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Cultivating Wise Tech Habits in Your Teen

Air Date 08/08/2018

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Jonathan McKee offers insight and practical suggestions to parents seeking to guide their teens toward smart management of their digital world in a discussion based on his book The Teen's Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices: 21 Tips to Wise Posting in an Insecure World.

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Episode Transcript



Jonathan McKee: It’s so tough for young people today because there’s this measurement. They’re - they’re like a celebrity from 10 or 20 years ago that had to be careful every time they walked out of the house because every comment they made was judged, what they were wearing was judged. That’s all our kids today.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Jonathan McKee. And he joins us today on Focus on the Family. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. 

Jim Daly: John, how much have your children delved into the social media world? I mean, you’ve got six kids.

John: We eased into when my oldest was 15 - that was 14 years ago. And so we’ve kind of held steady and said when you’re 14 and a half, you can get a Facebook.

Jim: Fourteen and a half - that’s very exacting. Wow. How’d you get down to that?

John: I think that’s because that’s when Facebook started to grow in popularity and about the time that he started to get it. But I’ve had to manage six kids with all that. And so fortunately, five are adults, and they’re on their own.

Jim: You know, when I travel the country, this is one of the number one parenting issues that pops up, now…

John: It is, yeah.

Jim: …Is the whole social media, and what age do you start or let them do certain things? We’re going to talk about all that today because it’s a very important parenting strategy. And this is one of the key things Focus on the Family is here to equip you with is what is the healthiest, right thing to do. I don’t know if we’re going to land there today, but we’re going to give you some additional ideas on what to think about - things you probably haven’t even thought about yet. And that’s our goal, to equip you as a parent to do so much better. Today, Jonathan McKee is with us to do that. And he has some wonderful insights in his new book The Teen’s Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices.

John: Yeah. The book is available at, or call us and we can tell you more - 800-A-FAMILY. And while we’re really dialing into teens in technology, even, gosh...

Jim: Dialing - what does that mean? Dialing into...


John: That’s an old...

Jim: We’re already there.

John: I was just thinking, I saw a baby stroller the other day with a built-in tablet holder. And so even if you’ve got younger kids, this is something you got to start dealing with.

Jim: In case you’re jogging. Jonathan, welcome to the broadcast. We haven’t gotten you in here yet. 


Jonathan: Hey, you know what? You guys are doing great. Glad to be here.

Jim: Hey, you are doing these workshops. You mentioned just last night you did one. What are you hearing from the parents? Is what I said there a moment ago accurate? Is this one of the key areas that parents are stressing out about, is social media?

Jonathan: Absolutely. And the questions they’re always asking is, you know, at what age?

Jim: That’s the number one question, right?

Jonathan: When do we give them the device? When do we allow them on this? And then if, you know, all their friends want Snapchat, Insta, you know, what do we say to this? You know, is it bad? Is it good? So yeah, these are the big questions they’re asking.

Jim: Well, before we get to the one, you know - what’s a good age - which we will in a moment, let me ask you the broader question about dads and moms, are we too concerned about this? Or is it harmful to kids? There’s been a lot coming out in the media recently about tech giants, leaders of the industry, saying they don’t let their kids do social media.

Jonathan: Yeah. That’s the thing. I mean, this is so new. I mean, when you look at the broader history of this thing, you know, I mean, really, smartphones didn’t even, come into the market till Steve Jobs stood on a stage in January of 2007 and said, “I’ve got an invention that’s going to change the world.” And his words proved to be prophetic. It was five years later, 2012, where America finally crossed that 50 percent mark of owning smartphones. And so it’s kind of been in the last five or six years that we’ve been, sadly, experimenting with this and kind of going, “Okay, what is this we’re carrying in our pocket, this powerful tool?” Our kids have started carrying it. We now live in a world where the average age that a kid gets a smartphone is 10.3 years old.

Jim: That’s the average...

Jonathan: That’s the average.

Jim: some people younger.

