We talk a lot about the problems with social media and technology today. But what if it all can be an important tool in your spiritual life? Tech enthusiast and podcaster Nathan Sutherland joins AllMomDoes host Julie Lyles Carr for gleaning the good from your device life.
Book: Hooked by Nir Eyal
Book: Indescribable, by Louie Giglio –
Comprehensive Parental Control Tool for Families: BARK
Julie Lyles Carr: Today on the AllMomDoes podcast, we’re continuing our series going deeper in your faith, and I have someone who’s gonna talk to us about a tool that many of us have access to that you may not realize can be a primary tool in your spiritual growth. As a matter of fact, I would say sometimes we’re trying to hold it at arm’s length, but Nathan Sutherland is with me today and he’s gonna help us learn how to better access this tool, how to use it to grow closer to God… he has some things to say that I think are gonna surprise you. Nathan, thanks so much for being with me today.
Nathan Sutherland: Hi. Thanks for having me on, Julie.
Julie Lyles Carr: Now you are a fellow podcaster on the Purposely Podcast Network, and your podcast is called Gospel Tech. That’s right. Gospel Tech. But before we jump into your particular lane, tell listeners where you live in the world, your family, all that kind of stuff.
Nathan Sutherland: Yeah, I’m out of the Pacific Northwest right here in Washington state. I have a amazing wife. We’ve been married for 17 years and three kiddos: Owen, Henry and Hadley. So, ranging from nine to three. And yeah, I was born and raised in the northwest. I am excited for the fall that’s finally hitting us, but not for the seven months of rain.
Julie Lyles Carr: Yeah but stop bragging about having actual fall cuz I’m in Austin, Texas, and you know what they say about Austin, is that you have almost summer. Summer, still summer and deer season. That’s how they classify.
Nathan Sutherland: That’s interesting.
Julie Lyles Carr: And yeah, we skip some of the primary seasons, but I’m happy for you, Nathan. I hope you…
Nathan Sutherland: Thank you. You should be. And if you ever wanna just feel better than us, visit us anytime during the next seven to eight months, and you’ll be like, oh, it’s been doing this for just months. But no, it is, thank you, beautiful. It is great and I’m excited for this conversation because it is one that can be, it can be difficult to jump into because people have really strong opinions on it and because we love our kids a lot and we see some of the technology out there that either has scary research or just scary talking heads on the tv. Or we’re actually, we are seeing scary outcomes and we don’t know where they’re coming from or what to do about it. So, thanks for having me on.
Julie Lyles Carr: Absolutely. And as we’ve given hints to what we’re talking about today, is the use of technology and its relationship to your growth spiritually. And Nathan, one of the things that I love is, yes, there are things we need to be cautious about. There are statistics and things that we’re learning because let’s face it, a lot of the phenomenon of being on technology, we don’t really have yet, or we’re just now starting to get. More longitudinal studies on what all of this tech is going to mean for the way that our brains develop, the way that we learn, the way our social engagements and social relationships are changing. So, we are just now beginning to understand a lot of that.
And of course, there are some dire warnings out there, and we’ll get into some of those. But part of what I love is you also, in addition to taking a look at those things that are challenging, you’re also saying that whoa, let’s take a beat and realize the power that we can utilize technology for to advance our spiritual relationship with God. So, talk me through that. How did you begin to take a look at some of the advantages and some of the powerful ways that technology can actually enhance our spiritual lives?
Nathan Sutherland: Yeah, I think it’s, thank you. It’s a great question. It’s a huge one. So, let me take a half step back. I got into this was a middle school teacher for a decade, and I got into this line of work because I was really passionate about seeing young people reach their full potential. And in praying into that, my wife and I prayerfully took a step of starting a non-profit, and part-time worked for a couple years. So, I did nonprofit work in the morning and teaching in the afternoons, and then we made the jump in 2019, right before Covid hit, and we went in and started praying through. All right schools aren’t an option.
