Parenting and Technology in 2013
Colossians 3:17: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.January 2013
In this article:
- You should make a plan for dealing with the dangers technology presents.
- Social media age guidelines should be followed and modified for your family’s purposes.
- Being lost on the internet can be more dangerous for children than being lost in a large city.
- Striving to be with you children on the internet should be a priority to learn together.
- Seek out resources and make a plan.
It is my hope that your family has an amazing 2013 as God guides you on the paths He has already prepared for you. In this coming year, I plan to use this section of the newsletter to help parents be aware of tools and practices that can help keep their family’s net life safe and God pleasing.
Over the past couple of months, I have been updating Trinity’s online presence, both through our websites and through our social media outlets. Check out the websites at trinitylutheran.org and trinityvikings.org, our Facebook page at facebook.com/trinitytoledo and our Twitter page at twitter.com/trinitytoledo to see what is new. It is my hope that these resources can connect our community to Christ, inform our members and families about events, and encourage us in our daily walk in this world.
One challenge that faces us as the body of Christ is that of protecting ourselves and our children from the sinful side of the internet. There are obvious culprits that we should be ardently avoiding such as internet pornography, but there are also dangers and traps that our children are easily snared in. The answer is not found in avoiding technology altogether. The answer is found in awareness. Parents need to understand the tools that their children can access. Do you know if the Christmas gifts your children received can access the internet? A good rule of thumb is that if it connects to your home’s wireless network you need to have a monitoring plan and use policy in place. You child could literally have the best and the worst of the world at their fingertips.
The internet is something that will not go away and is certainly not something that children should learn alone. It is my advice to parents that they honor the guidelines of sites for the sign up age for their children. For example Facebook does not allow anyone under the age of 13 to have an account. This is easily and sometimes unknown to the parents, circumvented, yet it should definitely be followed. But that does not mean that at age 13 you let your child loose on the internet. That would be very harmful.
People have used the analogy of a large city when talking about parenting and the internet. You would not let your 13 or even 17 year old child wander the streets of New York City without first informing them about safety. You would ensure your child has street smarts, common sense and basic safety skills among other things. The same should be true, if not more so for the internet. You should not leave your child alone on the internet. You should go with them. What that looks like will vary and will change.
In many cases this will mean learning with them. Facebook is changing every day. Just this past week Facebook released new privacy policies and there was a big hubbub in the news as people realized that Instagram owns the pictures that have had filters applied to them. It is impossible to stay up on the latest dangers, trends and challenges that come at us endlessly. Just like it is impossible to shield your children from every skinned knee, bully, bad grade, natural disaster… It is also impossible to ensure your child doesn’t come across pornography, profanity, malware, slanderous, dishonest internet content when using the internet.
Again, just as the answer is not avoiding technology altogether, the alternative is not to abandon all awareness and control of technology. This article might have created more questions than answers for you. If you have not given much thought to your parenting strategy and technology, then take some time to do some research. You can visit ryanloves.katikleimola.com/parentingtech to find some further resources. Check back next month for some more ideas and tips on safeguarding your family.
Peace in Christ,
In the comments below, let me know what topics you would like to see covered in the coming months.