When your children are small, it seems you’re always on guard for their safety. They could climb on something and fall, or burn their hands on the hot stove, or slip on a wet floor and hit their head. It’s a full-time job just keeping them safe. But as they grow older, it gets a lot easier. You can talk to them and help them understand how to be careful on their own. Oh, you still watch out for them, but you know they are now concerned for their own safety, as well.
It used to be, in my opinion, that it got easier as kids became teens. They fix their own snacks, dress themselves, take themselves to the bathroom, and are generally pretty careful. (Okay, not teenage boys. They are so not careful!)
But parenting has become very different in the 21st century. In fact, it’s rapidly changing with each year. I’ve identified the culprit: it’s the internet. I can see the differences because my five children are very spread apart in age. My grown children experienced a different society than the one my teenagers do now.
While the internet originally grew slowly from MySpace and Napster to Facebook and iTunes, it is now moving at warp speed like a spilled glitter container until you can’t find anything that it hasn’t touched. Our world is smaller. Influences have multiplied. Everyone you know is affected. I am not exaggerating!
Ideas that your child might have encountered in the university or the workplace (when they were older and more mature) are now presented to them in every manner through tablets, smart phones, and the new TV. It’s all at their fingertips. And don’t think for a second that withholding technology from your kids is the answer. Their friends will have it anyway.
Cultural Marxism, deconstruction, sexual deviancy in a hundred forms, blurring the lines between Christianity and the New Age, mental illness as a trend…there is so much happening so fast that steals our children’s lives. They are enticed by the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The destruction is real, and they miss the abundant life that comes with following Jesus.
We cannot be the “old people” who don’t understand technology. We must treat this generation the way we did our toddlers. Know the dangers. Be on guard. Protect your children. It’s like a game of tech-whack-a-mole and we must play.
The dangers that come into our homes through those glowing screens are much worse than the burned little fingers or the bump on the head. They can affect eternity, and they can affect years and years of life on earth. We are still seeing this play out. There’s not much history to go on for us to look back and say, “Oh, here’s what happens with too much internet influence.” We are the pioneers in this parenting stage.
And friends, taking your kids to church and even homeschooling them is not enough (you read that right). If the screens in your home are glowing, the influence is already happening.
Related post: Be the Gatekeeper of your child’s mind
So what can a parent do? We cannot bury our heads in the sand. We cannot say, “Our family is immune.” No family is immune. We need to educate ourselves on the technology of the age as well as the worldviews that accompany it. Yes, you do have time for this. I’ll share some places to start:
Mama Bear Apologetics is a great place to get your feet wet in the different worldviews bombarding our families. Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality is the book you need for navigating the awful trends targeting our kids from the LGBTQ+ movement. These books are great on their own, and even better with a group of friends as a weekly study.
On the sexuality note, I highly recommend Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcy. It’s important for parents to read, and if you have teens, they need to read it. My older son read it at about 16 and said it was the best book he ever read.
Talk to your kids about the term “desensitization.” Teach them that repeated exposure to something breaks down our resistance until it becomes normal and acceptable. This includes sins and worldviews. Watching YouTubers or listening to podcasts that normalize secular worldviews and sins is like slow drips of water on a rock, patiently eroding its size and strength. Be aware yourself, and teach your children to be aware when they are exposing themselves repeatedly to ideas, actions, and words against what they know to be true.
One resource that is great for parents and teens is the Alisa Childers podcast. She has a ministry strong in biblical truths that are affected by the culture, including deconstruction, the New Age, biblical authority, and a lot more. Her books are all excellent. Watch the podcast on YouTube or listen on various podcast platforms. Her books are available in print and audio versions. Make use of them! Additionally, she partners with Natasha Crain on a podcast for parents about worldview for children.
For an introductory explanation on Cultural Marxism, start with this YouTube video by Voddie Baucham. He is one of the most outspoken on this topic in Christian circles. A non-Christian source that is very educational is James Lindsay. He has written several books, including Race Marxism and The Marxification of Education, that expose the history of this movement that is taking over education, corporate America, and society.
In regards to technology for children, that’s tricky. Like I said above, we are the pioneers in this parenting stage. We’re still figuring it out, and our children are the guinea pigs. We must choose the wisest path for our families, and the jury is still out on what that is. Total deprivation of technology will only last as long as your children do not have a job or a driver’s license. Otherwise, they are unable to communicate with their bosses, their teams, coaches, instructors, and even you. Look around you: every church, company, and homeschool group utilizes apps for communication. It’s kind of hard to be a productive member of society and remain in the dark ages.
There are special phones created to protect our kids from the dangers of the internet. Many parents utilize Gabb or Bark phones for their limited access to the web. But as you will eventually learn, no device or plan is foolproof. There seems to be a widespread addictive nature that comes with smartphone use, and it often affects kids and teens who never disobeyed or rebelled against your rules before. I highly recommend joining the Facebook group Parenting in a Tech World. You’ll quickly see all the possible workarounds to parental controls on any device you can imagine, and if you’re like me, you’ll see that this technology has a strange power that tempts children to disobey like nothing else. Follow Officer Gomez on Facebook, too, if you don’t already.
Let’s be clear: no parental control app is perfect. While I do recommend applying some form of technical control to block harmful websites or monitor screen time, I want to make sure you understand that none of these will do your job for you. The best parental control is still the parent. Monitor with your eyes, and teach with conversation. Don’t assume all is well because you set up alerts and have received none.
Train them up
You can’t hide your children from the current technology. It’s how our world operates now. We have a full-time responsibility to observe, train, discuss, rinse, and repeat. It’s kind of constant. But don’t be naive about the power this technology holds over kids and teens. Don’t use the “sink or swim” mentality. Pray for wisdom. Stay educated and informed. Be on guard.
And more than ever, now is the time to saturate your children in the scriptures. Now is the time to build a strong foundation with your kids in a biblical worldview. Teach them logic (we like this course). Teach them how to spot logical fallacies. Teach them how to identify other worldviews. Read the Bible with your children daily. Encourage them as they grow to study the Bible independently, too. Talk about everything. Pray for them and with them.
Their hearts, minds, and souls absolutely depend on your resolve.