Big Picture

Kids addicted to their screens 7 hours a day? CEF offers an abundance of healthy alternatives

‘Children are viewing immoral and inappropriate content that channels bad influences. Parents can counter these bad influences by taking advantage of CEF’s Gospel-focused materials: U-Nite ministries, Good News Clubs® and 5-Day Clubs®’

For Immediate Release

April 15, 2024

ST. LOUIS Research shows that children are on their phones and other screens an average of seven hours a day, rising to nine hours when they become teenagers.

“The effects of children constantly on screens can have negative impacts on their overall development including reduced attention spans, emotional distress, isolation, and overwhelming pressure to conform to worldly values,” said Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) Acting Vice President of Administration Fred Pry.

Children are viewing immoral and inappropriate content that channels bad influences. Parents can counter these bad influences by taking advantage of CEF’s Gospel-focused materials: U-Nite ministries, Good News Clubs® and 5-Day Clubs®,” Pry said. “This is no time to throw up our hands and cede our next generation to the powerful secular temptations of electronic media. Not when we have so many wonderful alternatives to choose from.”

CEF offers these “Gospel-Focused Healthy Alternatives to Screen Time for Kids,” providing strategies for countering the screen-centered culture:

1. Focus on Relationship

Humans were created to need eye contact, personal interaction, and feelings of genuine connection, and love. That’s why technology addiction in children is so prevalent, as social media often tries to simulate this need for human connection. Besides showing a personal interest in the child, introduce them to healthy alternatives to screen time for kids by playing a board game with them, listening to a Gospel-focused audiobook together while drawing, or capturing their focus with a science experiment — anything that utilizes personal interaction.

2. Emphasize Truth

Finding healthy alternatives to screen time for kids emphasizes the importance of truth. When kids hear the truth of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit within them will move in response and confirm it as good. Kids need answers to big questions like “Why am I here?” “Why do bad things happen?” and “What do I do with guilty feelings?” They need to find the hope and new life that comes only through belief in Jesus Christ.

Screens can help temporarily distract children from the deep pull of those questions, but it will never satisfy them the way God does. Exposing them to the truth of the Gospel will only make this more apparent to them.

3. Experience Nature

You’ll never go wrong by exploring nature with them and showing them how a loving, intelligent designer gave us all that we have — including their own amazing body and life. Even just five minutes with an insect on a window ledge provides an opportunity to pull kids away from screens and into God’s wonderful world of creation — getting kids into nature is one of the best healthy alternatives to screen time for kids.

4. Enjoy Activities

Whether it’s engaging in team sports or other activities with a church group, using an active game to help review a Bible lesson, or simply taking a walk outside for a bit to appreciate God’s creation around us, encouraging kids to get up and move can be a big help in cutting down screen time. Kids are active, growing creatures. It’s good for them to move around and play, especially after being sedentary in front of a screen all day.

5. Use CEF’s Healthy Alternatives

Find or start a Good News Clubs® or summer 5-Day Clubs® near you for an after-school program designed to help kids experience relationships, the truth of the Gospel, God’s wonderful creation, and all the physical activity of playing games with their friends as they learn about Jesus. Each club includes a clear presentation of the Gospel and an opportunity for children to trust the Lord Jesus as Savior.

“In clubs and meetings, kids have a short attention span,” a CEF missionary from Armenia shared. “The world is dulling their attention and minds. Before starting our camp ministry, we told a child he would not be allowed to use his phone during camp, and he responded with ‘I will die without my phone.’ The answer to a statement like that for me is an enthusiastic ‘I’m going to show you a whole other exciting world!’”

“And that’s exactly how CEF approaches the challenge,” Pry said. “We strive for excellence and age-appropriate content in everything we do. Boredom is not an option.”

Child Evangelism Fellowship, which was founded 87 years ago, has been establishing Good News Clubs® in countries around the world for decades. Clubs are thriving worldwide, in countries including Australia, Cambodia, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda.

In 2022, through CEF’s combined ministries, more than 19.5 million children worldwide heard the Good News. More than 439,000 teachers were trained around the world.

For more CEF news, see the ministry’s latest edition of the online magazine Impact.

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is an international, nonprofit, Christian ministry that has been dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church since 1937. CEF is located in all 50 American states and in most countries around the world, with over 3,500 paid staff and tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.


To interview a representative from Child Evangelism Fellowship, contact [email protected], Beth Bogucki, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Daniel Moyer, ext. 104.

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