Like, how are we gonna be reaching people? And the area of technology; it’s been a huge area for me where I’ve been really unhealthy in certain areas of technology. A part of big part of my testimony of being here is actually video games. I love video games. I think they’re very cool. and I can’t play them is the short version. And and it’s not because video games are necessarily bad. It’s because I don’t have a dial. I have an on-off switch. And so, for me, my heart became, alright, how do I help parents have this conversation? Cause I can’t just say never play video game because I think they’re great. I think there’s a lot of very cool parts. But the Lord took me on this journey of, all right, how do we talk about it? To get to, actually your answer is the first thing we need to recognize as parents and as Christians, is to recognize that there are two types of tech. And this is really confusing for a lot of people cuz they’ll start having arguments with their children or with their spouses or even with themselves and going I don’t understand why this tech is, is any different from any other tech. Why is my laptop different than my smartphone? Why are video games any different than playing sports outside? And the idea is there’s two kinds of tech. You have tool tech. This is tech that helps create. And we have Drool tech, and that’s tech that helps us consume.
And that does not mean good tech and bad tech, but it means they’re designed differently. And I think the best example would be something like Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word is tool tech. It helps you create; it leverages your ability. So, I can write much faster on a computer. I can share it much more quickly. I can save it in a lot more places and it’s much more streamlined then if I were to hand write it or type it up or something like that with a typewriter.
Then you look at Drool tech and that’s gonna fall, like social media, video games, even our news feeds, if it’s algorithm driven, streaming shows. These are consumption focused. And the main thing to note is that it has a goal in and of itself. So, we go to it cuz we’re bored, or we want to be entertained or we want to have fun. But it wants to keep our time, our focus. That’s a Drool Tech’s goal. It’s a goal beyond what we have.
So, Microsoft Word, never once will send you a notification and be like, Hey, haven’t helped the notice, you haven’t written on me in a while. It never tells you that a friend of yours started a book and it’s doing way better than yours is. Like at no point does Word do that. It just is a tool. It’s a really fancy writing shovel, right? It just helps you do what you want to do. And Drool tech always has another goal for you. So, it either wants you to stay longer than you intended, so you wanted to watch that three minutes, do it yourself video on YouTube, and it wants to show you three more, three-minute videos. Or it wants you to come back more often. So, you came for those three minutes, but you’re gonna return later. And when we’re talking billions of users in a day that or billions of views in a day, that matters.
And then the third one is it wants you either to be worth money or to pay money. And that is important for us to recognize when we’re talking to our young people, when we’re talking about our own tech health, that there are two kinds of tech, and on the tool tech side there are amazing resources to help develop our faith, to help us focus on who God has made us to be and to live that out.
But it has to come, from the big picture, of understanding what tech are we using and are we using it or is it using us?
Julie Lyles Carr: Hit me with some stats on what average usage, both of tool and Drool tech looks like today. What are we seeing? I’m sure the growth has been explosive, and I’m sure during the pandemic time on screens became even bigger. But what are some of the latest stats?
Nathan Sutherland: Yeah, so the latest stats we’re still very much trying to process covid, and what Lockdown in school on screens and adults on screen. So, the stats for 16 hours a day was our average amount of screen time. About half of that was drool tech. Drool Tech isn’t, you’re not gonna find that in research. That’s something I made up to try to explain, cuz a lot of research is missing that. They’ll just talk about screen time in general. But when you read the research on brain development, when you read the research on on even just design, I f you read the book Hooked, by Nir Eyal, and you start reading like, this is a different thing. Microsoft Word doesn’t do this. This is a specific type of development. So, that’s how I’m trying to explain that concept, is this concept of Drool tech. But it’s looks like it’s about eight hours a day of Tool tech, eight hours a day of Drool tech. Especially for young people, the teens Common Sense’s media’s most recent study, coming out of 2021, is that young people are averaging eight’ish hours a day. That tied in with research by Twinge At All, coming outta 2017 is starting at two hours a day. The chances of depression, and actually ideations of self-harm, starts rising at two hours a day of Drool Tech. And they’re specifically focused on social media.
But what we’re seeing across the board is, across the board, whether it’s social media or whether it’s video games or whether it’s our news apps, that when we’re not the one driving the content and we become consumption focused, we tend to get really anxious. And we tend to get more isolated, and we start doing what’s now been coined doom scrolling where it’s all bad news and you just keep looking for more and more bad news, right? Like it’s causing you so much pain, but you just keep, you’re just stuck in a spiral in, and you have a hard time pulling out. Eight hours a day is what we’re seeing. Two hours a day is when problems start arising statistically. That’s an old stat. Two, five years ago was a different world. And what we are seeing now is families having to have intentional conversations about what is the tech that best supports us. So, really, I challenge families to, to ask three questions when it comes to any kind of technology. Be it a video game, be it a smartphone, be it just having Wi-Fi in your house, you really need to ask three questions.
