This year we'll have a teenager. Inconceivable, I know. As the kids have grown older, we have realized that they need a cell phone so they can call us from sports practices, club meetings, and church activities. The problem is that with all of the new technology, there comes a whole new host of challenges; challenges that I NEVER had to deal with when I was a teenager.
I thank my lucky stars that I grew up before the era of smart phones and cyber space. I'm grateful there was no Facebook or Instagram to capture my immaturity for all the world to see. It grieves my heart to see young girls posting inappropriate pictures on the web. I wince when I read the status updates from teenagers who lack self control. Where are their mothers? There was no cyber bullying when I was in school. People didn't base their self-worth on how many "likes" they got on their posts, or how many "followers" they had. It takes a tremendously grounded young person with a deep sense of value to look beyond the shallowness of social media and remember that their worth isn't tied to their online popularity.
I often hear of teens sending pictures and texts to the person they are dating, only to have them forwarded to everyone in school the minute that they break up. It seems like there is a much higher price to pay for kids' lack of discretion, today. It's terrifying. With the push of a button, people have full access to the internet through their smart phones. We are losing an entire generation of young men to internet pornography addiction. The statistics are mind-boggling!
What can we do to help our kids navigate all of this technology without stumbling into a myriad of dangers?
For starters, we pray for them, and educate them, and remind them of their value through Christ. We have an ongoing dialogue about safety, choices, and consequences. We realize that, inevitably, they will have to face some of these challenges on their own. The internet offers many wonderful resources, fun ways to keep in touch with family and friends, and a world of knowledge at our fingertips. Our hope is that we will have instilled enough sense into our kids that when they are grown, they can enjoy the benefits of technology while avoiding the pitfalls that so many young people fall victim to, today. We've definitely got our work cut out for us.
In the mean time, we got them a simple phone that has no access to the internet, no apps, and no texts. They have just enough buttons to call their mother. As far as I'm concerned, that's all the mobile technology that they need for now.
Stepping off my soap box,