Jonathan: Yeah. Some, you know, less than that. So yeah, I mean, so what’s happening right now is everybody’s asking these questions because we’re now seeing an unprecedented rise in teen anxiety and depression - a 40 year high in teen girls suicide. So this is scary stuff. And every single person on every one of these reports is mentioning the smartphone, is mentioning social media because now there’s this little device in our pocket that actually says how many friends do you have, how much did people like that post.

Jim: And Jonathan, I need to ask that question, when you look at that data and that research, how much of it is directly linked to those devices? Or is it the whole onslaught of culture, the media culture, the entertainment culture, and then in addition to that, the phones and everything that kids have access to?

Jonathan: Well that’s the big question. And it’s funny because, you know, you’ll read 20 different articles about it. I have. And all of them will mention a smartphone. I think it would be a little, you know, presumptive to say it’s the smartphone. But it’s interesting, as you’re seeing all the pressure they’re facing - all those pressures now exist on this little device in their pocket. And isn’t it funny that all of these experts, including like you alluded to - I mean, remember back in - it was January 30th of this year earlier that all of those experts came together, wrote Zuckerberg a letter and said, “Hey, this whole Facebook messenger for kids, for age 6 through 12, is not a good idea.” And they asked him to remove that. I mean, experts are saying wait, wait - and just so you know, I’m not a anti-phone guy. I think it’s great to get kids to learn how to use this phone before they exit the house. But giving it to our kids at 10 years old, slapping them on social media right away? No, not a good idea.

Jim: Let me - before we get to that age question, which we promised everybody we would - the hours on average, again, almost nine hours on average that young people, teens, are using their phones, is that common?

Jonathan: Common Sense Media had that survey. But that’s now actually a couple years old. Here’s the interesting thing. Last year alone, Nielsen reported that the average American listens to music four and a half hours a day. That was for 2017. That number went up 47 minutes since 2016. So in 2017, Americans listened to 47 more minutes per day than the year before. Now literally, experts are scratching their heads and going this is - we’ve never seen a jump of 47 minutes a day in one area. This is just one area, music, of entertainment media and technology.

So to have this kind of growth, most people are kind of just - they can only guess and project, but they’re saying now we have such ease of accessing this stuff because we carry around a device in our pocket that has these great new apps with all these new, you know, I mean, Spotify, you could choose, you know, you could follow a friend’s list and everything, so people are listening to more music. So those numbers of the nine hours a day are actually two years old. And I’m waiting for Common Sense Media to come out with a new survey because it’s going to be higher than nine hours a day.

Jim: That’s sad, isn’t it? So when we look at it, it’s really simply a tool. But the abuse of the tool is what we’re concerned about, especially as parents. How old are your kids now or?

Jonathan: Uh, my kids are now 20, 22 and 24.

Jim: So you’ve kind of gone through it. And - and I’ve got the teenagers. John, you’ve got 20 somethings and teenagers.

John: And a 14-year-old, yeah.

Jonathan: And a 14-year-old.

John: So I’m really anxious to hear what you’re going to be saying.

Jim: So when you look at it - let’s get to the age question - when is it a better time to say, “Okay, I want to empower you, I’m going to get you a phone?” For us, it was driving. Troy, you know, when they started driving, that was the time we wanted to get them a phone so they could do GPS. We’ve been really tight on social media. We disabled that capability on their smartphones. And you know, we’re easing that in. But that was our approach. And they’re in their later teens now. But what did you do?

Jonathan: Well, you know what, and that’s - that’s a huge question on when is the perfect age? And tons of experts have been asked that. As a matter of fact, Jim Steyer, the CEO of Common Sense Media, and he’s kind of the go-to guy if the government asks and everything, he was asked it and he gave the politically correct answer of, you know, each kid is different...

Jim: Well, that’s true.

Jonathan: ...You know, and it’s true. You know? And they kind of pressed him and they’re like, what age? What age? So he started saying things like the later, the better.

