Talking to Your Students About Tech: Computers

Oh, technology!  Personally, I love it!  It turns my lights on at my house when I want them to come on, it keeps me connected to students I’ve had the privilege of Youth Pastoring over the years (one of which is about to have a baby, shoutout baby Moore!).  In our churches, it allowed us all to stay connected through the pandemic and beyond.  In our youth services, technology helps deliver messages, drive the point home, and even help us stay on track when teaching!  But then, of course, there is the other side of technology that I definitely don’t love.  It can be a complete time suck; it draws so much attention and distracts us from things that are, most of the time, more important.  It has a deep dark side that can be all too tempting for us and our students.

I’ll bet most of us are in the same boat with this “issue.”  We love it and we hate it at the same time.  We don’t want it in our lives, and yet we’re not sure what our lives would look like without it.  I would also guess that as Youth Workers, we’ve at least attempted to make sure that we have a good balance in our lives with the devices and technology that surround us.  Perhaps we haven’t been super successful or perhaps we have, but most of us have at least given it a go and tried to set up a healthy relationship with technology.  What about the students that we are leading?  Do you think they understand the need for balance?

In this post, we’ll be talking specifically about how to talk to your students about computer usage (Want to see what we have to say about apps, click here).  I know, when I first think about computer usage and the students we’re leading, I kind of laugh and think they’re not even using a computer; why do we need this article?  Stick with me here because I think there are some important keys for us to talk to them about.

At School

Most, if not all, of your students are using a computer (Chromebook) for school work throughout their day.  Teachers are giving out in-class work to be done on computers and our students have a choice to make when that device comes out.  I was talking with a friend a couple of Sundays ago after Youth Group and she was talking first about how hard it is for her to be a teacher right now (disrespect, apathy, disregard for authority), then she specifically brought up technology and that she has put her set of Chromebooks away for the year already because as soon as they come out, the students immediately jump on Netflix, YouTube, etc… and stop paying any attention to the work she’s given out.

So, what’s our role here as Youth Workers?  Our role is to address things like this with the students in our care.  Talk to them about how to respect the freedom they have on such a powerful device.  Just because there is access, they don’t have a license to go anywhere they want on the internet.  Talk to them about how to respect their teachers.  It’s easy to fall into the crowd at school and just go along with everyone else; but if we can help our students see the value in taking the difficult road, we can set them on a trajectory for the rest of their lives.  Respect for the rules and knowing the boundaries of our freedom are simple, but powerful truths.

At Home

There are still a lot of computers in homes across America.  It may not be the days of personal desktop computers in bedrooms anymore, but with the ease and access that laptops provide, there is still a need to talk about computer usage at home with students.  I heard this talk a lot growing up in my Youth Group.  The dreaded purity talk and inevitably pornography got brought up.  Year after year, my Youth Pastor (some of you may know him) hammered home the fact that a computer is a powerful tool and a gateway to sin.  It was perhaps easier to tell us then to stay away from computers or to at least limit our time, but the fact that they are now built into students’ daily lives, including homework assignments, what do we have to tell them today?

We have two things to tell them: balance and accountability.  Just like each of us has strived (striven?) to create balance in our lives with the technology that surrounds us, we must teach that to our students.  Where are the lines?  What constraints do they need to put in place?  What can we do to help them win?  Balance is simply the act of purposefully limiting our time with anything in our lives so we can experience equal amounts of a variety of things.  If we allow ourselves to be consumed with any one thing, we lack balance.

How do we help ensure balance? Accountability. Whether it’s with another person or using a tool like a screen time limiter, it’s important for us all to have help.  Teaching our students about accountability will go way beyond computer usage and better them as followers of Jesus for a lifetime.  There’s so much power in a person who you know you can rely to help you when you’re struggling in a nonjudgmental and nonthreatening way.  There’s also power in digital tools that were created to help us stay accountable to the ideals we set in place.


I could make a lot of suggestions for what resources are out there, but let me just give you two:

  • Covenant Eyes is an important tool that combines digital accountability with peer-to-peer accountability
  • Protect Young Eyes – Chris McKenna and his incredible team work hard day in and day out to provide resources, tips, and insider information for all things technology and the students we love.  If you’ve never given them a look, do yourself a favor and check them out.  You can even have Chris or one of his fantastic team come out and do training at your church or even a local school!  At Never The Same, we love Protect Young Eyes!


Kyle Wood
Director of Operations
and Communication


Cover 📸 by Tianyi Ma on Unsplash