A Biblical Command
You could spend hours and waste lots of ink trying to hash out what a parent’s role in the life of his or her child is. And while modern opinions on the subject vary greatly, three commands surface over and over again throughout the Scriptures. They are:
- Provide and Protect
- Train and Instruct
- Discipline and Admonish
I’d like to talk briefly about your role as protector and how that should play out in today’s context and culture. Obviously times have changed since the biblical authors wrote down these instructions and you won’t need to focus your time and attention protecting them from wild beasts and marauding Canaanites. But there still are evils trying to break down your door and steal your child’s attention, affections and soul.
What They Are Facing
Let me give you an example. Last week I had a conversation with an eighth grader, and he was telling me about the ever so common struggle with lust. He said, “Matt, it’s real difficult to keep my mind and thoughts pure when girls I go to school with are constantly offering to text me pictures of themselves.” And by pictures he didn’t mean of their smiling faces. (For more info on “Sexting” read this CNN article.) Here was a solid, Jesus-loving, young man, trying to glorify God with his thoughts and keep his mind pure, and he’s faced with a temptation like this. My heart broke for him and I told him he is doing the right and good thing by stiff-arming those Proverbs 5 (forbidden) women.
He doesn’t and shouldn’t be alone in this fight. How are you as parents protecting your children from such things? There’s nothing wrong with giving your kid a cell phone. It makes life and communication with them more convenient for you. But, with every freedom and privilege you put in their hands comes more responsibility for them…and for you. Do you monitor their cell phones? Do you protect them from certain evils that might come with privileges like this? They might not like it, but you’re not trying to win a popularity contest. You’re fulfilling your biblical command to protect your child.
How You Can Help
If you don’t have some type of internet monitoring software installed on your home computers, this is a must. Eleven is the average age kids stumble upon online porn, and it’s usually by accident. Here are some services out there to help you monitor what they are viewing.
And when it comes to cell phones, depending on your service provider, there are different parental control options you can activate on their plans. For example, you can lock their phone out past a certain hour at night preventing friends from texting late into the night. These services vary so you’ll have to check with your cell phone service provider. In addition to this, you should be checking your child’s cell phone use and activity. Again, they may not like it and see it as an invasion of their privacy, but you must ask yourself which is more important, protecting them or giving them privacy.
My hope is that your child will eventually see these steps as your effort to protect them from what might rob them of joy and satisfaction in the Lord. But for now it may be one of those “you’ll-thank-me-later” moves you have to make.