First, is it safe? Meaning is this technology a good decision for anybody? And you know that by is it safe? Can be does it have internet access? We just need to know does it have internet access and do we want our kids to have access to the internet? Cuz the internet has strangers, bullies and pornography on it. So, let’s be aware that’s a thing on the interwebs. Does it have an app store for this exact same question? Is it Tool or Drool Tech? Just know that going in doesn’t mean a yea or nay. Just means we need to ask.
And then I guess I said three questions, but really four cuz the last one is, can it be held accountable? Accountability is loving. It’s intentional. It’s not about running a police state in our families. It’s about living out the truth that we’re never alone. We’re never the only one seeing what we see. And so, removing that kind of live anonymity that the internet likes to give us, and living in the light of day and the light of truth. And so, I think. That’s where I would point parents, when we talk about technology.
On the stat side we know that highly stimulating technology, that algorithm driven technology that spending our personal investments in parasocial relationships, where we get connected to YouTubers or to individuals we don’t know in real life and having those be our primary form of relationship, can be really unhealthy for our emotional development and for our mental health. So, we’re seeing those things. What hasn’t been put out there. And what I’m trying to get out there is what we can do about it. And this is the reason we’re Gospel Tech.
The reason we’re not just good tech or better tech or hope tech. hope tech. It was just, I went through a lot of different names and the reason we came back down to Gospel Tech was the gospel is the good news that God saves sinners. And this is the good news, that there’s bad news. That we are sinners, that we need a savior. That salvation comes by grace. Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us that we’re sinners. Four through nine says that we’re saved by grace. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we’re not just saved from the world, we’re saved for it. For good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to do. And now in light of the gospel, because I’m a new creation, because I was a sinner and I’ve been saved by grace, and that God has good works for me to do, well now I use my tech in light of that.
So, if I’m on social media, it needs to line up with my new identity as a child of God, and an heir of of God’s kingdom. Filled with the Holy Spirit to do good works. So, I go, all right, does social media help me accomplish God’s plans for my life, his will in my life? And that’s where video games for me, I was like, no. As a matter of fact, every time I play video games, it’s a selfish act. I’m forgoing something I should be doing. I’m ignoring something God’s calling me to do. And I feel heavy conviction afterwards, a hundred percent of the time.
Julie Lyles Carr: I love, you’re right. I love that you designated that for you in the way that you’re wired, it wasn’t a dial, it was an on off switch. I think that’s really beautiful because that metaphor to me helps me process a little bit. Okay, what for me, do I seem to have the ability to turn up a little bit and use it in a certain way. Turn down if it seems to be consuming me a little bit. And what do I need to know is just an on off switch. And there just doesn’t seem to be I’m either all in or all out.
So, I really appreciate that metaphor. I think it’s really helpful. What are some of the tools that you find are very powerful right now, when it comes to using technology as an aid to your spiritual growth? What are some things that you’re personally using, your family is using, that you find to be really helpful that way?
Nathan Sutherland: I personally love podcasts. Hence this medium. So, for me, I love diving into sermons and preachers who are biblically grounded and encouraging. So, Tim Keller is one of my go-tos. I will listen to him regularly. Dr. Steve Shell is amazing, and those are people that I will listen to in addition to being a part of a church body. Belonging locally, being known and vulnerable so we can be part of the repenting and believing part of the call to be the church corporate. These are individuals who help me refocus and who challenge me. So, I love that. And then with my family, the digital mediums with my kids basically stop at the Bible Project. So, the Bible Project is out of Portland, Oregon, and they do an amazing job of sharing visually truths about scripture.
And those, yeah, those are the two that we may use mainly. We really love for our kids some analog resources. If you guys want, and actually the podcast version is awesome, or the, excuse me, the audible version of the Jesus Storybook Bible for young people. Does an incredible job of sharing the gospel in ways it’s not, like I would challenge families, like it’s not the Bible, but it’s a story about the Bible that will help your kids pick up major themes, and they can understand as young as five years old. So, we love the Jesus Story book Bible, and we also love Louis Giglio’s Indescribable series of children’s what do you call those devotionals?