Jim: Right.

Jonathan: But still, he wouldn’t give a number. They’re like, give me a number, you know...

Jim: Yeah.

Jonathan: ...Because...

Jim: I think 40 should work.

Jonathan: Yeah, yeah, exactly.


Jonathan: So he’s saying the later, the better. But finally, they said, “Okay, what about you? You know, what about...

John: Right.

Jonathan: ...Your kids?” And he goes, “When they were in high school.” So again, we’ve got all these experts. Here’s the CEO who comes and says to me, in high school - let me throw some no-brainer numbers out there. Because I know some people are saying, Jonathan, what number? What number? Well, first of all, bare minimum 13. But it really is one of those things where most people - again, we’re only five to six years into this - most people are starting to say, “Hey, the later, the better. Don’t hurry this up. Your kid doesn’t need to be the average kid - getting a smartphone at 10 years old.” You know?

Jim: Right.

Jonathan: They can - they can do without.

Jim: But it is a challenge. And you got to be up for the task as a parent…

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: ...Because you’re - you know, to some degree, you’re going to have those discussions probably far more frequently than you want to. You know, “We’ve talked about this over and over again. It’s just not time yet.” Well, “Mom, Dad, when will it be time? You know...

Jonathan: And the pressure...

Jim: ...I’m 14 now, and all my friends have it.”

Jonathan: Exactly, the pressure’s on.

Jim: Right.

Jonathan: And all my friends have the phone, right?

Jim: All my friends.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Every one of them. In fact, I’ve surveyed every teen in the U.S., and they all have ‘em but me.


Jonathan: They all...

Jim: I’m the only teen in the U.S.

Jonathan: Yeah, my kids always loved it when I’m like, “Oh, correction, actually, only 78 percent of your friends.”


And they’d be like, “Dad!”

Jim: They don’t want to hear the numbers.

John: But that’s a really big point. That’s something I’m dealing with all the time. It’s, “Dad, I’m the only one.” And then he’ll say something like, “You don’t know what it’s like to grow up without a smartphone.” It’s like...


John: ...Well, actually, I do, but that’s a side argument.

Jim: Right.

John: But it really is hard to fit in if you don’t have that thing in your pocket.

Jonathan: It is. And that’s what makes it so tough with us as parents. But it’s also funny that, um, I just talked with a - a wellness expert who actually has counselors in the schools today working with young people. And when he was talking about the different stuff that’s going on and the pressures they’re facing, I asked him the same question you always hear, which is - I said, “Well, what’s the cure? How do we stop this?” And he’s all, “Give them time away from these devices. Get them away from these devices.” And it’s amazing that a lot of the experts are saying we need to get more face to face time, you know, because we live in a world right now where the average married person spends more time staring at a screen than they do in conversation with their spouse. So I mean, we’ve got to, you know, start - starting from us, Mom and Dad, be an example of this and have tech-free zones - this kind of stuff.

Jim: Well I’m glad you raised that question. You had a horrible story of a woman and her - I think a teen daughter - in Illinois, and their house caught on fire. What was the situation there?

Jonathan: Oh, yeah, that’s a crazy one. And that was - we’re talking about our obsession with the phones. And they actually escaped with their lives.

Jim: The house - their house was on fire.

Jonathan: House was on fire. And she realized, “My phone!” And she goes back in to get her phone.

Jim: This is the mom.

Jonathan: Yeah, and she didn’t make it out. And it’s like - and we have to just kind of ask ourselves, okay, what priority is this little device that, you know - come on, I mean, this is...

Jim: Well, and it doesn’t have to be that dramatic or tragic. I mean, I think it gets down to how - how important is it to you? And that’s where your ability to put it away at night, you know, when everybody comes home...

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: ...Put them in a basket. Have dinner together. Talk. Socialize. Maybe catch up real quick. And then one of the things we have at our home is nobody - nobody takes it to the bedroom. It all stays down to recharge in the kitchen. And so...

