What is the Digital Kids Initiative?

The Digital Kids Initiative is brought to you by the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding (CPYU). CPYU’s Digital Kids Initiative, which is under the direction of CPYU President and Founder Dr. Walt Mueller (click here to read his bio), was launched in part from a grant from the associates of DAS based in Palmyra, PA.

                                                                           

CPYU provides information, analysis and resources to parents, youth workers, pastors and anyone else who longs to love and lead children and teens in today’s rapidly changing cultural context. Our goal is to equip cross-cultural missionaries to the emerging generations. Visit CPYU’s website to learn more.

The Need

The cultural context of children and teens is changing at breakneck speed. These changes leave kids facing a host of unprecedented problems, challenges, and choices. One of the most sweeping changes is the rapid expansion and growth of media technologies and outlets. We’re living on a new “Digital Frontier.” Like the pioneers of old, we’re entering into new and confusing territory filled with a mix of wonderful opportunities, and dangerous hazards.

The most recent research indicates that the average 8 to 18-year-old in America is engaging with media for 7 hours and 38 minutes a day. Much of their media engagement includes time spent interacting with others via social media technologies that didn’t even exist ten years ago (Facebook, etc.). Today’s children and teens are a “wired” generation. They are constantly connected to their media and their media is constantly connected to them. Because they are at an impressionable and vulnerable age, children and teens are eager and willing to follow a media world that is attractive, pervasive, convincing, and compelling. Media is increasing in influence. In some cases, media is the main socializing and nurturing influence in a child’s life, shaping their worldviews in powerful ways.

CPYU has identified media education as a major need in today’s emerging culture. Young people are engaging media without having developed healthy practices, boundaries, or filters. In addition, they don’t know how to interpret media messages in light of the truths of God’s Word, thereby giving them the ability to discern truth from lies in media’s messages. Adults – who are largely ignorant to new media technologies and the roles they play in their children’s lives – are unknowingly abdicating the parenting role and the spiritual nurture of their children to the world of today’s media. And, when parents do want to respond, they are at a loss regarding God-honoring response strategies.

The Response

The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding has launched the Digital Kids Initiative in response to these needs. The Digital Kids Initiative includes the following elements:

  • Seminars for parents, youth workers and educators that help them understand the emerging world of media technologies and messages, how media is influencing and shaping their kids and biblically faithful response strategies. Check out our Seminars page for details.
  • The Digital Kids Initiative website offering research, news, handouts, fact sheets and other resources.
  • Other materials including online webinars and tutorials for parents and youth workers.