Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Are Your Kids Up To?

I'd like to say that I'm always aware of what my kids are doing, seeing, and hearing, but truth be told, that's an impossibility in this day and age. With the continual advancement in technology, it is getting harder and harder for parents to oversee who their children are talking, texting, emailing, facebooking, myspacing, and instant messaging to. As if parenting weren't already the most difficult job, we parents now have to find time to check our child's My Space, their phones, their ipods, their email, their web history, and so on. I'm sure I'm missing things even in that list, but what is a parent to do?  There simply are not enough hours in the day for us to keep on top of all those avenues. 

I have read Vicki Courtney's Logged on and Tuned Out book, and it was a wonderful resource that I highly recommend, but even if I could keep up with all of these technologies and what my child is doing with them, I cannot patrol each of their friends phones and computers.  What is downloaded onto ipods and shown during break and lunch at junior highs and high schools would appall most people if they knew about it.  What once could only be obtained through sneaky store expeditions and dark alleys is now being poured right into our home and lives.  

Even if I keep an eye on where my children are physically (which I do), they are at risk of being in danger because of the technology today that is present even in my own home.  I can install filters, I can monitor computer use, I can check phone records and texts, and I can log onto their myspace page using their passwords, and I could still miss what's really going on.  Face it, our kids can hide just about anything from us if they want to and they are intelligent enough to just create other profiles, email accounts, etc.... if they want to keep things from us.  I know that, but I still ask and check.  

I find this extremely disturbing, and I am genuinely concerned for my children.  In truth, I wonder how any child today can remain pure in thought and deed.  Most of our children will know more about pornography, sexual acts and fantasies, illicit drug use, and gambling by the time they graduate from school than most of us probably know right now.  

I don't intend to be all doom and gloom, but my heart is aching over what is infiltrating our children's minds, hearts, and lives.   The video below is worth taking the time to watch if you have children, and it is probably something you should have your older children watch with you.  Children and teenagers often don't have the mental reasoning skills to understand how some of the choices they make today may have long lasting impacts on their lives.  The photos they posted on their myspace could keep them from getting a job someday.  That provocative photo sent to a friend as a joke could be sent to every student's phone by lunch break.  

A huge problem right now is cyber-bullying.  This was a heartbreaking issue for some friends of ours, and we saw first hand the damage it can do.  If you thought kids could be ruthless with their words in person, you should read what they are able to come up with and perpetuate via technology.   Absolute lies are spread around (and you can bet they are not little, nice white lies either), and photos that may not even by your child can be photo-shopped to look like your child engaged in various positions and acts.  How very sad is that?  This is a very real problem, and if you don't think so, just start asking some students about it.

Below is a video worth taking the time to watch.  Something that seemed so little, so inconsequential, and so private ended up becoming very public and costing a beautiful young girl her life.  I am heartbroken, and I hope you will continually lift our young people up before the Lord in prayer.  If possible, befriend our youth and take an interest in them.  Recognize their value and speak that to them.  Provide a safe place for them to turn to in time of crisis or fear.  Our young people need us to stand in the gap for them, to protect them, and to fight for their right to be raised without fear and filth.

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