In The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, Andy Crouch examines the effects of modern technology on family life and Christian discipleship. At the heart of this book is a desire to be able to harness the benefits of technology for the life of the believer and the family unit without being mastered by them. This is a difficult task in this day and age, since the world seems to be completely built around technology such as TV, cell phones, and social media. However, Andy Crouch demonstrates that it is both possible and extremely beneficial for the soul of the family and of each individual believer.
As stated above, Crouch does not believe we should eliminate technology completely. It has many incredibly valuable uses. However, he exhorts the reader to think about how technology also works against Christian discipleship and family life. Technology can draw people together over long distances, but it also has a habit of isolating a person from the others who are in the same physical space, often hindering any sort of family discipleship. He talks about technology as offering an “easy-everywhere” benefit, meaning that technology exists to make our lives as easy as possible, thus decreasing or eliminating any amount of discipline that we need to practice (p. 37). All through the book, the question the reader is reminded of is, How do we resist the easy-everywhere offer of technology so that we can be more deeply formed by Scripture, the Church, and the Family?
One thing I found most helpful about this book is Crouch’s framework for constantly making choices about technology (and just life in general) that create character, which he narrows in even further to refer to cultivating wisdom and courage (p. 38). Technology can often lead us into bypassing both of those things. The anonymity of the internet can often make it easy to be un-wise and to fail to exhibit courage, so how can we structure our lives in a way that resist this draw away from the character of Christ?
Technology’s reach is vast, and the tips that he spells out in this book may not be fully achievable by every reader or family. But I myself found this book to be an incredibly valuable guide for asking the questions that very few are asking. So many of us have taken technology for granted—I personally can get sucked into researching all of the new software and hardware releases, dreaming about being able to have them just for the cool bells and whistles. However, we must be aware of how these good tools can sometimes (maybe more than any of us would care to admit) master us rather than serve our needs as we pursue lives of Christlikeness, and wisdom and courage. I hope that you take the time to read this book, and I hope that you allow his family’s experience to challenge your own!