Yesterday we discussed areas where children are using media heavily – this includes cell phones, texting, the internet, facebook, twitter, youtube, iPods, video games and the television.
All of these media outlets or amoral – they are neither good nor bad – it’s the use of them that determines their morality. This is the lesson our children must learn.
As moms, we must train our children to recognize the good use and the harmful use of media. How you may ask? Here’s a few of my thoughts – please add to them in the comments section:
1. Boundaries. When the item comes into the home for the first time – set boundaries.
For example, the cell phone will charge in the kitchen each night – where mom and dad have access to everything that has happened on the phone during the day. This avoids the phone being used at all hours of the night for secret temptations.
Another example – video games – set a timer. It’s so inconvenient but how far are we willing to go to keep from raising lazy children? It’s worth it.
iPods – have them get permission before downloading any songs period. Screen their music and help them make wise decisions. If there is a certain song they like that you think is unhealthy – talk about it.
Television – block channels or hours of the day when they are not to be watching.
Computers – keep them in a central location in the home where sneaking would be difficult – ie. the kitchen. My sister has an automatic shut down on her computer – from midnight until morning it can’t be turned on without a code that only she knows.
2. Prepare to be unpopular with your child. If you set the above boundaries – be prepared for some battles. It’s easiest to have no boundaries at all. But you know better than your children all the dangers. You will have to be strong, consistent, gentle in your explanations and prayful as you guide your children.
3. Don’t be afraid to snoop. Okay – I already know that there are a host of moms who really think this is a bad idea – you think it will ruin your relationship with your children right? NOPE – let your children know in advance that you will be overseeing their activity on media ie. snooping. It should be no secret to your children that you are aware of what they are doing – this will keep them from feeling violated – you will not secretly snoop – you will openly oversee their activity because you love them and want to protect and guide them.
My parents did all of the above during my youth. They set boundaries on music, movies, tv, friendships, books and magazines. They were very unpopular for their boundaries. None of my friends had as strict of boundaries as my parents had (both in my public school and in my youth group.) I cried at times, complained, fought back, and mouthed off. My parents stood their ground – in love. And I am SO glad they did! (Thanks Mom and Dad! You rock!)
The key is they did this IN LOVE. My parents talked with me about my choices, showed me in God’s word principles that dictated our choices, and guided me into truth lovingly and gently.
I was able to receive their boundaries because of 2 things:
1. I had been loved with an unconditional, gentle, and forgiving love. My parents listened and listened and listened to my heart – and then after all their listening – they guided my heart. We must have our children’s heart if we are going to lead them into truth. This listening starts the day they are born. Do not be the distracted mom on your computer (preaching at myself here) – listen to your children – listening equals love.
2. They taught me to fear God. This was key to my obedience of their boundaries. From a young age my parents taught me how to have a quiet time. I developed my own walk with God by 4th grade. The more I obeyed, the more sensitive I was to detecting things that were holy and unholy in the media. The more I was able to detect holy and unholy things, the more discerning I became. The more discerning I became, the more wise I became until I came to a point of not needing my parents guidance. I naturally knew what was appropriate and inappropriate and began discerning for myself (as my sisters can attest to - I was a real pest to my big sisters as they tried to enjoy the radio – I was known for saying “that song is baaaaaaad“. My poor sisters Thanks for putting up with me girlies! You rock too!)
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
The child who is loved and has a healthy fear of God will eventually be able to monitor their own media. A child who daily is in God’s word and desires to please him will be sensitive to the junk media offers and will practice self-control. So we must parent toward this goal. To raise children who love and fear God and who have their own personal walk with God.
Don’t forget to visit the link-ups from part 1! I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on this!