Question: How do you deal with the distractions of social media as a mom with young kids?
Answer: Recently, I heard a report about children “acting out” in order to get the attention of parents glued to social media. Whenever we hear a study like this, we moms feel guilty about our social media consumption. We probably take in too much Instagram or Twitter each day, but how do we set limits?
We all want help. More than that, we want compelling reasons that motivate us to change our habits. Thankfully, God’s Word tells us why it matters how many times we check Facebook each day. He gives us a vision of motherhood and social media that is bigger than the size of our smartphone.
God has given us—among other things—the challenging and glorious task of raising little listeners. And in order to teach our children how to listen well, we must be good listeners. Here are three reasons to consider limiting social media so we can listen to our children:
1. Listen to show your children you love them.
Love is not…rude (1 Cor. 13:4-5) and so listening is one of the primary ways we show love to our children.
When we look up from our laptop and look them in the eye the first time they say our name…
When we listen without glancing at our Facebook feed, for as long as it takes for them to finish their story…
When we refuse to be distracted by the “like” notification on our phone, even as they stammer and stutter their way to the point of their question…
…we are telling our children: “I love you more than I want others to love me.”
Let this question guide our social media consumption: Will our children remember us as someone who was always stealing a glance at their smartphone while they were talking, or as a woman who loved to listen, as a mother who loved them enough to listen?
2. Listen to show your children how to love others.
Listening is a lost art these days. Rarely do you meet a genuinely good listener anymore—someone who looks you in the eye and concentrates on what you are saying for more than thirty seconds without glancing at her phone or interrupting or turning away all together. We are all guilty, and yet we all wish we knew more people who were eager to listen to us. Listening is a meaningful, loving, thing to do.
As moms we can raise a new generation of loving listeners by setting a godly example. When we listen attentively to our children, we teach them how to listen to others, we model what it looks like to take an interest in others, and to prefer others before ourselves (Phil. 2:3). We teach them to love others by listening.
3. Listen to show your children how to listen to God.
Most importantly, we resist the pull of social media and listen to our children so that we can teach them to listen to God.
We are not training our children merely to be good listeners but to be God listeners.
We want our children to learn how to put aside distractions, how to quiet their hearts, how to pay close attention, so that they might listen to the voice of God.
Only God can save our children; only he can remove the barrier of sin and satisfy his just wrath against their sin through the cross of Jesus Christ.
But as mothers we are called to train our children in such a way that they will be ready to hear his voice, and like young Samuel, say “Speak Lord, for your servant hears (1 Sam. 3:9).”
When we as mothers resist the distractions of social media and quiet our hearts before the Lord and when we listen attentively to our children, we will raise little listeners (and obeyers!) like Samuel.
And that, my friends, is one very good reason to turn off our smartphone.