Jonathan: Well...

Jim: ...Nobody has their phone in their room.

Jonathan: ...American Academy of Pediatrics has been making that recommendation since before phones. Back in 2010, they said remove all TVs, all Internet-connected devices from your bedrooms. Well, remember, it was 2012 where America crossed that line of where we all had these devices. And they stayed with it. They said no. No smartphones in a bedroom.

Jim: Jonathan, there’s always this debate between inoculation and separation and overdoing it. And what I mean by those three things is - obviously, inoculation is kind of introduction of these things in a slow way to help equip your child to manage them well. A lot of parents land there. How do I do that? You got to stay on top of it. You got to be informed. You got to maybe even employ some software apps that will help you see what your kids are looking at in order to monitor that. Other parents can be very, uh, noninvolved. You know, they’re just not connected. My kids are going to grow up. He’s got a - he or she has to see these things. It’s part of the world they live in. As Christians, they’re going to have to understand how to manage them. But it’s kind of hands off. That’s the second one. And then that third one is absolutely not. You’re never going to have a phone under the roof of our home, and that’s it. When you go off, you become an adult, you can make those decisions. Talk about those three approaches - the pros and cons of all three - and where you feel, as an expert, a healthy place to land is.

Jonathan: Well, you just kind of named a - there is a huge study out there by this lady by the name of Alexandra Samuels. And she studied 10,000 North American families and how moms and dads interacted with their kids when it comes to, you know, social media and devices. Should we let our kids have them? And she basically came up with - she said, “I noticed three types of parents out there.”

Jim: Interesting.

Jonathan: Three types of parents. She said, “I saw the enablers.” And they’re the ones that basically said, let your kids do anything they want. And a lot of those parents who’ve done that look back and said, “Man, I wish I would’ve said no. I wish I would’ve - you know...”

Jim: Right.

John: Yeah.

Jonathan: So but the complete opposite was the - what she called the limiters. And it was the ones who definitely had all the spyware and all the rules and this and that. And - and this - again, this secular study, she said, “I don’t think that looked really good either because these parents are making so many decisions for their kids that their kids never learn to make decisions on their own.” So she noticed a third type of parent, and she called them media mentors. And I really like it because what she said is these parents didn’t have to have all the answers, but what they did is when, like, for instance, their daughter came up and says, “Hey, can I have Instagram?” The mom or dad would say, “I don’t know, let’s check it out together.” And they would have that conversation.

So that’s - that’s the big answer I can give you is we need to constantly engage our kids in conversation about these important things, which is why I wrote this book. Because here’s a tool we can use to talk with young people and say, “Hey, oh, you want to talk about Snapchat? Cool, let’s read the Snapchat chapter.” And then there’s discussion questions at the end of the chapter. Now, let’s dialogue about this ‘cause that’s the one thing everybody agrees on.

John: And the chapter is in the book The Teen’s Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices: 21 Tips to Wise Posting in an Insecure World. There’s a lot here, and it’s a great book for you and your family. We’ve got it at And, uh, we also have a downloadable PDF there, as well, about teens and tech. So stop by the website

Jim: Jonathan, I want to get into some practical helps.

Jonathan: Sure.

Jim: Because many of us are not that tech savvy. We try. We might pop into the Apple store because something’s not working.

Jonathan: Right.

Jim: “Can you help me fix this?” And in three seconds, they do it. And you’re going, “How am I so stupid?”


I couldn’t figure that out. It’s so - you know, it’s so easy I can’t think of it. But, um, privacy settings, that seems to be a real critical aspect of phones and especially your teen’s phones as well. Describe what privacy settings are, why they’re important, how you use them when you’re downloading apps of all kinds. What does it do for us?

Jonathan: Well, you know, privacy setting seems like one of those boring topics. It’s the thing that when we get our phone for the first time, we just hit agree 27 times, right?

Jim: Right.