So, like a morning read with a scripture. And this morning was about Esther and being chosen for such a time as this, and how God has made our planet for such a time as this. And they’re beautiful and they’re accessible and those are ways that we really enjoy those. I will add a caveat because I had this conversation with some youth leaders this last week. I spoke at a, like a little mini conference and some youth leaders came up and they’re like, oh what do you feel about VR Church? So, church in virtual reality. Or running church over like TikTok and I would caution us that while the Lord can use any resource, we do need to weigh where we’re being called, and the net good with the net distraction. And while the Lord will work on the internet and through virtual reality, some of those mediums do distract us more than they feed us. And I think we do need to be intentional and prayerful and heading into… i, I use the comparison during CO and many of us started attending church online, and we started going to churches that aren’t anywhere near us.
And while that’s amazing and the preaching can be great, I love Tim Keller and Steve Shell, those can’t be my primary method of being fed. Because the church at the end of the day is about belonging and being known, confessing our sins, and repenting with one another, and doing that in a corporate setting. And if all I have to do is close a browser and open a new one and I’m in a new church now, there is a certain amount of danger to that. And sometimes the gospel gets overly condensed because it has to travel in a TikTok video. So, I got 30 seconds right to try to convey you. And it’s a wonderful way to reach people for the first conversation. But the goal is to draw them in and have them be known. So, I just, there are amazing tools and resources out there. Please use them. And just because they’re digital or just because it’s the gospel, doesn’t mean it’s the end landing spot. The end spot is to be known.
Julie Lyles Carr: Nathan, one thing that strikes me when it comes to all of our technology is, of course there is the algorithm that pulls you in and the more time that you spend on a platform and all of that. But we also see technology as now having democratized marketing and distribution of products. And something that I think that we are struggling, and we struggled about it in real life, because it was already an issue there, and now it’s transferred into the digital space. Are those who market themselves well, they seem to have all the auspices of someone who is walking closely with the Lord, and their church is really big, and they’ve got all of the accoutrements, and all of the accessories that make a lot of is go well, it must be legit. And we add on top of that some of the powerful creativity, which can be really beautiful, but these incredible Instagram reels of a church project, or a church experience or a concert. But we tend to sometimes check at the door, unfortunately, with those beautiful visuals, with those beautiful soundtracks, really taking a deep dive, and I’m not talking about it in a judgey way. It’s just difficult sometimes when we bombarded with messaging that seems on brand, to continue to use discernment. How do you guide yourself in that to really take a pause? Because again, Sometimes there are people who get on these mediums, and bless their hearts, but it’s just not their strength. But what they may have to say may have a lot more veracity than someone who is really talented at marketing. So, how do we discern that? How do we bring that level of discernment into the tech space where we don’t have potentially that one-on-one, or in person experience?
Nathan Sutherland: Yeah, I think I think the main way I do it, and this is my challenge for anyone who’s looking to be just yeah, spiritually discerning when you enter the space of the webs, because it’s both sides, right? You get the people that they’re not very polished, but their gospel call is real, and their passion is real, and their faith is real. And you get the people who are super polished and are still real and called, and all that, but you start to get almost cynical. Like now they’re too pretty to love Jesus.
Like they’re too good at this. It must be fake. And I’m not gonna say that at all, but I will say when you finish listening or viewing or engaging that, do you think more about Jesus or about the individual? And this is my great concern in doing this. Is I absolutely wanna reach as many people with the gospel as possible. And the internet’s a great way to do that. And podcasting’s an amazing way. And I do live speaking, and I’m not saying like, I’ll never talk to more than 500 people, right? I’ve talked to thousands of people at a time, but that’s not my goal, and that’s not how I gauge success personally. My goal is I wanna make much of the Lord and I want people to walk away being like, I don’t remember who that dude in the plaid shirt was, but God is great.
And that’s my personal goal. And when I’m, when I’m processing this conversation or when I’m processing myself of how am I doing this? Am I marketing it this way so that people will like it? Or so that the gospel is made known to lots of people. The question comes back to success. And this is a question my wife and I have been asking for all of the years we’ve been doing this, cuz again, we started during Covid. And the question is like, all right, we’re reaching X amount of people, but that’s not our litmus for success. Are we doing it? And as it’s grown and as we’ve reached more individuals and as we get to do these amazing interviews, our litmus isn’t, we’re now speaking more. Like I talked 17 live talks this month. Like, all right, we’re on pace for 200 talks in a year. But that’s not the gauge of a success.
