One-on-one communication is a lost art, and looking a person in the eye seems to be a thing of the past. It is a sad by-product of our digital world that children are seeing images and reading content that even the most mature of eyes should not view. This issue is aggravated by a lack of parental oversight at worst, or naivety at best. Either way, parents need to step up our game and prepare for the impact that the changing face of technology is having on our children.
“I used to have a slightly different mindset about this, but technology and the ever-increasing speed of life require parents who are not only aware but also skilled in the difficulties and opportunities presented to the family in today’s modern world. If not, then they may end up asking their eight-year-old how he accessed that inappropriate content on the Web, and could he please block himself (or herself) from any further inappropriate activity or content.” ~Craig Jutila, author of Faith and the Modern Family
Every home is different, and there is no definitive way to approach topics like digital media, but parents should establish boundaries in order to make their home a safer place. If you look on Craig Jutila’s website, you will find a number of helpful resources addressing a variety of related issues. For example, an excellent article for parents of teenagers is “Sexting: A Digital Topic to Talk About with Your Teen“. While I do not yet have teenagers, I am not blind to what it going on with this generation of young adults, and it is heartbreaking to think of the ways they are being exploited. As a parent of young children, much of my focus is wrapped up in sexual predators and how to best teach my children on an age-appropriate level about a very real and very sensitive topic.
As Christians, our desire to show grace and see the best in others can lead us to be too trusting. Discernment is a gift, and we should judge what comes into the lives of our children. Whether we decide a certain website or television channel is okay, or whether we think our children are educated on the topic of predators, we must not become lax in educating ourselves and our children. Stonebriar makes it a point to educate parents and invites families to get involved, ask questions, and be authentic. Only God has all the answers, but He has given us dedicated leaders who are not blind to the issues facing today’s family. You are encouraged to reach out to Pastor Dave or any of the staff with tough or seemingly taboo topics. If you like to sit back and soak in the information from a distance, make it a point to attend the Straight Talk classes. Faith and the Modern Family by Craig Jutila will be utilized this Fall, and you can download the first chapter for free on his website.
This world is moving at a rapid pace, and one can only imagine where technology will take us tomorrow. I remember when cell phones first came out, with the big carrying case and cord attached. And internet? We had a class dedicated to showing us how to use e-mail. Like it or not, the insta-everything digital landscape is the new normal. As our children grow up, let us make certain they grow up seeing us being authentic. We cannot expect more of them than we are willing to be ourselves. Turn off the phone when you sit down for dinner. Stop posting pictures of every moment, and watch out for the sites you peruse and topics which grab your attention. Be present, engaged, and proactive as you teach your children in this digital age. They are looking up to us, so we must keep looking to Jesus.