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From Hi-Tech to High Touch

From Hi-Tech to High Touch

Last week I was in Ft Worth with a group of ministers that work with teenagers. Smart phones, iPads and laptops were as prevalent and acceptable as cups of coffee.  It was not just during breaks that the devices were present. They were present during meals, seminars, workshops, worship and meals. They could be seen in lobbies, elevators, sidewalks, restaurants, bars, assembly halls and classrooms. Many of us were communicating with others at the conference or friends who could not be there. Many communicated with family. But be certain, the tweets, facebook posts and text messages were a large part of the function. I could not help but be aware that these are people who know teenagers very well and are early adopters of their communication tools. I started texting on a Nokia phone, IM’ing when AOL was still a player and joined Facebook in year two. That is where my teenagers/college students were.

Paul emailed a quote from conversation he had several years ago. “Ravi Zacharias said to me, ‘Young people and media have become one.  We can no longer separate a young person from their technology.’” I agree. We have a hi-tech population of teenagers. The want communication. They consume media. They produce content like no other before them. Sherry Turkle titled her book “Alone Together.” The subtitle, “Why we expect more from technology and less from each other.” If teens and their media are inseparable, then parents and people working with teenagers must seek ways to reverse the trend Turkle describes.

As humans, we long for human interaction. We long for touch. We have to model for teens how we balance the hi-tech world with our high touch needs. That means as adults we have to learn how to do that as well. No more dismissing, ignoring or being fearful of social media and teen use of it. In fact, those three excuses are lazy responses. Anyone can do that. Learning how to play in the digital playground with your teenager takes time, energy and effort to engage. It means communicating about your presence online together…and that needs to happen face-to-face.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about being Hi-Tech with High-Touch in the lives of your family. I hope you’ll join the discussion. I think it is a critical one for social media parents.

  1. Teens and their media have become on. #SMP

  2. Teens and their media have become one. #SMP

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