Jonathan: You know, because who cares? Who cares? Who cares? I don’t want to read all that stuff. But where it really becomes important to us as parents is if, you know, our 17-year-old daughter’s alone at a Starbucks at night, you know, studying. And all of sudden, she takes out her phone, takes a picture of her Starbucks cup and does a little posting, something like “late-night study session”. And she hits post right then. All the sudden, now, all those forms that we clicked through are very important because some of the things that come, you know, to mind right now, immediately, to me, are first of all, who can read what she just posted? Who actually sees that post? Two, did she use her location when she posted that post? And here’s why…

Jim: And what does that mean to use your location?

Jonathan: So when...

Jim: That self-identifies where you are.

Jonathan: So for example, like, at - on - on Instagram, on - on Snap Maps, any of these things, you have the ability to post your location or not. And if your kid read that part of the privacy settings or not, you know, they could at Starbucks say, “I’m at this Starbucks,” which actually puts on a map exactly where they’re at. Now, if they haven’t thought about who their friends are, and they friended somebody across town at some other school but they’ve never met that friend face to face, they might think it’s some other 17-year-old at this school. But what they don’t realize is it might be this 44-year-old pedophile sittin’ in their basement watching that post come through right now. And now that pedophile knows exactly where she is. And when she walks out to her car, he could be right there in that parking lot. So this is where privacy settings really are important, because our kids need to think through, who are we friending? What am I posting? Am I my posting my location?

Jim: So if we haven’t paid attention to this, uh, should we - today or tomorrow or this weekend - should we sit down with our teenagers and say, “Let’s go through this together? This is not a - you know, an inquiry. But let’s make sure you’re as safe as you need to be.” Is that a good approach? Or how would you recommend that we open the dialogue and talk about these things we may have defaulted to, and we don’t even know the dangers that it’s opened up to us?

Jonathan: Yeah, great question to ask.

Jim: How do we go about doing that, as a parent?

Jonathan: Yeah. That’s why I spend an entire chapter on that, because I want young people to think through this. And the way I address them, and the way parents should address them, is probably the way I address young people in school assemblies when I talk about this. And I think it’s good to use stories. Because if I, at a school assembly, say, “Hey, everybody, pull out your phones, and let’s look at our privacy settings.” It’ll be like (imitating snoring) - you know, boring. But I just tell a story. I’ll tell a true story.

Like, I tell the story of, um, this creepy underwear guy. That’s literally what the cops called him. He was this guy who would wait in malls, and he’d wait in public places until people checked in. He would look at their posts. He would see what they posted. He would dig through their posts and wait until he saw one where this person posted something from their home. He would sneak into their home at night, break into their house - and by God’s grace, he didn’t ever mess with them - but he would steal their underwear. When the police finally caught him, this guy had a bunch of underwear he had collected. When I tell this story in a school assembly, you can see girls pull out their phones and start scrolling through their posts: “Did I post my location?” Because they’re scared of some creepy guy like this.

Jim: Yeah, and should be.

Jonathan: And they don’t want a guy like this in their bedroom. So by using this kind of story approach, you know - also, and I was able to talk about, “Hey, where - you know, who are you friending? What locations are you posting?” And, yeah, we need to have these conversations.

Jim: How do you coach that teen girl or that teen boy on predatorial behavior in social media? What do you look for to identify somebody who is that creepy person that you don’t know? Somehow you befriended them. You don’t - maybe you don’t even know how. That happens. How - how do you identify, to the best of your - of your ability, somebody who isn’t appropriate?

Jonathan: Yeah. This is tough for us to be able to counsel them in this area. And the best way to help our kids through this is to make sure, again, what we talked about earlier, out of bonding and boundaries. Lot of parents sit there and think, “Oh, I’m going to protect my kids by jumping on the boundary side here and just blocking everything.” Here’s where bonding is so important. Because the better relationship we have with our kids, the more we’re gonna be able to open up dialogue about this and say, “Hey, here’s some of the warning signs.” If, you know, for example - and I - I talk about it in the book and tell them - you know, if people are asking questions about where do you live, you know, and, “Hey, will you send me a pic?”

