Cell Phones in Kids Church

How to Handle Cell Phones in Kids Church

Ten years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of a cacophony of cell phones ringing randomly in kids’ church!

Cell phones were for parents or texting teens but kids? My, how times have changed! In our children’s church, kids arrive with bibles, offerings and cell phones. I won’t go into all the reasons why handing kids phones are a bad idea because as a parent, I can see the positives too. “What if something horrible happened and my child needed me?” That is the question many parents are faced with after tragedies like Sandy Hook. We want to be connected to our kids, still, you have to keep order and some level of decorum in children’s ministry. If you’ve got cell phones arriving regularly in kids’ church, here’s what you can do.

Start by setting an example. Mute your phone and let the kids see you do it. If you run a countdown video, include a reminder on the video, “Please mute your phones.”

Ask kids a Bible trivia question and tell them to text you the answer. Chances are everyone won’t have a cell phone so encourage kids to work together. This is one way of embracing the technology.

Add an iPhone docking station to your sound system. Kids love to share their favorite songs. (Of course, do prescreen songs first.) Get involved in their “world” by listening to what they listen to. Of course, feel free to share your songs too.

Say no to headphones or earbuds. Chances are you’ll have children show up for kids’ church with earbuds and that’s mighty distracting. Kids wearing headphones are sending some serious signals like, “I don’t want to be here,” and “I don’t respect you.” The best way to deal with headphones is to confiscate them until after class. Allow them to keep their phone in their pocket but do hold on to the earbuds. You have to draw the line on this one! There’s really no way to integrate this accessory into a teaching experience. (As far as I can tell!)

Don’t be afraid of the technology but do set some ground rules. Show kids how cell phones may and may not be used in your classroom.

You can do it!

Read more from Mimi by visiting her blog at Tools for Kids Church.


Comments

  1. Busola says

    This is such a fuzzy area for me. I am all for meeting the kids at their level and incorporating technology as much as possible in the class. But how about the few children who do not have cell phones? I try to avoid situations where some less privileged child may end up feeling awkward.

  2. says

    Great blog! I have wrestled with this question this year. At my previous church, it wasn’t really an issue, because didn’t have many kids with cell phones, but I’m currently serving in the suburbs of Atlanta, and almost every kid has a cell phone. We made the decision with the leadership team to NOT allow kids to use phones at ALL in church. We made the decision for several reasons: too much of a distraction and too hard to control usage; kids could forget and lose them or they could get stolen/broken, etc. Also, we encourage kids to learn how to look up Bible verses in a physical Bible. And with the HOURS kids spend on their phones and devices throughout the day, I thought one hour at church would be a great time to engage kids WITHOUT their phones.

    HOWEVER, I think I am going to have to amend this rule at some point. It is too much a part of our culture, and like you said, it’s good to reach kids at their level, so now I am looking into ways to help make phones a beneficial part of our service, while not allowing them to be a distraction. Thanks for the great ideas!

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