Moms, technology is here to stay, whether we like it or not! We can’t ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist…We need to know what our kids are watching, playing, what social media they’re on and how to actively be on guard with technology from a Christian perspective, based on parenting from the truth of God’s Word!
In part 1 today, we will be covering: Communication and Devices.
This is the first of a 2 part series and my goal is not to tell you what to do, but to give you some tools and information, so YOU can make the best decisions for your family.
Technology isn’t going anywhere, although sometimes I wish it would slow down! I think about when I was younger with land line phones and dial-up internet…and now the internet is everywhere we go on smart phones and tablets! It may be more convenient, but I would never say we are better off now with screens constantly at our fingertips…and our children’s fingertips as well.
I’m going to start with sharing 3 categories. Pick the category where you and your family fall in technology:
- The first category is the technology rejectors—if you fall in this category, you are purposefully trying to keep technology from your home, so that it can’t corrupt you and your family. This is not a bad goal for sure, but it’s also not very realistic. Since eventually, our kids will leave the nest and be shocked by technology they encounter and likely naive about—leading them into some deep waters of potential danger and sin.
- The second category—and probably the more likely one for most of you— is the technology “ignorance is bliss” category—you use technology but it’s not a big deal. You know there are bad things out there, but your theory is, if you don’t go looking for it or bring it into your home, then it won’t find you….which is just not true. You likely use technology for the basics and are unaware of how much knowledge your kids actually have about technology…even in the young elementary ages.
I read this quote recently and it is so true:
“Many parents either don’t care what their children are watching or listening to as long as it makes their lives easier or they subscribe to the motto that “ignorance is bliss,” evidently hoping to avoid confrontation or correction with their kids, much like wanting to avoid going to dentist in case they find a cavity…”Adrian Rogers, Family Survival in an X-rated World
Please hear me—Using an iPad for movie streaming in the car on a long trip or maybe you have an older child that uses a laptop for school or has approved social media and apps on a cell phone….things like this are all fine as long as you are always willing to say “no” or take away apps or devices away if needed. Be prepared, because confrontation will sometime have to happen to end up being a part of category 3 today, which is my goal for everyone…
3. The 3rd category is moving from the first two categories, to becoming active guarders with technology, especially when if comes to your kids! Understanding technology is not going anywhere, so we best gear up and wisely be ready for it!
If you do this, then you will be able to access all the benefits and convenience of technology, while always being on guard and actively seeking the latest knowledge. This way you can make sure that you are both honoring the Lord and protecting your kids in your parenting.
Let’s talk about how to ALL move into this category 3 today…
You may say, Mallory, I am already there, everything is password protected and locked down—but still finish reading today, because you may find you are not as “On guard” and knowledgable as you think! I have learned a lot personally, while writinging and studying for this that I know, will help me be a better mom in this department, and I hope it will do the same for you too!
Our first focus is the importance of COMMUNICATION with your kids about technology:
(Side Note: Be sure to tune back in for part two in two weeks, where I’ll will be covering social media and messaging—and I will warn you that one will be a bit heavier, but so necessary for us to know as moms with kids of all ages!)
Let’s start with one of our founding verses here at Faithful 31 Moms:
Proverbs 31:26 —“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household.”
Moms, we are responsible (as well as your husband if you are married) to give faithful instruction and watch over the affairs of our homes. God has given our babies to us to help grow and teach them about what Jesus did for them first and foremost, but also how to live in this world and not be of this world. To teach them how to handle real life temptations and handle things the world in throwing their way and technology will be one of the biggest avenues for this…
Why should you communicate with your kids about technology?
Because they need to know the WHY in your reason for doing all of this, so that technology becomes a safe zone to talk about and have open communication about in your home. This needs to start even when they are little, like explaining to your toddler why they can’t take your phone without asking or have too much iPad time…
Then as they get a little older, keep the line of communication open and honest, like sharing: there can be bad people playing video games online that you don’t know, so we aren’t going to do that—or why they can’t watch YouTube unsupervised—or why they can’t be in the dark with a device—or why they don’t have internet access on their tablet—or why your 4 year old can’t search the kid’s profile on Disney+ without supervision.
Conversations like these examples above, will both help them know that you care about them and their safety, and it will also satisfy their craving to ask the famous question “WHY?”
When it comes to your rules with technology, helping them further develop healthy boundaries and how to spot red flags that can easily come up with ever-changing technology and feeling comfortable to always come talk to you about the things that they are encountering…before going to a friend or anyone else.
