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By Mary Richards,Church News
As the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grow to understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ, they are learning how this applies to every aspect of their lives — including technology.
This year at For the Strength of Youth conferences, two new animated videos are being shown about taking charge of technology, as Brother Bradley R. Wilcox, First Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, wrote about for the Church News earlier this month.
Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon shared the two videos on Facebook and Instagram on July 13 and 14.
“How do you take charge of technology? Watch this new video as a family and tell me what you are learning as you counsel together,” she wrote. “How can these principles help us come unto Christ?”
When posting the second video, President Cordon wrote, “One thing I’ve learned is that life is often better with a plan. “What is your plan for using technology in righteous and helpful ways as a disciple of Jesus Christ?”
The New Resources on Taking Charge of Technology
President Cordon spoke about the new resources for the youth on a recent episode of the Church News podcast.
“Their world is technology,” she said. “And as a disciple of Jesus Christ, how do we handle all the technology that comes into our world, for our benefit, and for who I am as a disciple of Christ, and not have the technology take charge of me?”
The resources are on the Gospel Library app in the Youth section. There is a principle statement, and then there is a scripture that goes with each section of prepare, plan and pause, President Cordon explained.
“As the youth counsel about this, I have been amazed at how they said, ‘This principle can help me; I can move forward with this,’” President Cordon said.
A visual guide also reminds the youth how to take charge of their devices.
3 Principles for Taking Charge of Technology
The three principles for taking charge of technology as a disciple of Christ are purpose, plan, pause. Here they are from the visual guide with their corresponding scripture:
Purpose: “I can use technology with a purpose. It doesn’t control me.”
“I, the Lord, have a great work for thee to do” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:6).
Plan: “When I plan ahead, I feel better and make better choices.”
“This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32).
Pause: “It’s OK for me to pause and take a break.”
“Be still and know that I am God” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:16).
Questions and Practical Suggestions for Technology Use
Questions to think about include:
“Why am I using technology right now?”
“Do I feel good about what I’m doing?”
“What is my plan for using technology?”
“What sign am I showing God with how I use my time?”
“Am I avoiding content I know is not right or purposeful?”
Practical suggestions include:
Being intentional about technology use.
Setting daily limits on screen time.
Have device-free areas at home and a family charging station.
Only connecting with close family and friends.
Putting the device down and stepping away.
Missionaries and Taking Charge of Technology
These tools go hand in hand with the “Safeguards for Technology” in the new edition of “Preach My Gospel.” The safeguards have been taught to missionaries before, but now they are included prominently in the new manual and online.
Sherilyn C. Stinson, the commissioner of Family Services for the Church, spoke about missionaries and technology on the Church News podcast in May.
“They need to learn to disconnect from their devices,” Stinson said. “That’s one of the biggest challenges because devices become their coping mechanism. And whatever their coping mechanism might be, if it’s not portable to the mission field, they’re going to be in trouble.”
But youth using the new taking charge of technology resources in the Gospel Library app can put themselves on a better path for the future.
Young Men General President Steven J. Lund said, “Our youth in the Church can choose a different path. They can realize that they control technology. It doesn’t control them.”
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