I remember showing up for a job interview just after I completed my undergraduate degree. The job was related to something I had never heard of before, something called the internet. I had no idea how much that new technology would change everything.
Fast forward a number of decades and I am a father with five children. My children only know a world of technology. Things such as iPhones, iPads, Netflix and YouTube are a part of their everyday experience.
But what should family life look like with the online activity available to us? It is too simplistic to just long for the good old days. We need a deeper reflection on this new aspect of family dynamic. This is exactly what Andy Crouch provides with his book The Tech-Wise Family.
There is so much that I appreciated about this book. I love how he describes his family, not as Amish or even almost Amish, but rather almost almost Amish. Crouch does not seek to banish technology in order to obtain a nostalgic utopia. Technology is part of his life and his family experience. However, Crouch has decided to set the rules rather than letting the technology set the rules.
I liked that keeps his chapter on pornography to the end. It is not that pornography is not a significant issue. It is. But the temptation would be to set up guards against pornography and then anything else goes. The other things that Crouch presents in The Tech-Wise Family are not afterthoughts. They are important and they receive more attention in the book.
My favourite part of the book is the “Crouch Family Reality Check” at the end of each chapter. It would have been very easy for Crouch to write a book that set a high ideal but wasn’t based in reality. Each chapter is about what the Crouch family attempts to do but they conclude with the way things really are. Sometimes they don’t quite hit their goal. For myself, it gave me hope that it is worth trying.
Although The Tech-Wise Family is written from a faith perspective, I believe there is plenty for non-Christians to get from it as well. Technology is too powerful and too intrusive for us to ignore. Healthy families require healthy and reasonable guidelines for how to use technology properly.