Social Media

September 11 2023 | by

Dear Mr. Pfister, my husband and I are trying to determine when and how we should allow our children to have access to electronics and other forms of media. We see consistently negative things being reported on the news, stories of bullying on social media, rampant pornography use, and other negative things coming from the various forms of media and technology, and this has led us to more earnestly begin asking these questions. We find ourselves pondering questions like, “When do we introduce them to electronics and media?” and “How much use of electronics is too much?” Some days it feels like we’d be better off shielding them from it altogether, but other days we recognize this wouldn’t be healthy. How do we introduce our children to electronics and media in a health way?


The modern world in which we live is inundated – for better or for worse – with media and technology. You can’t leave your home without seeing or being exposed to some form of technology. It can be overwhelming for the most tech-savvy of us. From billboards to the grocery store to our own home. Technology is everywhere.

As overwhelming as this can be, especially as parents, it’s important to recognize that technology, in and of itself, is not bad. In fact, it has many good and useful purposes: from advances in medicine to connecting with family to spreading the Gospel over the internet and television. The question is not whether technology is good, but rather how is it being used. The key to using technology well is found in moderation of its use and its safety.

We as human persons find a pleasure in using technology, and therefore it has the potential to be addictive. In fact, technology today is directed towards creating patterns of behavior that accentuate its use. It’s made to be addictive, and there is a lot of money being spent to maximize this addictive quality. Therefore, moderation in order to avoid these addictive qualities is essential.

Limitations in relation to time and use of technology is important. Have open, honest discussions with your children about the limitations you have on its presence in their lives and why you have these limitations. Show them through your own actions what moderation looks like by having your phone away at the dinner table, having a family boardgame night rather than watching television in the evening, and having adventures outdoors away from your phones and computers.

In relation to safety, unfortunately technology can be used in very negative ways, such as bullying and pornography use. Therefore, the safety of our children is an essential component of technology use. As a general rule of thumb, if technology, such as having a phone or laptop, is not essential, it’s not necessary for our children to have. As they grow and mature, however, technology becomes more necessary, such as having a phone in the case of an emergency or needing to call for a ride home from school. Their level of maturity also indicates both their readiness and ability to moderate their own use of technology. This is key because, while they are living at home, we can guide them in becoming virtuous in relation to their use of technology, which will in part determine their future use of technology.

Further, utilizing software to protect from inappropriate content, having a common space where the computer resides and is exclusively utilized, and keeping phones outside of bedrooms at night are examples of ways to keep your children safe. Practical measures such as this provide a barrier between the negative aspects of technology and our children.

Updated on September 11 2023