Media and Our Parenting ~ Part 2

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.

 

Walk with the King!

Don’t forget to visit the link-ups from part 1!  I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on this!

Media and Our Parenting-Part 1~ Link-Up

It’s Media Monday!  So far in our series, we have explored Media and Our Walk with God and Media and Our Marriages. Today we are going to focus on the effects of Media on Our Parenting.

We can walk into any gym or field of a child’s athletic game and find half the parents staring at their phones~texting, tweeting, facebooking. I’ll admit – I’m guilty too. I take my iPad to my son’s Karate class and I fit right in. All the parents are distant and distracted. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a child on the ground crying and I’ve scanned the row of moms wondering – where’s his mom? While the child cries – it feels like years pass until the distracted parent comes forward to comfort their child. The shells of parents are there but their minds are far from present.

While it’s easy to identify distant and distracted parents, this series has made me take a hard look at myself. I am guilty of checking my email way too often, being distracted by thoughts about “on-line drama”, and making my children wait patiently while I finish reading or writing something on-line.

My time spent on media IS affecting my parenting.  My children’s time spent on media IS affecting my parenting. Generation X is now raising Generation iY. The landscape for parenting has changed but we must remember
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

My children attended a virtual home school for the last two years so they are very computer savvy. It’s not uncommon to see my children on an iPad, DS, wii, computer or watching television. While they do none of these things excessively, they are a part of our daily lives and they seem innately capable of navigating their way through this maze of technology. 

Here’s what generation iY are into:

1.  Cell phones -  Most teens would say a cell phone is vital to their lives.  If your teen/tween doesn’t have one – most likely they are begging for one   We can get in touch with our children when we need to –  which is a great perk - but it comes at the danger of access to p*rn in their pocket, children texting rather than communicating with the people right next to them, children becoming distant and distracted from real life,  s*xting (that’s sending an inappropriate photo of themselves to someone else), and texting and driving ~ just to name a few!

2.  Social Media- this includes Facebook, MySpace, blogs and Twitter.   It’s social – they can connect with their friends and  follow good spiritual role models on-line. But if they are in the wrong crowd on social media, it  can have a greater influence in a child’s thinking than their parents or  church.  Communication is fast.  Our kids can write at a rapid pace using abbreviations and acronyms to communicate with brevity.  It is very hard for parents to monitor this 24/7 access to peers, strangers and celebrity influences.

3.  Music - this includes iTunes and Youtube.  Music has always been a prime influence on the youth.  The music of the youth shapes and molds their thinking and now it is at a touch of their fingertips!  They can download a song in an instant.  If they are making wise choices – this is a blessing.  But if they are prone to having an appetite for the world’s pleasures this can be destructive. 

4.  Television - even after all the on-line access kids have - television still is a heavy influence.  Some homes have nearly 900 channels.  Shows such as Jersey Shore feed our children junk food for the mind.

5. Video Games – a majority of parents would say – “we know that this is a massive time waster for our children – but isn’t it wonderful how it keeps them busy, out of trouble and manageable!”  I am not anti-video games - but I do fear it makes children lazy.  Also, as boys grow older their appetite for violence and s*xual content in their games can grow as their tolerance levels grow. 

My conclusions:

1.  We must be vigilant and aware of every form of media our children are involved in. If we don’t protect them, who will?  It is our JOB as parents to know what our children are doing.  Who are their friends on-line?  What music choices are they making?  Are they sneaking late at night in their beds on their cell phone and iPods?  What songs are on their iPod?  What channels need blocked on the television?  Do we have filters on our internet?  What video games are they playing?. 

2.  Know your child’s weak spot? Is it gossip - watch the social media and texting?  Is it the desire for s*xual content – check their phones for s*xting, their on-line browsing history for p*rn sites, and their youtube choices?  Is it anger and a thirst for violence?  Monitor their video games and music on their iPod.  Is it loneliness?  Be sure they aren’t connecting with strangers ie. predators – to fill a void.  Screen your children’s weak spots and MONITOR HEAVILY their media activities.

3.  Redeem media.  Train your children to use all these things for God’s glory.  Encourage them to text a new friend from church or their brothers and sisters.  Encourage them to put a verse or christian youtube on their facebook page.  Have them invite non-Christian friends over to play video games to build a deeper relationship and pray for ways to witness to them.  Help them start a blog where they share the light of Jesus.  Encourage them to follow pastors and well known Christian writers on twitter so they can daily be spiritually encouraged by them.

We cannot monitor our children perfectly…and so this is where child training comes into play.  We must help our children to have a Godly conscience that is convicted when they go out of bounds with media.

Tomorrow I will post Part 2 of Media and Our Parenting.  I will cover my thoughts on how to train our children to handle media with wisdom and discernment.

But first, I want to hear your thoughts!

