Today I’m happy to share this guest post from author Amy L. Sullivan! Her book “When More is Not Enough: How to Stop Giving Your Kids What They Want and Give Them What They Need” releases today. Be sure to check it out – seriously, who doesn’t need a book with that title?
My daughter is 11, and last year our girl saved money from her birthday and Christmas to buy herself an iPod.
My husband and I blocked the poor girl from many of the capabilities which make the iPod fantastic (Awwww, mom! Everyone has texting!), but she has been given the ability to take photos, play games, watch TV shows, and s-l-o-w-l-y gain supervised access to the online word.
Giving an 11-year-old online access makes me feel queasy – I would much rather see my girl pedaling her bike, making daisy necklaces, and jamming out on a Sony Walkman. But as a good friend reminded me, “For crying out loud, Amy, it’s not 1987. Screen time is a part of life, even for preschoolers!”
I know my friend is right, but I want our daughter to utilize the Internet for more than selfies and YouTube videos. I want her to see the ways people can use the Internet for good. I want to show her that even our Internet use can be a way to serve others and glorify God.
Here are four fun ways our family has discovered to do both!
1. Play games for good.
FreeRice.com is a nonprofit website created by the United Nations Food Programme. While players participate in trivia-like quizzes in math, grammar, vocabulary, Spanish, and a variety of other subjects, they also earn rice to give to hungry people for free.
Zynga.org is also a nonprofit organization that believes gaming and the people who play games can make a positive impact on the world. Since 2009, Zynga has donated over 20 billion dollars to over 50 nonprofits. Zynga raises money and awareness by hosting campaigns. Campaigns are designed to educate players and generate money.
2. Take photos for good.
Donate a Photo is an app created by Johnson & Johnson which allows users to take, edit, share, and donate photos. For each photo donated, Johnson & Johnson will give $1.00 to a predetermined cause of the user’s choice. Photos need not be artsy, and the gallery contains photos of rainbows, golden retrievers, and everything in between.
3. Get involved in already established campaigns.
GenerationOn encourages kids, teens, parents, educators, and organizations to make a difference in the world by establishing kid-friendly campaigns and sharing stories about young people who are shaking things up around the word.
4. Watch a video.
Today, everyone (this includes the makers of cereal, batteries, and even butter!) has websites and social media outlets. Find an organization your family already supports or hunt around and find something new, and watch their promotional videos. These videos tell stories of the mission behind the companies.
If you’re interested in more fun and practical ways to get your family thinking about serving others, please check out my new book, When More is Not Enough.
When More is Not Enough explores the idea of more in a different way. It gently nudges families to think about “more” in terms of generosity: being more generous with prayer, time, strangers, talents, and the same kind of love Christ showed us.
Your turn. I’d love to hear about the ways you’ve used the Internet for good in your home. Go!
About Amy: For the past two years, Amy L. Sullivan looked harder, loved stronger, and discovered more by fixing her gaze on something other than the person staring back at her in the mirror. Amy writes for oodles of print and online publications and loves speaking with groups of any size. Find her on her website, join her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.