Friday, December 07, 2012
We live in an ever-changing world and it seems with technology it happens at even a more rapid pace, but the problem is what kind of affect is it having on our children and on our families?
This issue has been on my mind for awhile and my concern is, I see way too many kids both pre-teen and teens with way too much "freedom" and "access" to all these avenues of technology and the bigger problem is their is no boundaries, structure, rules, or guidance in these areas by many parents across our world.
We take for granted because so many of us adults/parents use smart phones, laptops, ipads, text, internet, ipods, etc...that we forget about the freedom our children have in their hands. Easy access to the world wide web and unlimited resources for innapropriate youtube videos, pornography, predators, R-rated things, and that's just the internet. What about cell phones where they have their own cell phones and they have unlimited freedom and no supervision, to text, call, talk, internet access 24/7?
Same goes with video games, television, movies, and music. Many kids watch and listen to whatever they want whether it is age appropriate or not? Many parents do not realize or do not care that all these things do have parental ratings and warnings on them to show you what is the content, if we'd only take the time to look.
My point? Parents we need to wake up, educate ourselves, and set clear boundaries and educate our children. First, the internet, cell phones and other gadgets and devices are PRIVILEGE not required. Parents you pay the bills and you need to set clear boundaries and guard your children with these devices. You need to view your kids phone, email, facebook, texts, at anytime and check them regularly and monitor them. It's your right or they lose them. You are the parent and set the rules, but you got to enforce them and be consistent. This is loving your kid, not being their friend or giving them all these things with no supervision. We only get one shot at parenting our kids. If your kids don't cooperate then they don't need a cell phones, facebook, computer access, or any other devices.
Secondly, you need to set clear boundaires and structure. I would advise heavily to not let your kids have private computers or internet in their bedrooms, you are setting your kids up for failure with unlimited freedom and access. There are also settings where you can turn off interenet at certain times or limit them. You also would be wise to have your kids keep their cell phones in a public place like a dining room or kitchen so that they do not have their phones in their rooms at night or 24/7. Again, you are the parent, you pay for the phone, set rules when you give it/buy it and you can loosen up over time as they age, mature, or show responsibility. Same goes for TV, Movies, etc...set locks on your tv's so they can't watch certain channels, tv shows, or movies that are not appropriate for them. Do not buy or allow others to buy movies, video games, or music that is innappropriate for them due to langauge, sex, violence etc.
Thirdly, do not feel like you are a horrible parent because you've not done these things up until this point or do not feel you are a horrible parent for enforcing rules or boundaries for your kids, they need them. Our most important thing to do as parents is to love and protect our kids. We live in an age, where one of the best ways we can protect our kids is by limiting, monitoring, and setting clear boundaries on all this High-tech stuff and media that our kids are exposed to that we were not, and protect them from others and mostly themselves. Most kids are growing, maturing, changing, and they haven't fully developed good reasoning skills and are still impulsive, or following peer pressure, or even self-centered, and it's our job to not create or give them opportunities to mess up by giving them so much freedom with cell phones, media, or computers that they really cause a lot of issues for themselves and you as parents.
Children have plenty of opportunity to make mistakes and bad choices without parents being a willing party to them. When you give your kid unlimited useage and unsupervised access to cell phones, computers, media, etc...with no boundaries, clear rules, limits, or structure you are setting both yourself and your kid up for failure. We all need to do a better job of educating ourselves and our children on how to use media, technology, and communication appropriately and responsibly and it starts at home.
We have rules and boundaries in our family and if they don't honor them, they lose the privilege. As this world continues to be High-tech remember that all these things we give our kids are wants not needs and you are the parent and are in control of what they have and how much freedom them have, so let's all be wise so our kids grow up being responsible with technology and know how to use it in the right way. Technology is so easily available now and is part of our culture and we take it for granted, but we still need to teach and monitor our children, or we will be dealing with lots of problems in the future.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life