Like in fact, that could be the gauge that I’m drifting from success cuz two hundred’s a lot, and I have three small children. Like maybe we need to prayerfully redirect. That’s great. And things got really super busy and that’s cool. But success is knowing and loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, loving our neighbors, including our enemies as ourselves from who we are as Christians, from the hope we have in the gospel, and then making disciples. Which just means helping others trust and follow Jesus. And if I’m doing those three things, then we’re good. If I’m giving up one of those three, because I have a call or whatever, if I see someone else doing that, they’re really do an amazing content, but we’re losing the gospel. It is literally what Jesus warned us about. Don’t gain the world and lose your soul. And we’ve seen that in the last several years of some of, some of the world’s best Bible teachers falling flat on their face. Some of them repenting, which is amazing and some of them not.
And I think that’s what we wanna be cautious of. Doing that ourselves and buying into the brand. I love that you just said that their branding is on point, right? There are some people where, man it’s very shining, it’s very engaging, and we get that amazing experience, but we come out thinking more of the experience and that individual than we do about God and the amazing miracle he’s doing in our heart.
Julie Lyles Carr: And often evaluating what our experiences felt like and looked like and how it made us feel, Versus what we actually learned. I love that. Talk to me about the glimpse behind the curtain, if you will. And by that, neuropsychology. Why algorithms? Work. Who figured this stuff out? How are they getting inside our heads? making this stuff so, just, sometimes absolutely binge worthy. Like how is this happening to us as a culture? Because again, we are in the infancy really of what’s possible, and in the infancy of understanding how the human brain is interacting with all of this technology.
So, talk to us about, The various algorithms. Talk to us about the things that we can’t seem to let go of. Talk to me about the phenomenon of doom scrolling. Like why do our brains work that way, and how are people figuring all this out and using it the way that they are?
Nathan Sutherland: And in a word, data is you’re dealing with data scientists at this point. I’m not a data scientist. I’m not a neuropsychologist and I’m not a professional psychologist. So, I wanna say that up front because there’s probably some professionals listening, being like, let’s see what he says next. I can tell you from the research I’ve read from the professionals that I’ve read and from the people I’ve spoken to who are in the industry, a lot of this came up with Google. And Facebook has done a very good job of it, but Google is the one to really nail the algorithm. And their first algorithms were search algorithms. So, how do I go and search for something and they give you the best hit. This is why if you use a different search browser, the number one search on Bing is Google because the, just the algorithm even amongst trillion-dollar companies is that much better, right? When it goes to giving you what you actually meant, you don’t have to spell it you don’t have to word it right. In fact, I’ve looked up things where we’ve been trying to remember a character in a movie and all we can remember is what he looks like. We don’t remember the name of the movie. Anything about the plot. We’re like, dude, with a hat and glasses, like mid-nineties. And you’re gonna go to images and you can find that person. Like Google is inside our heads. That is, so, Google’s driven it. That has become the gold standard of algorithmic accuracy.
And what they’re trying to do is, again, take your time, focus and money. Their job is to give you something accurate and it’d be so easy to use that you wouldn’t even think to go in anywhere. There’s a really interesting book called The Four where Professor Galloway from NYU at the time, talks about like the major four tech companies. And he says that Google has become effectively religion for us because we take all of our greatest concerns to Google. So, when your kid gets sick, you no longer pray first. You don’t even go to a doctor first. You immediately jump on to Google and go, got these different symptoms, what’s happening, right? And we trust Google’s answer more than we trust even the doctors that we go to. And that’s just a fascinating view of like how much that algorithm… and when you ask how did they do it? They just, they became really useful to the point where they became ubiquitous. To the point where we can’t imagine doing life without Google.
And then you just spend that off. Now YouTube has an algorithm that’s incredible. And their algorithm is retention focused, and so you view your videos… the last stat that I’ve heard from Google was it’s more than three quarters of their views come from the suggested bar. So, it’s not people going and looking for a video they want. It’s people having viewed the video they want and now having a suggestion bar. And now they preempt the suggestion bar.