If you set these healthy boundaries and have open communication, then they will be more likely to be on guard themselves, even when you aren’t with them…like at school, or at a friend’s house or even while they are watching something in the same room as you and something questionable comes up. This will set them up to be safe and successful even when they leave your house one day…
So first things first…plan to have a conversation with your kids or maybe re-have this conversation about technology safety and rules with your kids—because it NEEDS to be an ongoing thing thing.
As technology changes or as your child is growing older and changing, especially with the way the world is putting sexuality agendas on kids movies and pornography can creep into so many apps and commercials that bypass filters—even when it’s awkward with some of this stuff—we must keep the conversation going with them, so they know they can always come to you with their questions and be honest. This may need to be different, individual conversations, if you have kids of multiple ages or interests in what they are using technology for…
Our second focus for today, is your kid’s DEVICES:
Since our babies are coming out of the womb learning how to scroll our smart phones, sometimes before they can even talk, this is a BIG one!
So I will break this down for moms of Toddlers to preteens below. The reason I’m not covering the teen years, is really because most of the things we are talking about today, are crucial to start doing at a young age before they’ve seen too much or have experienced too much freedom with their devices and are likely deeply immersed in social media.
Pastor Adrian Rogers said this years ago, when referring technology, and I still think it hold a lot of truth:
“You will never be able to teach your kids to refuse trash until you first teach them to choose treasure.”Adrian Rogers
However, it is NEVER too late moms to set new boundaries, moms! You are the rule-maker. It doesn’t matter if they are 4 or 14.
This is why those conversations and communication we just covered is so important, but we must also stay active in monitoring their devices! Know what their little eyes are watching and to teach them how to use technology for good and not evil. Then, if trash comes up, they will know to come to you and not their friends or anyone else!
When monitoring devices…
This can be tough and require some research, because there is NO possible way I can cover it all in today’s blog! But I will warn you up front, to be ready for some push back from your kids if this is new for your family or you decide to implement some of the things I will share with you today…
Mom Remember this:
Devices and technology are NOT the enemy…people who are using them to distort the truth and promote evil are the problem!
So how can we protect our kids from this?
Now I know a lot of parents struggle to know when to give their kids iPads, phones and other devices….what age is the right age? How much time should be allowed on it? All of those questions…
One mom—Britney—recently messaged me on instagram about struggling with this very thing…
Ultimately that must be decided by you…I can’t tell you an absolute here. I wish it was that easy, but there were no cell phones or internet or Xboxes in the Bible, so we are just going to have to depend on the wisdom that we get from reading God’s Word and then decide what is best for our families.
However, I will share with you a few things that our family does when it comes to devices:
I have a 1st and a 4th grader, so I may be further along than some of you with younger kids…and for those of you with preteens that already have cell phones, smart watches, etc.— I have some great mentors in my life, and I will share what they have done, that my husband and I plan to also do with our boys in the future.
First up, Video Games:
When it comes to gaming systems (like the Nintendo Switch for example, because this is what we have at our house) we keep things pretty simple: Mariocart, Mario world, lego games, etc.
You likely already know this, but games have a rating just like movies that you should pay attention too. And if you aren’t a gamer (like me!) or you have never heard of a game before, be sure to do your homework on the rating and asking trusted friends you trust about amount of violence it involves…sometimes even the “E” for everyone…doesn’t mean its okay for your house!
And a big thing to look out for is the games that encourage online play with others—like Fortnite or Minecraft, even Animal crossing (can be a younger kids game, but still encourages online play with other.) We do not allow online games at our house, and I recommend that for you as well..
Why is that you might ask?
The best example I can give is this: You wouldn’t let a stranger drive up to your house or walk up to your kids at the park and start playing ball with them would you?
That’s creepy, right?! Well, in the same way, you never know who is on the other side of that screen or that headset that a lot of kids wear to play online games to interact. Yes I know they want to play with their friends, but kids have no business doing this or monitoring this on their own. It can be really dangerous…
Additionally when it comes to app games…ones you have downloaded on your cell phone or the iPad to play when you are waiting at a restaurant or something like that, I encourage you to know and research all of your gaming apps before giving your kids access….and I’m not talking about solitaire here!
