Raising children in today’s cyber world is getting more difficult with each passing day. When my children first started school—many years ago—our biggest concerns were dirty language and bullying.
Today, kids are exposed to everything from drugs to pornography, even in elementary school. I see third graders with cell phones and kids even younger who have unlimited access to the internet. Many parents are so busy trying to keep up with jobs and social commitments they don’t always know where their children are, who they’re with, or what they’re doing.
Even pre-school children are faced with digital dangers. When my youngest granddaughter was three, she could operate a cell phone, iPad, and TV remote as well as an adult. One day while I was playing with her two older sisters, Charli slipped out of the room unnoticed. I found her sprawled on the floor in her bedroom deeply engrossed in something on her daddy’s iPad.
Charli loves cartoons, especially My Little Pony. At first glance, that’s what I thought she was watching. When I knelt down for a closer inspection, there were evil faces on the ponies. Suddenly, the screen filled with skeletons, and the evil ponies started chopping open the heads of other ponies with an ax and “eating their brains.”
I quickly scooped up the iPad and said, “Sweetie, I don’t think this is something you need to be watching.” Fortunately, there was no resistance. I think she was as confused—not to mention shocked—about what she was seeing as I was. When I told her mother about the video, she said her daughter must have grabbed the iPad when no one was looking. It seems they had been watching the real My Little Pony videos earlier that day, and YouTube was easily accessible to little fingers.
The psalmist said I will set nothing wicked before my eyes (Psalm 101:3 NKJV). In this generation, driven by the media and high tech gadgets of all shapes and sizes, that’s a tall order. Commercials are sensual or downright crude and annoying. Previews that are supposed to be “approved for all audiences” are, most times, anything but. And the internet is a wonderful, necessary, terrifying place—especially for those too young to know how to navigate it and bypass all the junk.
It’s amazing how bright our children are today. It seems they come out of the womb ready to face this new world of advanced technology that is their future. Our job as parents and grandparents is to teach them to use this technology wisely to protect their little minds from all manner of filth and corruption.
Even for an adult, one wrong click of the mouse can open up ads and websites that are pure garbage, burning images and information into the subconscious mind that are almost impossible to eliminate. The psalmist also said I will behave wisely in a perfect way (Psalm 101:2 NKJV). That takes a decision and a conscious effort. A good motto for us would be: As for me and my mouse … we will serve the Lord.
Technology, as I said, is a wonderful tool and something we cannot do without. The key is using it wisely for the right purposes and teaching our children how to do the same.