the door. That… They’re… We don’t need to have that in this conversation. I know it can linger there, but let’s just get it out. Um, I just want to encourage you that you can roll up your sleeves and completely change the setup, and it’s so much simpler than you think. Um, and the other thing I just want to encourage you with is we’re living in this culture that’s telling us that, well, everyone else is doing it this way. This is just the way it is now. And-

Jim: Yeah. That’s usually an alert to say, “Okay. I gotta pay attention here.”

Molly: Exactly.

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: It’s okay to opt out. So, y- you know… And we talked already about the opportunity costs with our kids’, um, talents, with their gifts, the things they’re not doing, but there’s another huge piece of this for Christian parents. And that’s just the discipling of our kids. That’s the worldview formation, and everything has changed since I was a kid. We used to have it where you turn on the TV and you only have access to things that could be shown on TV. And now, you hand your kid a device with wifi, and the rating system is gone. Parents are the new rating system, so we have to be diligent, especially as our kids are little, when we’re still training them up in wisdom and discernment and worldview. And we are keeping those floodgates from flowing over and, um, really causing harm in our kids. So I would just encourage you to listen to your intuition. Um, you know, seek out community that can support you in this and, and just make that decision. If you and your spouse, you think this is something you need to try, go for it. You will not regret it.

Jim: Yeah. And we haven’t really touched… Right here at the end, we’ll touch on it, but as your children become teenagers, you know… You’re in that spot right now with a 14 year old, but 15, 16, certainly 17, what are kinda the, uh, characteristics that you wanna see in that maturing adult?

Molly: I’m really glad you brought that up because a detox for a young kid looks completely different from your teenagers and your tweens. You know, you can tell your little kid, “No more devices,” but when you’re talking to your teenager, it’s a little different because that role of parenting changes as our kids get older. We go from really authoritative to handing them more and more freedom ’cause once they get out the door, we want them to be capable of making those-

Jim: Yeah. Don’t go off to college-

Molly: … decisions.

Jim: … and just flame out-

Molly: Ex- exactly.

John: Yeah.

Jim: … from all the freedom.

Molly: Exactly. So if you’ve got a tween and a teen, I recommend doing your detox a little bit differently. Um, number one is get some skin in the game for parents, so, um, you know, explain to your kids, humbly have these conversations, tell them what parts of your own digital entertainment, digital use is sticky for you. If you’re like, “Man, I like social media. It can have a really redemptive use in my life, but if I’m not careful, I will get sucked in,” or, “I g- … You know, um, I feel bad after I’m on Twitter,” or whatever it is, so share that with your older kids and say, “Hey, we’re gonna do this thing. Here’s the plan. It’s gonna be fun. It’s a challenge. And I’ll give up my social media.” You know, you wanna take a break. So I would say get some skin in the game. And then the other thing is try and sweeten the deal for them. If you got older teens and it’s more like they get to choose to opt in or not, I… make it a challenge. Put some cash on the table. Say, “Whoever makes it this long, you know, will-”

Jim: Yeah. Interesting. Yeah.

Molly: … “We got 50 bucks at stake,” or 100 bucks or whatever you wanna do. Also, grab some friends. The goal here is not to cut our kids off from relationships. The goal is to build those relationships, so be the house that has the kids over. Create spaces for our kids to connect with their friends in real life.

Jim: Yeah. You know, Molly, lastly here, uh, I think, um, especially older teens, they actually get it. Now, it’s like somebody with any addiction. They’re not gonna ri- … come right out front (laughs) and say, “No. I, I would like you to take this away from me,” but I think when you have that discussion, when you have the communication going, and it’s rational and understandable, and even backed up by data, which helps, um, they get it. You just have to have the relationship to be able to say, “Okay. What can we do to help in this situation?” Right?

Molly: Absolutely. And our kids see it. You’re, you’re spot on. Our kids see it in their friend groups. They see it in the classroom. Um, I had a, a friend who’s a, a high school teacher, and she was explaining to her students the way things used to be and how we used to not have smart phones. And after school, they’d go jump on the trampoline and, and read magazines and-

Jim: (laughs) Break a leg.

Molly: I- … Yeah. Exactly.

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: And she asked her kids, like, “Would…” the… her students, she said, “Would you… Do you have any interest in that?” And more than half the class raised their hand and said, “I wish it was that way-”

Jim: Huh.

Molly: … “instead.” And that was really powerful because it… to your point, kids know, and especially as believers, it goes back to what you just said about relationship. That… We have this powerful influence as parents in our kids’ lives and this magical window between probably 4 to 14 where our kids think we’re cool still, you know.

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: And they’re listening to us, and if we think something’s awesome, they think it’s awesome, like the Steelers, for example.

Jim: Yes.

Molly: (laughs)

Jim: For some people.

Molly: Yeah. For some-

Jim: (laughs)

Molly: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Molly: But, you know, we, we, uh… Unfortunately, if we don’t take a minute and, and take a closer look at our kids’ digital entertainment consumption, we are gonna be wasting away. We’re squandering away this time, and we see that God gives parents a lot of space to parent our kids individually as they’re wired. And he doesn’t demand that we, you know… “Thou shalt feed your kids organic food all the time,” or he’s not-

Jim: Yeah.

Molly: … so specific. But w- … So where he does speak to how we parent our kids, we better listen. And you look back at Deuteronomy 6, and you look at Moses recounting the commandments to the people. And after he does that, he says to them, “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, and might.” And then in Deuteronomy 6:7, he says, “Parents, teach these things diligently to your sons and talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” And today in our culture, all of those little in-between moments are occupied by a device.

Jim: Mm.

Molly: And it’s time to take them back.

Jim: Well, that’s great, Molly. This has been terrific and a powerful half hour.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So thank you so much for being here with us, and what a wonderful resource, Digital Detox. Uh, we’ve got it here for you. Uh, again, we’re hearing from parents, this is a major issue in parenting. Get ahold of this. That’s our whole goal here, is to equip you with resources that help you in your parenting journey, so don’t hold back. Uh, get in touch with us. If you can make a gift of any amount, monthly or one-time gift, we’ll send it as our way of saying thank you.

John: And you can get in touch, donate, and request this book, Digital Detox, when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And if you do this detox and come up for air, or even if you don’t go to the detox level, but you really need some help a- about the entertainment world, the games, all the things kids are interacting with, stop by our Plugged In site. Uh, boy, that team has been, uh, taking care of parents and helping equip us so we can make good decisions and, and help our kids learn discernment, uh, for years and years. Plugged In is a wonderful resource. We’ve got all the details at our website. And coming up tomorrow, we’ll examine why love is not enough for your marriage.

Preview:

Dave Willis:  W- we’ve gotta just break free from the world’s very shallow definition of love to what God has in store and in mind for marriage, which is it’s selfless. It’s sacrificial at times. It’s gonna take work, but it’s so worth it.

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

End of Preview

Today's Guests

Digital Detox: The Two-Week Tech Reset for Kids

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