For example, my youngest son, begged me to put a popular racing game on my phone called Subway Surfer on my phone. At the time, my sister had it on hers and some of my friends had it as well, so he had played it several times. So one day when we were waiting a long time at a restaurant, I downloaded it for him to play without researching it…
Pretty soon, he began to ask for my phone all the time, wanting to play this game! Realizing he was getting obsessed and I knew little to nothing about this game, concerned me! So I did some research, and learned that as you play the game, you can earn new characters and bnefits, etc…pretty standard for games…
But as I read further, I learned the game had just added a new asexual character added named Andy and since then, based on my research, they have added several non-binary characters and now they have added a trans character named Cleo…What in the world?! Y’all—this is on a simple game that tons of kids play!
And while I’m on this subject…Be sure to review your streaming apps as well on your family TV and devices!
Just because your kids only have access to the “kids profile” for movies and shows, does NOT make it safe!
These gaming and film companies agenda to distort sexuality and purity, is NOT just happening with teens and grownups—they know the best way to convince people of this “being normal” is to start small with young kids—like adding it to children’s cartoons, etc. Then kids grow up with it and grow immune to it, and that’s just scary and never something you and I had to worry about as kids watching Bugs Bunny or Beauty and the Beast growing up…you know?!
At our house we have actually eliminated Netflix and some other streaming apps because of this very thing. We do still have Disney+ and it’s far from perfect, but our kids know the rule: They can’t watch something new without asking first!
We do have YouTube access on our family TV in the living room b/c they like to watch Dude Perfect (which I recommend for any families with boys) but only if you are watching it with them, because there are some pretty questionable commercials that can pop up quickly on YouTube or really any internet TV or game access. (Update to this section: Dude Perfect now has their own app with all of their videos, so you can get off of YouTube! These guys are Christians and on their app can totally control ALL commercials–which are all just for popular boy toys like Mario, Hot Wheels, etc. and totally appropriate.)
REMEMBER: You can decide moms, what apps to give them access to! You make the rules and pay for the devices and services, not your child…
We do not allow our boys to have access to the YouTube app or an internet browser app on their tablet. Only school approved apps for learning and then some downloaded movies are allowed.
And they can’t go download or open a new app because everything is locked down and password protected in the settings of the device. A password they do not know. It’s actually quite simple to do this! Check out this video to learn how that my husband helped me make!
This way your kids have to come ask you to download any app, and then you can decide if the answer is yes or no. If it’s a yes, then you can enter the password. My husband even gets a notification on his phone when their iPad has an app downloaded for extra accountability. So check out that video…I think it will be helpful!
My final advice for today is this…
Even though we just have a iPad at home for now with our boys ages…or maybe you have several kids in different age categories and only some have devices or cell phones and some don’t…or maybe you are just planning for the future—every family is different…BUT Here is my best advice for any and every device that will not change with age or updates in technology…
Remember: Nothing good happens in the dark!
The devil does his most sneaky work in the night hours when nobody is watching! This goes back to having those conversations with your kids about the WHY. Explain to them, that every night, the cell phone, the iPad or whatever it is…never stays in their room. NO MATTER WHAT. Not for studying. Not if they are sick. NOT if they have a friend over. NEVER!
Always have them turn it in to the same place. For example: charging in the kitchen or in a basket or somewhere that you set in your home that stays the same everyday.
We will talk about why this is so important more next episode…BUT it is an ABSOLUTE MUST! I cannot stress this enough! And start this while they are young. You never have to apologize for this or for getting on their devices to check around or saying no to an app or game they are asking for.
We MUST do this to protect them and honor what the Lord has asked of us to raise them with faithful instruction!
I hope this has been helpful today! Please be sure to Check out that video that my husband helped me make to learn how to properly set up and lock down your kid’s devices.
Also, check out our homepage right now (or later our resources page if you come to this blog at a later time) for a free download of 100 verses to guard your family’s heart! This is just timeless Biblical truth great for Scripture writing or memorizing in your home together as a family. We must guard our hearts and fill our minds with wisdom and share that with our kids, so we can be ready for the attacks this world will bring.
Be sure to check back in 2 weeks for PART 2 dealing with social media and messaging!
Thanks so much for listening today! Please be sure to share this episode with a mom friend and follow me on Instagram @faithful31moms. If you have been blessed by this LWF ministry and would like give, there will be a link in the show notes. Thanks again for listening and remember to keep up the good work of pointing your kid to Jesus!
Check out our F31 Moms YOU TUBE Channel for that video on how to lock down your devices securely for kids.
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