So, it used to be once you finish a video, suggestion bar. Now there’s one when you first show up. Your homepage, before you ever type anything in, has here’s six videos that you could watch, and they are amazingly good. They quit posting the stat after three quarters because I think they were worried people would freak out when they realized how many videos just come from the suggestion. Just from the algorithm going, oh, you like that? Check this out. And it’s not necessarily even toxic. I don’t think YouTubes is necessarily negative, whereas like TikTok is. It has just been proven now to be distinctly negative. It’s constantly driving you to the most extreme version of whatever you’re at, and it’s really good. And it picks you up. TikTok picks up what you like based on scroll, speed. Number, clicks, comments those kinds of things. So, if you’re scrolling and you scroll back up, it picks that up that you went back to a video to view it again. Multiple watches, those kinds of things. And within 10 minutes, there was a Wall Street Journal article last year where they made a hundred fake accounts run by bots. And they had those hundred with two like a primary and a secondary like interest focus. So, it might be like processing depression and feeling anxious, like something like that. And it would have it pick videos based on that. And within 10 minutes, TikTok had pushed them to the farthest ends of those two interests. Just 10 minutes of view and we’re talking averaging eight hours a day on social media or on…
Julie Lyles Carr: Talk about a learning machine.
Nathan Sutherland: Yeah, that’s, it’s a learning machine. It’s, and that’s where the danger comes in. So, algorithms in themselves are not bad. They’re not terrible, but they’re really effective at driving interest, because it’s always about us. So, it’s either what we love or what we hate, because of those two things we’re gonna react to. And again, I think YouTube probably does it best. Still an algorithm still trying to distract you, but it does the best job of… they monitor their content really well. So, guess what I’m trying to say? So, it’s not perfect, but it’s the best of the options. And the worst would probably be TikTok. And yeah, algorithms. No one knows exactly how Google’s algorithm is even in the company. I think there’s maybe a team, singular team, like, under a dozen people who actually know what’s happening there. It’s the super-secret sauce. It’s a lot of people working on just their corner of it, and not seeing the whole picture. And that’s intentional because that it would ruin them. So, that’s what algorithms do though, is they’re attempt, they’re just attention traps. I think the best explanation I’ve heard that’s simple, would be that Nir Eyal example, where he explains in his book hooked, that basically there’s a trigger, it can be an internal or an external trigger for action. Either your board would be like an internal trigger or an external would be like an notification. It drives you to do something. So, to post something, to play a game, to whatever it is, to go look up that social media feed, to check out the news app, then you get a variable reward.
And those rewards can be anything from negative feedback, like that’s still a reward. Or like someone liking a photo or something of that nature. Some kind of interaction, which then drives you to investment. You now have a little more investment cuz you’ve been rewarded. So, the next time you get that trigger, you’re more likely to participate. And this is why we find ourselves like, oh, I just have to check that one thing on my phone before I go to bed. And 20 minutes later you look up and you don’t know why you’re on this app or what you were even doing there. And you’re just like, I don’t that was 20 minutes of my life that’s just gone. And I feel a little more anxious now, and I don’t know why. And that’s behaviorally, that’s they’re manipulating all the things that are important to us. Belonging, fear of missing out. The general cycle of learning where we do an action and we receive some kind of a reward for it, and now we’re more invested and we’re more likely to do it. And I think as Christians we are reminded that Romans eight tells us that we set our minds on the things of the spirit, and not on the things of the flesh. And that’s an intentional setting. And that’s what the Lord calls us to do with our hearts and our minds. And that’s, Why the gospel is so important. Are we recognizing we are living out from where we set our minds on, and Jesus tells us that we’re connected to him as a vine, and that’s what causes us to bear good fruit. So, a wonderful self-check that I love, I’m going, all right, algorithms are out there, but they don’t determine us. Like they don’t define us. They describe…
Julie Lyles Carr: They’re responding to what we’re telling them. Yeah.
Nathan Sutherland: And they only do what we tell them to do. I do love to I guess empower and deputize tech users, parents and young people, to remember that Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee and arrived on the shore and was approached by a man with a thousand demons, right? The legion, or 2000, I guess the legion of demons, and that. In that case, that man could still drag himself and those demons, who didn’t wanna be there to the feet of Christ. Because they were begging for mercy at that point. And we can do the same thing with our technology. We don’t have, we don’t necessarily have control, but many of us might have really unhealthy habits, but we can drag those habits to the feet of Christ. And we can say, Lord I need, I know I need you.