1. If you are a blogger and you have decided to join this series by blogging each week, please place the Media Mondays button somewhere on your blog so your readers can find us here and then link-up below. (if for some reason the code is not working for you – please – right click – save as – the Media Mondays button and link it to this post)

2.If you are not a blogger, join the discussion in the comment section! I look foward to hearing your thoughts.

3. If you use Facebook or Twitter, I want to encourage you to copy and paste this link from the browser on your status update and ask your friends to join the discussion.

Walk with the King!

5 Ways Media Could Be Affecting Your Marriage

Keith and I were in Hilton Head, SC  7 years ago.  We had left our son with my parents to “get away” and enjoy each other BUT the Blackberry got in the way.  He spent quite a bit of time on it – so I decided one day at lunch to take his picture – since it was becoming a memory!  You will notice in the first picture - two sandwiches and in the second, only one.  I am guessing that many of you have experienced this – your husband may be close in proximity but his mind is distant because of technology.

I remember when my husband brought home his first laptop from work – it was over 9 years ago -before we had kids. He would sit beside me on the couch and tap tap tap away. I grew to hate the sound that his fingers made on the keys…the tap tap tap sound was like finger nails on a chalk board to me. Why? Because the laptop was competing with me for my husband’s attention!

Then came the blackberry only a year or two later. It was great because my husband could get all his email on it. Other guys warned my husband that the blackberry was an addictive device like crack cocaine- they called it the Crackberry! It was the omnipresence of the phone that was hard for me to deal with. It rang at the dinner table, in the middle of the night, in church, in the car while we were driving, and during family events. Now I was competing with a laptop AND a Blackberry!

Then our world changed and I got a laptop (and later a blackberry too!)! Now we could sit beside each other on our laptops! The tapping no longer bothered me because I was tapping now too! I entered the world of blogging, facebook, twitter, youtube, and skype. I loved all the connections and the sky was the limit to my learning – from recipes to decorating, to theology and motherhood – the web world fascinated me!

Has all this technology been a source of contention in OUR marriage? YES!  A thousand times yes.  We have time and time again revisited the conversation of how much is too much or when is the right and wrong time to be using it.

It is hard for me to remember back to the simple life – when the only media source we had in our apartment as newlyweds was the television! And it can be hard to navigate because there’s no role models on how to manage these things. I can’t say “well my mom and dad did it this way” because they didn’t have this technology.  Now we both have iPads and iPods – new technology taking more of our attention.  We have to daily manage our use of these items because we are aware that we can connect all day with the outer world while becoming distant with the person sitting right beside us!

I have said before that technology is amoral.  In and of itself it is neither good nor evil but rather the way you use it determines it’s morality.  I have benefited greatly spiritually from all the media resources I use daily but I’ve compiled a list of pitfalls that I see for marriage and media:

   1. Time – we must be aware of how much time we spend on-line versus making sure our husband’s needs are met.  Especially the bedroom needs…just sayin lol!

2. Beware of Inappropriate relationships on-line. 

 “Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8) I read recently on mashable that over 20% of divorces now site the use of Facebook as one of the reasons for their divorce – usually it led to an affair.  Though my marriage is strong, I want in no way to leave a cracked door for Satan, so I have chosen to delete all men (except relatives) from my friend list on Facebook.  This is a personal conviction and I’m not saying all women should do this – but if you are currently talking to an ex-boyfriend on-line or flirting with a man other than your husband stop – and take whatever measure you must to break off any innappropriate relationships. 

3. Disrespectful talk about husbands on-line. 

When I see it – I cringe.   We must carefully choose our words when referencing our husbands on-line.  Because Facebook is so public we must be careful to not complain, criticize, and vent about our husbands for the whole world to see.  I have innocently shared details about my husband without his permission and upset him.   Once I shared something I thought was funny that happened to him – and let’s just say – he did NOT think it was funny!  Oops!   We live and we learn and we do better next time.  It’s important to listen to our husband’s feelings and respect them.  Remember God’s word says: “let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Eph. 5:33)  Our talk about our husbands on-line should stand out and be different than the worlds!  No husband bashing – rather use the platform to sing his praises!!!

4.  Sadly the Internet has introduced p*rn into Christian homes that just 10 years ago no one had access to.

 I have not experienced this in my marriage – but if you are a wife in this position I have compiled a list of 11 resources for wives whose husbands are addicted to p*rn.

5. Looking at other’s lives and growing jealous, discouraged or discontent. 

I should probably write an entire blog post on just this one topic because it is a serious problem that social media has created for women.  While it is fabulous to connect – it can grieve a woman who is tight on money to see someone else’s vacation pictures.   For a wife whose husband never takes her out to dinner, it can be painful to hear about date nights for other couples.  It can create comparisons and a “the grass is greener” elsewhere mentality which is poison to your marriage!   We can wrongly believe that another husband is better than our own by comparing them spiritually, romantically, financially or physically.  All men are flawed (just as we are), all marriages are flawed – do not be deceived into believing that the grass is greener – rather water and fertilize your own lawn – make your grass greener!

