Let’s be honest. It isn’t easy raising children in a day and age where hundreds of thousands of dangerous images and messages are not only just a click away, but the clicks are happening on devices that our children are often carrying in their pockets. Consider these stats from CovenantEyes.com and CommonSenseMedia.com: 1 in 4 teens has been cyberbullied and only 1 in 10 tells an adult; 71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents;1 in 20 children have arranged a secret meeting with someone they met online; 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18 and nearly 80% of unwanted exposure to pornography takes place in the home.
As a parent, it is easy to get overwhelmed and to simply want to give up. But a battle rages for the hearts and minds of our children, so giving up is not an option. Instead of leaving our kids to navigate the technological landscape alone, here are 5 practical steps to help protect your children in the digital age:
- Monitor your child’s use of technology. While this might be a no-brainer, some parents are reluctant to talk to their child because it is the one area where they fear that their kids know more than they do about a subject.
- Focus on your child’s heart and not their external behavior. Rules without relationship often lead to rebellion. Focusing on our child’s external behavior, while maybe easier, does not provide the opportunity to effectively shepherd their heart.
- Begin an ongoing conversation about sex and sexuality. It is impossible to overcome culture’s daily deluge of messages about sex and sexuality with one “talk.” In order to teach them a Biblical worldview about sex, we must start the conversation early and have it often.
- Get to know the parents of your children’s friends. Getting on the same page with other parents helps to expand the protection that you can offer your children and can help decrease the chance of exposure to harmful material.
- Be “safe” for your children. Don’t freak out. Providing an environment where they come to you with questions or even mistakes is vitally important.
-Traylor & Melody Lovvorn
Founders of Birmingham-based Undone Redone and the on line resource www.mysecurefamily.com. Facilitators of Free, My Secure Family Workshop, September 11 at Riverchase United Methodist/The Well, 2-5pm, 987-4030. Nursery is FREE but please make reservation with firstname.lastname@example.org