I don’t even know what that looks like right now. Would you provide me freedom? Would you provide me hope? Would you provide me joy and opportunity to be faithful in this right? To, to in repentance approach the Lord, and I think with algorithms, yes, they’re driving us in an, in in an, a retention format. Of trying to build habits that make them a ubiquitous part of our life. And our job is to not simply white knuckle this into control, but to prayerfully approach the Lord and say, Lord, what of this is helping me know and love you more? And one of this is a distraction. One of this is helping me parent my kids better, and one of this is causing me to be anxious, and frankly short-tempered, or to waste time.
I think those are questions that we need to intentionally, purposely answer, because if we leave it to algorithms, they’ll answer it for us. I will add one more thing. Parents, algorithms are real. They’re there to to engage in and to instruct us. And they’re doing the same thing for our kids. So, if we’re allowing our kids on the internet, we need to be in those spaces with them intentionally. Two resources for that: Bark. If you go Bark.us, they’re an amazing app. You can put on anything that can take an app. So, if it’s got cell service, it should have something like Bark. It sees… you’re not reading your kid’s diary; it sends you a Bark if like a concerning text or concerning image or a concerning search. If someone messages them or they message somebody else.
So, it’s allowing you to still be present, but it’s allowing you to trust your kid cuz I’m assuming, at this point, I’m assuming you’ve already done the, is this text safe question, right? Does it fit my child’s purpose, and does it fit our family expectations? So, assuming you’ve already done that, you have a, what I’d call a family tech framework, then you need to go into that space with them, because you love them and wanna make sure that live anonymity doesn’t take hold. And when something goes off the rails, you’re one of the first people to respond and care for them. That’s, I’ll end on that. It was a huge question about algorithm and that’s a passionate area of mine, but algorithms are real. At the end of the day, they’re only giving us what we’ve asked for, and we need to be intentional about how we handle.
Julie Lyles Carr: I love that you unpack that because I think sometimes, we almost have this view that an algorithm is some evil overlord out there, that is sucking us in, when in reality it’s simply responding to what we’re telling it. And then as you said so beautifully, it then it seeks to retain us in whatever we’ve put out there. But I think that’s one of the great first steps in taking some accountability for what we are on when it comes to social media, when it comes to using the internet, when it comes to the searches that we engage in, is what is continuing to pop up once we have done some of those searches. It is a great indicator of where we’re spending our time and Nathan, I love too, because in the world that I’ve been in, and writing Bible studies and all of that, some of the tools that I’ve really loved have been the YouVersion Bible app. A lot of us have that app on our phones. It’s a great way to be in the word and to be notified as a reminder to be in the word every day. I also love the blue letter bible.org because that is one that you can dig into all the Hebrew and all the Aramaic and all that good stuff. So, there are really some powerful tools out there that can be incredible for us, and some of those do have algorithms associated with them, but again, then we’re getting a healthier diet. Then we’re gonna be presented with things that are a little bit healthier.
Nathan, I’m so excited for you and the work that you’re doing. The website is gospeltech.net. Where else can listeners go to hear the podcast, find out more about you and your wife and the work that you’re doing? Where are some great places they can go to?
Nathan Sutherland: You can check out the podcast anywhere podcasts are streamed. So, you can do it through the Apple Podcast, through Spotify. You can go to onpurposely.com and find us through the Purposely podcast network. And you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.
We’re @lovegodusetech. We’ve been, again, so busy recently. We post basically when the podcasts arrive, and special life updates. But we are really excited to, to continue to use that tool to help families and encourage ’em on their walk too.
Julie Lyles Carr: Awesome. All right. And other one, I’m sure that Rebecca will get all of that good stuff into the show notes, so check those out. And of course, as you are being mindful listener about the way that you’re using tech, the way you’re being on the web, we sure would love to see you over on our socials. So, check out AllMomDoes on the socials. I’m Julie Lyle’s car, all the places, and I would love for you to take a snapshot of this particular episode or grab the link and send it to a friend who you know is wanting to be really mindful and thoughtful in the way that they’re engaging with technology today. And when you do that, when you share podcast episodes, it just helps so much to get the word out. It’s one of the greatest thank yous you can give us, and we’re just so honored when you do that. And I’ll see you next time on the AllMomDoes podcast.