A few weeks ago on Facebook, a friend posted a link to this really thought provoking article which has to do with the problems associated with kid/teen tech and how we as parents need to be careful that our children aren’t falling prey to these dangers. It got me thinking back to when my kids became teenagers and they wanted to have their very own electronic tablets. The introduction of these devices into our home caused my husband and I as parents to have to decide how we were going to oversee their usage.
I will say that teen tech is an area that makes me a little uncomfortable because it isn’t cut and dry- there isn’t any perfect answer that will erase all the potential dangers. Also, since the internet is fairly new, we can’t draw off of the experience we had as teenagers and what our parents did to manage it.
The fact remains: we can avoid the subject or we can prayerfully seek a way to try to protect our family.
When my triplets turned 13 and bought tablets for their birthday, I sought advice by asking a number of Christian parents how they manage teen tech in their homes. I was shocked that nearly every one of them said they didn’t know what to do and didn’t really have a plan! While the internet can be a good, helpful tool, it can also be a pipeline for a lot of really bad things to get into our homes. I knew we had to put some parameters in place to protect our family.
Our Plan For Taming Teen Tech:
#1 Love God
Our church hosted a meeting for parents last summer where I had the opportunity to ask Pastor Charlie Clark III for his advice on the subject of teen tech. He said, “The only thing that will trump technology is loving God.”
He reminded us that the Bible says:
For the love of Christ constraineth us… (2 Corinithians 5:14)
He said that our children will either live for God because they love God, or they will not. Also, he told us that we really need to work on our kids’ will so they won’t want to choose the wrong way. He reminded us that if our children don’t want to follow our way/rules with technology, we can take the tech devices away. “Amputate” was the word he used.
We need to be diligent in counseling our kids and helping to cultivate that love for God that will help them to make right choices. Bro. Charlie said we will probably have to have discussions with our kids about subjects we never imagined we would due to the reality of the world we live in today.
#2 Common Sense Rules
I’ve told my kids over and over that even if they aren’t looking for “junk”, junk will find them. That’s why we have to take measures in a practical sense in order to decrease the risk.
- We do not allow electronics to be used in bedrooms. They are only allowed in the common living spaces of our home.
- When we as parents go to bed at night, the electronics get shut off.
#3 We Use Internet Filtering & Monitoring
When I was asking other Christian parents how they manage their teens’ tech a friend told me they use an internet filtering/monitoring/blocking service called Covenant Eyes. (All links to Covenant Eyes on this blog are affiliate links which means that when you visit Covenant Eyes’ website by clicking a link and sign up for service, you will receive a free month of service- yay!- and I will receive a small commission at NO additional cost to you.)
Now that we’ve been using Covenant Eyes for a couple of years, I will share with you what I like about the service:
- Excellent Customer Service- I’m not super tech-savvy, so it’s helpful that people who are can be called on the phone and they will walk me through anything I need a little help with. Any time I’ve ever called Covenant Eyes, they’ve been really helpful. I believe this is a ministry for many of the employees- they believe in internet safety!
- All Devices Are Covered- The monthly service fee includes all of your computers, tablets, and cell phones!
- App Blocking- I like that I can block apps on my teens’ tablets. So, for instance, when my son wants to watch YouTube, he has to ask me to open that app. I have blocked certain games in the past too if they were being played for too many minutes (or hours!)
- Detailed Reports- Each week, we receive reports via email that show any flagged searches or blocked websites by an individual user. We also can see how many minutes any of the apps were used. This is accountability!
Having a filtering/monitoring/blocking service in place sends a message to our kids that we are serious about using the internet responsibly! The combination of cultivating a love for God (first and foremost!), putting common sense rules in place, and utilizing an affordable internet filtering/monitoring/blocking service is how I recommend Christian parents fight for their kids’ purity in regards to internet usage.
If you’d like to give Covenant Eyes’ service a try, you will receive a free month of service by clicking one of the links on this blog!
Please share with me in the comments below how you are dealing with the issue of teen tech in your home!