Black Friday Blindness


Irresistible tech deals – promises for savings you’ll benefit from all year long. Black Friday is upon us once again! The lure of savings and the chance to nearly complete your children’s Christmas gift wish list all in one morning can be almost to hard to resist. Due to the stress of the morning of Black Friday, we want to help prepare you ahead of time so you find the best gifts for your children. I really appreciate the metaphor Julie Hiramine uses in her book, Guardians of Purity, about parents and media. Her reminder is very pertinent in light of Black Friday: “You are the gatekeeper of your home. You are the one who rations the amount of media crashing through the floodgates.” Black Friday can be an excellent opportunity to get those things you were planning on getting your children for a great price. But don’t let an incredible deal push you into a purchase you and your kids aren’t ready to handle.

Black Friday has long represented the downfall of many a family’s media standards. I’ve seen families go an entire year towing the line of beneficial media boundaries, but once Black Friday hits, something shifts. Parents with the ability to think clearly about the effects screen media and access to the internet have on a child literally lose their minds when those sale flyers hit their driveways.

While reviewing the book Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane, I came across this statistic: “The average American child and teenager spends fifty-three hours a week with media and technology, far more time in front of screens than interacting with parents or people.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working for GOV for nearly 8 years, it’s that interacting with parents, or family connectedness as Julie likes to call it, is one of the main factors in helping children avoid high risk behavior. Simply put, if your children have a strong sense of family connectedness, they will make better choices. All the statistics I’ve read back this statement up, as well as the personal experience I’ve had in my own life and in my ministry experience with teenagers.

Now the fact is children in our times are growing up with technology. There is no avoiding it. But what we can do is use technology wisely by offering kids age-appropriate content and devices, and keeping an eye on the things they do on those devices. We can also use technology to connect as a family, instead of allowing it to disconnect us. How can we do this? Take a look at our Black Friday buying guide to find tips on safeguarding the technology your kids use as well as some popular options you may want to avoid.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of excellent gifts you can give your children that don’t have to involve technology. Below I’ve listed some ideas you may want to try this year.

7 Non-Tech Christmas Ideas for Kids and Teens
  1. Books! Who doesn’t love a good book? Sadly, a lot of children in our culture miss out on the lessons and wisdom good literature has to offer. Check out our webstore for some great books that teach character and other important life-lessons.
  2. A family trip – take the fam to an amusement park, on a hike, a vacation, you name it. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Just go somewhere together and hang out.
  3.  Sports lessons – Playing a sport is a privilege. Between fees for the program and getting to and from practices, it’s also an investment for mom and dad. Which makes it an excellent gift.
  4. Tools for a hobby – Purchasing your kids necessary things for a constructive hobby encourages them to keep going with it. Whether it’s knitting needles or new shin guards or fishing line, this gift says “I encourage you to keep going with something you enjoy”.
  5. Family movie – Ok, this one is slightly techie. But the reason it made the non-tech gift idea list is because watching a movie together as a family can be an excellent way to connect. It also illustrates the point that not all tech is bad and can even be used to help connect families. Movies spark discussion and can have excellent learning points to them. If you select one with a good story, it can teach your kids something of value.
  6. New privilege – this idea is rewarding your child for growing in responsibility. For a teenager, this may mean an extended curfew or the privilege of driving the family car. For a younger child, this could mean riding his or her bike further than previously allowed or choosing what to pack for lunch. Choose something your child has demonstrated they are responsible enough to do and use the gift as an opportunity to celebrate responsibility and growing in maturity.
  7. Pictures – Children love pictures of their families. Why not frame a good one they can keep in their rooms? You never know which pictures will mean the most to them when they are older.
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