America’s next generation is growing up in a world saturated with information and around-the-clock digital entertainment — a double-edged sword that can either draw them toward biblical hope and truth or away from it.
There was a time when children relied on their parents and the small community around them to learn about the world, but now they have access to a sea of thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. Parents must be prepared to provide wisdom and guidance on how to navigate the online world. They don’t need more knowledge; they need help to discern truth and develop a biblical worldview. They need us to be intentional and meet them where they are by providing or directing them to engaging, faith-formative, biblically sound content online.
In May 2023, a General Social Survey released data revealing that only 31% of Gen Z have total confidence in the existence of God, a big decline from that of their parents and grandparents. In a 2022 study conducted by OneHope, 67% of U.S. parents of preteens said they identify as Christian, but only 2% possess a biblical worldview. This means that many kids today are growing up in families whose parents do not align with any traditional worldview but instead come up with their own by picking and choosing what they believe. This has obvious implications for Gen Z and Gen Alpha’s faith development.
To reach today’s kids with the Gospel, we must provide faith-formative experiences in the space where these youngest members of society are most comfortable — online.
A Few Things to Note About Our Rising Next Generation
The youngest members of Generation Z and the budding Generation Alpha have a unique relationship with technology than that of their parents. If harnessed for good, their affinity for tech represents an extraordinary opportunity.
Generation Z, identified as those with birth dates between 1997 and the early 2010s, was the first generation to be labeled “digital natives.” As the offspring of the oldest Millennials and the youngest members of Gen X (the first generation to fully utilize computers for work and study), Gen Z came up during our society’s burgeoning reliance on smartphones, social media, and the internet. These teens and young adults are a driving force behind the development of new technologies and the advancement of existing ones. They’re shaping the future of education, championing social responsibility, and strengthening the gaming sector, among other cultural influences.
Meanwhile, today’s youngest children with birth years 2010 and later, also known as Generation Alpha, represent the first generation to be born entirely in the 21st century and will live their entire lives in a digitally connected world. They won’t see the latest technologies as tools or add-ons to life but instead will naturally integrate them fully into every aspect of their day. Generation Alpha has been featured on the internet their entire lives, beginning with “gender-reveal parties” thrown by their parents to their personal YouTube channels and TikTok videos they made during COVID quarantine.
Both groups will need to learn how to cope with threats to their mental health, including fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. The demographics, perhaps most impacted by the pandemic, were told to be “socially distant” from their peers and from other adults. Despite these challenges, the important thing to consider is that the online space that these new generations are so familiar with is a great mission field if we can point children to positive and productive content.
Faith Formation is Crucial
Statistics reveal that most people who decide to follow Christ do so before the age of 18. Those who obtain a solid foundation of faith from an early age are more likely to become God-fearing fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. This means that the spiritual development of our children is a paramount concern, one that we must address urgently.
Our objective should be to infuse biblical truth into a culture that is largely in opposition to it. We should see the digital universe as a vast mission field, a place where the seeds of faith can be sown, nurtured, and grown. It’s a call for innovation, creativity, and unwavering commitment to the spiritual well-being of the next generation.
This is not merely a call to action; it is a divine mission. To succeed, we need to create content that speaks to the hearts and minds of Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Games, apps, and other online entertainment can be more than just distractions; they can be powerful tools for teaching biblical values, godly character, and the importance of developing a solid foundation of faith.
Photo Courtesy: Fauxels/Pexels
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Brent Dusing is the CEO and founder of TruPlay, a gaming platform created to bring high-quality, fun and biblically-sound entertainment to audiences worldwide. Committed to seeing the betterment of children around the world, TruPlay is building games, digital comics, video content, and Web 3.0 content to bring light to a world in need of God’s love, hope and truth. For more information, visit truplaygames.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
We would do well to consider how biblical patterns might inform our contemporary actions. Read James Spencer's full article here.
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