In an exclusive interview with Faithwire, actor Kirk Cameron revealed the next phase in his fight to help equip a generation of “pioneer parents” who are raising their children in a tech obsessed culture.
Launching today, “Engage” is the brand new, five-session online course that continues the mission Cameron set out to tackle in his recent movie “Connect” which hit theaters earlier this year. It promises a deeper dive that offers parents a detailed strategy for helping guide their children through the often treacherous tech environment.
That was Cameron’s friendly warning when this author — and parent of a new teenager — asked what to expect in the coming weeks and months. The tech landscape can be overwhelming, to say the least. For starters, the average teen is consuming over 7 hours of media per day on devices that are chemically addictive, exposing them to pornography at the average age of 8, bullying, online predators, and more. All of this dangers are “freaking most parents out and they don’t know what to do,” he said.
See the trailer for the course:
Many of us already struggle with an inability to peel our own eyes away from the screen in favor of personal interaction, so we can fully understand just how difficult the task of raising a generation of tech children can be – sometimes enough to cause parents to essentially give up and hope for the best.
Listen to Kirk discuss with Faithwire how he and his wife approach parenting their teen children:
But we should fight the urge to just throw our hands in the air in defeat, Cameron said, using a driving analogy to explain: “We don’t just throw our hands up and hope for the best when we’re teaching our kids how to drive. We don’t just say ‘hey, here are the keys, go ahead.’ We sit down and show them how the brakes work, or the steering wheel works,” he said, before illustrating that we would instead walk them through each stage of learning until they eventually could drive on their own. “I think that’s the same approach we want to take with our kids (with technology), and you can never start too early. Engage is for pre-teens, teenagers – and the truth is all of us need to better understand these things and learn healthy habits.”
It’s a daunting task, for sure. Everyday in the news we see evidence of just how real the dangers are – but there is hope. “The great news is, it’s not overwhelming if you understand the problem and know the solution,” he said.
That’s why he’s created “Engage” – a 5-lesson online course designed to equip parents and children to navigate the tech world together. And there’s no point in avoiding the issue, Cameron says – because even the most protective parents can’t keep technology away. Tech is so engrained in our culture they’ll eventually be exposed to it one way or another. Instead of shielding, he said, parents should be willing to tackle this issue head on and seek to equip and prepare their child’s heart first and foremost.
“The internet is a portal into all things. All things good, and all things twisted and distorted and awful. We don’t want our kids hurt by this – we’d never give our kids a phone for birthday thinking it was a portal to their destruction. But you really can’t hide your kids from it totally, even if you decided to go Amish and get rid of technology altogether. Your kids may not have a phone, but if their friends do, it’s two feet away from them at all times. So the filters you need to give your kids are built into their own hearts and mind, and that is a love for what is pure and good and beautiful and true and right. I think that’s all tied in with their faith in God, I think that’s all tied in with their closeness of relationship with their family, and a sense of who they are and their purpose in life. These are the conversations that are best had with their parents when they engage with their kids,” he explained.
While most parents are a bit overwhelmed by it all, there is a common theme as well that Cameron has seen – they have a strong desire to tackle the issue head on. “They want to accept the challenge and help their kids navigate this world of technology,” he said. “So we made Engage, a 5-lesson online course that’s a deep dive filled with practical applications from experts.”
Cameron himself has 6 children, most of them are teenagers, so even though he’s consulted the experts for the course, he is a battle tested veteran himself. “With 8 smartphones in the house, we found ourselves right in the middle of a tech obsessed social media world that frankly caught us a little by surprise,” he told Faithwire, concluding that even though it’s a huge issue, “it’s not overwhelming if you understand the problem and have a solution.”
If you’d like to find out more about Kirk’s new course and how you can help prepare your family and have healthy habits in a tech obsessed world, click HERE.