If you have spent any time online, you would have read or seen much worrying content in what children might view, from suicide instructions in Youtube Kids clips to paedophiles trawling children’s games to groom them.
I am sure there are a lot more. The evil one is very busy and seems to be on a roll these days. Aided by the world wide web, he’s trying to get our children every which way he can. And because it gets really overwhelming, it is really easy to slip into parenting from a place of fear instead of faith.
How can we parent in faith, and not fear, when the world seems bent on attacking our children?
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Option 1: Place Parental Controls and Bans
When you have really young children and are the main caregiver, it is a lot easier to wield parental control. We can just remove smartphones and tablets from them, install parental controls, or limit screen times.
All these are good and necessary actions to take. But is that the way to go? What happens when our children grow up and go to school? How do we check what their friends, cousins, and kids in the neighbourhood are showing them on their smartphones when they are in school, on the school bus, or at the playground?
Also, banning our kids from using these devices or assessing the internet can lead to sneakiness and resentment in our children. Their need to fit in and be in the know is great, especially when they hit the pre-teen and teenage years.
While a knee-jerk reaction may be to ban all devices and install parental controls over devices, it will not protect our children from the darkness of this world.
Besides, what happens when they are able to outsmart all the parental controls we place on their devices? Remember, they are digital natives, we are not. They are way more savvy with technology than we are.
On top of that, schools increasingly require our children to be connected—especially now, with home-based schooling becoming a part of the educational landscape. Almost no one arranges for outings without the use of a smartphone.
While a knee-jerk reaction may be to ban all devices and install parental controls over devices, it will not protect our children from the darkness of this world. In fact, I think parental controls on devices can give us a false sense of security. We might be tempted to think that because the controls are in place, we can be on “cruise control” mode.
But we must not. This is not just a physical battle, but also a spiritual one. The evil one wants to destroy our children because he hates children. He has been trying to kill them since he knew that his doom would be at the hands of the Son of God.
Option 2: Worry . . . or Just Give Up
We can scare and worry ourselves to death if we try to stay on top of all the new games, shows, social media, and apps that come out every day. We can become so paranoid that we slap down rules and more rules. We can check their phones and computers constantly after they go to sleep, or even while they are using it. We can draw up agreements with them. And we can install parental controls on each and every device.
Or, we can veer to the other extreme—just give up and be resigned to the fact that they will be exposed to all those bad stuff anyway.
But what else can we do?
The Best Thing to Do
I believe that we have to do our part.
In this battle with online influences, what we need are practical and sensible actions such as keeping communication lines open, even when our children shut us out. We need to talk to our children about keeping safe online, no matter how awkward. Share relevant articles and news with them, and be on the constant lookout for any change in behaviour patterns. We can put in parental controls, where appropriate.
But the best thing we can do, which I remind myself on a regular basis, is . . . to PRAY.
It sounds clichéd. But prayer is the only weapon strong enough to tear down the strongholds of the enemy seeking to destroy our children and our families. And as we pray, we need to remember that we are not battling the enemy alone.
Why? Because God is in control.
Prayer is the only weapon strong enough to tear down the strongholds of the enemy seeking to destroy our children and our families.
He who created our children knows them best. And He loves them best. Yes, bad things will and do happen; I am no idealist. But worrying does not help a bit. Praying, however, does.
Let’s pray for our kids, that . . .
- Godly friends and mentors will come around them
- They will harken to the still, small voice of God, and not harden their hearts against the promptings of the Holy Spirit
- A hedge of protection surrounds them
We need to pray for ourselves, too . . .
- To let go and trust God
- To pray against the spirit of fear that wants to take our peace and our eyes off Jesus
- For wisdom to know how to parent our kids—when to reach out and when to pull back, and for God to reveal to us what He needs us to know and how to deal with it.
We can parent in faith and not fear, taking our concerns and worries to the Lord, trusting that He loves our children more than we can.
May we draw on the truth of Isaiah 26:3:
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
This article was originally published in www.buildingupmoms.com. Adapted with permission.