Often as leaders of youth groups, we feel a bit intimidated by kids and their “knowledge” of technology.  This article will help to ease that fear as well as acknowledge the fact that you cannot underestimate their understanding of technology.  There are some links in the article just in case you are not in the loop on the technology I mention.

I want to start with what young people are capable of, and what most any of them will know about technology and the internet.  I have witnessed a young man turn a Nintendo DS system into a color paint sketch pad compatible with Windows and other software. Doesn’t sound like a big deal at first, but think about it. He had to reprogram the hardware, and then upload his work to another computer.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_DS

I also witnessed a Nintendo Wii remote and a projector become a makeshift smart board.  Again, if you don’t know what any of these items are, click the links below to read up on them.  By taking the parts of the Wii remote that control motion sensors and wiring them to a simple overhead projector, this youth could perform all the basic functions of a smart board.  That really is amazing ingenuity and skill.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wii_Remote   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_board

Now if you know anything about these technologies and how they were manipulated, you understand that these are pretty impressive feats.  But that doesn’t mean young people know everything about technology.  Not by a long shot.  The difference is this–they “know how to use technology” better than most adults, while most adults are better at “operating technology”.  Youth know how to use something, but they don’t know how it works.  They know how to tab through the internet without using a mouse at all.  They can surf and download and chat well up to five times faster than adults can.  What most of them can’t do is program HTML and other website building codes, or operate Publisher to create and produce for their own purposes.

About a month ago at a youth event, my wireless mouse stopped working.  I knew I could get through the rest of the evening by using commands on the keyboard.  A few minutes into my slow paced presentation, one of my kids stepped forward and showed me a faster way to type through the internet commands that I needed.  I learned from him, and respected him for teaching the teacher something.  A few weeks down the road our website crashed.  All the kids were sending me messages on my phone, “we can’t log on,” etc.  I explained to them that the coding was messed up and the sync was off.  They had no idea what I meant.  So I taught them about how their website works, and they had a new kind of respect for me and for knowledge they didn’t have.

I promise any youth director this–there are kids in your program who know a lot more than you do about technology.  I also promise you that you know many things they don’t. Together you can share information that will only improve your use of technology, and improve your relationships with your group.

In closing, the same could be said of Scripture.  You are trained to know the Word and teach it. That doesn’t mean the kids can’t teach you something.  Whether it is it technology or scripture, never be intimidated by someone younger than you, and never let your pride get in the way of learning.