Jim: What’s your address? What’s your phone number?

Jonathan: Yeah. And - and “send me a pic”, you know, and - and stuff, because - and sadly, lots of young men are asking to send pics as well. But predators very often will send a pic and then ask for, you know, someone to reciprocate. You know, “Now you send a pic.”

Jim: You know, so often, Jonathan, I could see this even in - with my parenting. You know, you want to have this good conversation. You start it. And they’re going, “Dad, come on. Come on, Dad. I mean, we already know this stuff.” And you’re going, “You do? Are you sure you do?” How do you know that, as a parent, you can have confidence that your teen girl or your teen boy - that they really do understand this, that they’re not just blowing it off because you’re the parent? “I don’t want to have this conversation, it’s kind of embarrassing.”

Jonathan: Well, it’s gotta be an ongoing conversation. And that’s why, as moms and dads, it’s good for us to just - you know, when we read an article in the paper, when we see something - it’s a good time not to lecture, but to, at dinnertime, at one of our no-tech zones - right? - to sit down and go, “Oh, check this out. Look what I just read here. Here’s the story of this young man who was, you know, gaming. And he met this guy, you know, who he thought was a friend. And the guy asked for his address. And next thing you know, he gave the address. And - and, look, it actually, you know, turned out to not be who it is. Hey, you know, do you think this kind of stuff happens? Do you think it happens to you?” You know, and start asking questions. Because the more they hear about this, they’re not - I mean, they’re not - that’s not their select topic. “Please, can I hear about these horror stories of the bad stuff that happened?” But if you...

Jim: It plants a seed of caution.

Jonathan: It does - it just - and - and when you tell these stories and then ask them, “Hey, what do you think? You know, do you think this could happen to you? Do you think this could happen to your friends? You know?” I always start with could it happen to your friends, because of course it couldn’t happen to me. But, “Oh, yeah. No, I got friends that they don’t pay attention to any of that.” It’s great to be able to, you know, dialogue with them. And - and that’s where a lot of parents use a tool like this book. Because, um, if their kids are showing a lack of caution in that area, uh, a lot of parents are using a book like this as kind of like a phone contract. “Well, tell you what. When you’re done reading this chapter about privacy settings, when you’re done reading this chapter about who you’re friending, then you can have your phone back.”

Jim: Yeah. I like that idea. I don’t want to end without covering the bullying issue because that’s, uh, something you mentioned at the top of the program, the bullying that occurs on social media, just the - the grind of that? That you’re not pretty enough, you’re not manly enough, you’re different for whatever reason, and you get attacked for those differences. What can we do?

Jonathan: It’s such a huge issue. I mean, I’m writing a whole book on that right now just because it is so big, and it’s so common. And the sad thing is, uh, social media is just - you know, just magnifying it, and it’s catalysting it to even something worse. Because, I mean, when we all went to school, when we were kids, there was bullies. There was people that said mean things. And I remember I had some pretty tough days, especially in middle school. But, you know, when - when all of us - when we got to go home, there was this relief from 2:30 ‘til 7:30 the next morning, where a lot of us got to go home to someplace that’s safe. Young people today don’t have that. Because at 2:30, they enter a whole new world, this digital world where they have to measure up even more and where their friends are actually now represented by a number. And how many do you have? You can look right there and see and compare it to your other friends.

“Well, they have more friends than me. And - and your posts - oh, this one isn’t as liked as my other friend’s post. So it’s so tough for young people today because there’s this measurement. They’re - they’re like a celebrity from 10 or 20 years ago that had to be careful every time they walked out of the house because every comment they made was judged, what they were wearing was judged. That’s all our kids today. They’re being judged all the time by this little device that’s being carried around in their pocket.

