Mormon Channel Launches Tech Savvy
By Carolyn Carter, Church News and Events
Mormon Channel, an online station of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently launched a new program about technology. Tech Savvy is a 30-minute program airing every other week. As the program’s name implies, Tech Savvy showcases popular technologies; it also teaches families how to integrate them in effective, wholesome ways.
Elisa Scharton, the host of Tech Savvy, explains: “We want to talk about healthy ways to use technology and provide information on how people can use it for good. We want to empower both members of the Church and members of the larger community to feel confident sharing feelings about faith in a … way that would help start conversations.”
As technology continues to grow and affect all aspects of life, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are giving strong warnings about the vices technology and the Internet can bring, but they are also encouraging the use of technology to share the gospel. In a general conference address titled “Answers to Life’s Questions,” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The computer, television, satellite, microchip, and even the telephone, all can bless and enhance our lives—or can make them miserable” (Ensign, May 1995, 24).
To explore ways that technology might “bless and enhance” one’s life rather than destroy it, Tech Savvy will feature a variety of guests—both experts in the technology field and the everyday people who are using the technology—and cover a variety of topics (doing family history in the tech era, using Facebook and Twitter to share gospel messages, setting up YouTube securities so families can find more edifying content, building positive relationships though blogging, etc.). For instance, the first Tech Savvy episode (“All Things Apps,” launched on April 28) is a basic mobile apps how-to, featuring app developer Jay McFarland and Veronica Johnson, an online assistance company owner.
Because teenagers are major technology users, one of the main goals of Tech Savvy is to reach out to teens, said Coreena Dibb, the program’s producer. “We want to talk about how teens can use integrity with the technology they have and how they can stand up for truth and righteousness with the things they’re finding on the Internet,” Sister Dibb said. “There are really great teens out there who demonstrate integrity while using technology, and we want to explore that more.”
While the program appears on Mormon Channel, which originates from Salt Lake City, Utah, the program reaches beyond the LDS community to all those seeking to find wholesome ways to use technology in their homes. “Technology is part of our children’s lives, and we want to feel motivated and empowered to set up boundaries, to teach our children balance,” Sister Scharton said. “This goes across the board for people of our faith and not of our faith.”
“As we make better choices with technology, we keep our families away from the harm and destruction that is happening because of the Internet,” Sister Dibb said. “There is so much good out there. At Mormon Channel, our main goal is to reach out to people and help them know there’s good content out there—content that’s shareable so we can reach other people and help them come unto Jesus Christ.”
Tech Savvy episodes will stream from Mormon Channel’s Tech Savvy page in English every other Saturday at 3:00 p.m. mountain daylight time. The podcast and video excerpts of each episode are also available for download there.