So I’ve shared the negatives – but I know there are many positives.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on media and your marriage.  I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section  or if you are a blogger – write a post about Media and Your Marriage, include the Media Mondays button and then link up below.  I look forward to hearing from you all and I will be visiting as many link-ups as I can (within my 3 hours a day limit :)  )

 

Walk with the King!

I apologize that I am having some button trouble – for some reason the code is not working? I’m still learning wordpress and am not sure why when I plug in the code it doesn’t work? argh!  Anyhow, if you would copy/save as the logo and link it to Women Living Well – I’d greatly appreciate it.

For the Media Mondays Weekly Topic List click here - next Monday we will be discussing Media and Our Parenting.

iPad, iPod, iPhone or The Great I AM?

As I embark on this 8 week series titled “Media Mondays“, I have committed to logging my hours on the computer.  For the next 8 weeks, I want to live consciously.  I want to be aware of how many hours I spend each day on the computer and what in the world am I doing on here?  lol!   I have a goal of no more than 3 hours a day on-line, which includes drafting my blog posts, social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blog hopping, watching Youtubes or answering emails.  

As I step back and look at the media saturated world we live in, I see a commonality.  We are a distracted generation.  Beeps and chimes make us respond  like Pavlov’s dogs!  No matter where we are – in the grocery store, church, the middle of dinner  or even driving – these chimes make us pick up our cell phone or run to our computer.  We hope that something there will make us laugh, give us meaning, makes us feel loved or be that really important piece of information that changes our lives. 

Media is a-moral.  In and of itself – it is neither good nor evil.  It is our use of it that determines it’s morality.  Because there is no mention of this technology in the Bible we must leave room for each believer to discern and follow their convictions on their use of media.

But let me mention a few concerns I have.

1.  The iPad, iPod, and iPhone can distract us away from the Great I AM.  For nearly 20 years, I have woken early in the morning for prayer and Bible meditation – but over the last few years I feel this tug toward my computer in the mornings.  I have trouble being still and lingering over the tall glass of refreshing water that the Living Word is!   Rather than sipping it slowly, meditating, praying it over my family and friends, I gulp it down because I can hear the chimes – and I know over night things have happened on-line.  Once I am on-line the private meditation and conversation that I have with the Great I Am, comes to an end. 

 
2.  While God speaks to me on-line through Godly men and women – our generation suffers from information overload. As we seek wisdom on-line (and what a joy it is to connect with amazing men and women of faith!) may we never exchange wisdom for information.  Unless we take the time to really contemplate what we are learning, write it down, pray over it, and live it out – much of the information we read will be lost quickly out of our minds as we continue to read more information.  We need time for pause, processing and serious consideration.  This may mean reading less on-line or choosing just a few voices we listen to so we can take the time to live out what we have learned.

3.  We are a speedy and efficient generation.  Multi-tasking has become a virtue.  But when it comes to our quiet time this is NOT a time to be efficient!  We do not want to speed through a 2 minute devotional.  We need to give God quality and quantity time.

 

Tim Challies writes in The Next Story:
We need to be Christians who take time to give sustained focus to one thing – the worship of the living God.  He does not call us to sudy his Word or to worship him more efficiently.  God calls us to read his Word meditatively, to give it the time and attention it needs – the attention we need – if the Word is to pierce “to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentinos of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

4.  Beware – though media seems free it costs you something precious – TIME!  Media is designed to pull you in – to make you feel some sort of emotion  – “buy me, try me, watch me“.  It persuades us.  It molds us.  It changes our thinking.  Let me be honest – It has caused a time famine in my life. And this baffles me because everything around me is SO efficient.  My dishwasher washes my dishes while my laundry machines wash and dry my clothes.  My car gets me places quickly and my grocery store places chicken in plastic wrap and fruits and vegetables galor can be purchased (rather than me having to raise the chickens or fruit/vegetables). So why do I have this famine of time?  I can only attribute it to the time I’ve spent on media – hence the reason that I will be logging my hours for the next 8 weeks.

Have we forgotten the power of the “i” – not the iPad, iPhone or iPod but of the GREAT I AM?

Jesus Said:

I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  John 6:35ESV

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14;6

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

 

Could our generation be missing out on time with the Great I AM because of the distractions from the iPads, iPods and iPhones? 

 

What is the draw to media for you?  Is it for information, wisdom, tips and tutorials, entertainment, connection or other reasons?  And what good or bad effects has it had on your walk with God?

Join the discussion: I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section  or if you are a blogger – write a post about Media and Your Walk With God, include the Media Mondays button and then link up below.  I look forward to hearing from you all and I will be visiting as many link-ups as I can (within my 3 hours a day limit :) )

Walk with the King!

For the Media Mondays Weekly Topic List click here - next Monday we will be discussing Media and Our Marriages.