So we as moms and dads, you know, when I asked that wellness expert, you know, what can we do, again, his advice was, give them a break from this technology. Let them realize that, you know, their value is based way more than just this little device in their pocket. You know? And we need to, you know, not only build into our kids’ value, um, but we need to teach them that - to - to draw their value from more than just, you know, a little thumbs-up, just a like, a follow. Life is so much more than that. We need to prove that to them.

Jim: Well, and equipping their self-worth and their appropriate, healthy self-esteem in Christ to be able to withstand that withering blow. I mean, that - that’s what all of us as parents are challenged with today, I think. And Jonathan, man, this has been so good. It has flown by. Uh, we have covered some territory, uh, that wisdom that you’ve brought.

Uh, there is so much in your book, and I want to encourage each and every person to get a copy of your book, The Teen’s Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices. I’m learning a lot. And it - if you’re not - especially if you’re not, um, equipped and understanding a lot of the social media today and the different apps that your kids can download, this is a good book for you to start with. It’s a 101 course in what’s there. And, uh, we want to get this to you. And if you can help Focus, uh, with a gift of any amount, we’ll send it as our way of saying thank you. It’s our way of standing with you in that parenting role to equip you to be the best parent you can be. I think that’s really good.

We also have that download that John mentioned earlier completely free. It’s called “A Parent’s Guide to Today’s Technology,” and it’s right there at our website. So do that. Be active in your parenting. I’ll tell you, when - Jonathan, I’m sure this is true for you, it’s true for me - when you talk to parents who have 20, 30-somethings, and they look the other way in this area, they regret it deeply. And, uh, be active. Don’t be that only-boundary parent. Don’t be so active you squelch your child. But have that balance. Just like Proverbs talks about, be that balanced parent to help your child learn how to, uh, handle this well. And I’ve got one more question, Jonathan, about those kids, so hang on.

John: So the website to get The Teen’s Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices and that PDF, “Parent’s Guide to Today’s Technology,” is Please donate generously while you’re there. Or you can call us - 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459.

Jim: Jonathan, for that final word, uh, what would you tell teens today about putting down the phone and looking up?

Jonathan: You know, that is one of those things that I think young people are actually feeling, because they’re frustrated because their friends are staring at devices so much. In a survey by Common Sense Media where they asked young people, have these phones become too much, 52 percent of them said - uh, 52 percent of teenagers said, “Yeah, it’s too much. It’s become an addiction.” So I think those feelings are there. They’re seeing this. And so I think it’s good for us as - as moms and dads to try to create these tech-free zones and to say, “Hey, you know, what? Um, this is a great tool for connecting with people outside the room. Let’s not let it be a tool that distracts us from interacting with the people inside the room.”

Jim: Well, and that core, number-one relationship, looking up to God.

Jonathan: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: To say, “Lord, how do I manage this? There’s so much coming at me in every way. How - how do I do a better job, uh, to praise you and to honor you in how I manage my digital...”

Jonathan: Well, and that’s - that’s what’s so funny, is ‘cause that term look up is a term that’s kind of being used out there - look up from your device. But obviously, in the book, I loved going a little bit more into it about how we can look up also to a relationship with God.

Jim: Well, that’s great. Thanks for being with us.

Jonathan: Hey, thanks. 


John: And you can learn more about Jonathan and, uh, get the book The Teen’s Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices. Once again, our website - Well, join us next time. We’ll hear from hip-hop artist and pastor Trip Lee as he explains that we’re all called to represent Christ in the culture. 


Trip Lee: Until Jesus is back and he’s completed his work, that means he’s still working in us and we still have plenty of work to do and by God’s grace we also have the weapons to do it.

End of Teaser

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Jonathan McKee

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Jonathan McKee has authored 20 books including If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect With Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid, More Than Just Talk and Sex Matters. He has more than 20 years of experience in youth ministry and offers the wisdom he's gained through that experience as he speaks around the world to parents and youth leaders. Jonathan and his wife, Lori, have three children and reside in California. You can learn more about Jonathan by visiting his blog, as well as his website,