Thursday, June 29, 2017

Boundaries for Technology: From Babies to Beyond

“She carefully watches everything in her household…” – Proverbs 31:27

Yesterday, Tracy Levinson, author of unashamed: candid conversations about dating, love, nakedness and faith, started to teach us about technology and our children. Today, she finishes up with practical tips.

Technology is a stranger in the hands of your kids, so at what age is your child able to handle this “stranger” in your home?

Technology wants to accompany them at all hours and go with them to the bathroom, their bedroom, at the dinner table, outside, in the car. It’s awake when you are asleep.

I see technology as a freight train coming at you as a parent. Yet, I am also very confident in the goodness, grace and brilliance of our God, and His ability to give us wisdom as we navigate our world. In addition to this, I agree with God that the Spirit within a believer, no matter the age, is far greater than any challenge in this world. (1 John 4:4) We can do this parents!

Here is my advice to parents:

  • Babies: “Experts” consider the stage from birth to about three years old as the the “critical period.” Baby neural networks, located in the brain’s frontal lobe are super sensitive. This is where these cutie -patootie’s decode information and comprehend social interactions. Baby seems so smart. With the swipe of a tiny finger they are rapidly spoon-fed dynamic colors, shapes, sound effects and words.  Here is the deal:  this process can make their cognitive muscles lazy, because it does most of the work for them. Even worse, this instant gratification process produces glee-like dopamine which eerily mimics the brain process of a drug or porn user. I am not trying to freak you out. (Never-mind, that’s not true. I admit it, I am sorta trying to freak you out.) Don’t you agree that we should proceed in these unchartered technological waters with great caution, especially with our little people?
  • It is best to start intervening in your child’s social media world early. Get them accustomed to you lovingly having access to their phone. A basket during meals is a good idea. Phone curfews are wise. It is challenging, but not impossible to set guidelines at a later date. After all, you do pay the bill. If the student resists and the device isn’t easily handed over, texting privileges are removed for a season. But remember, this is motivated by love, not a legalistic regime. Over time, students should be given more freedom, as they demonstrate maturity.
  • Find a way to respectfully spy on your kid. If a parent is cool, kind and calm about it, knowing what is going on in their child’s social media account is a form of protection and love.
  • In general, ask questions and listen to your child. Refrain from interrupting our kids when they are trying to share their stories. Try not to take over the conversations. The Holy Spirit is sufficiently capable of assisting us in this.
  • I often share my own experience that relates to theirs, without sharing unnecessary details. 
  • Clarify the difference between punishment and consequences, motivated by love. Discipline and punishment are two different things. They have different goals. Discipline’s goal is to protect and teach. Punishment’s goal is to cast judgment or condemnation. God disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6).
  • Patiently help your kids understand what is undergirding every boundary and patiently work through any resistance.
  • Keep assuring your children that they are loved, and that no matter what they have done in the past, that you believe that they are capable of making great decisions.

“Mistakes are an opportunity for grace” – tracy

ACRONYMS to be aware of – Here are a few; google them.

• PIR = Parent in room

• 9 = Parent watching

• POS = Parent over shoulder

• WTTP = Want to trade pictures? 

• GNOC = Get naked on camera

• 53X = Sex

• 420 / 710 = Marijuana

• ASL = Age/sex/location

• KMS = kill myself

EMOJIS:

frog = ugly

sexual = peach, eggplant, raindrops, banana

Footprints = beer

Gas pump + leaves = smoke marijuana

(Reference: Emojipedia, Emoji Dictionary)

CHECK OUT THESE HELPFUL SITES:

• www.pluggedin.com – reviews movies, TV,&  video games

• Google SafeSearch

• www.enough.org

FILTERS:

• Safe Eyes

• Besecure

  • Covenant Eye
  •  Net Nanny

ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO AVOID PICTURES:

• in bedrooms

• in bathrooms

• school/uniforms or house numbers

• wait to post pictures after an event

• avoid sharing copyrighted material

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. Therefore, giving yourself lots of grace is important for you. Don’t beat yourself up if you have allowed too much technology to dominate your parenting. For sure, there is “no condemnation” for any of us in Christ. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt in your parenting career either. Please don’t take my musings above as any sort of law or test for your parenting report card. There is no score card. My hope is that you will be encouraged and inspired to take on this wild horse of technology and tame it for your individual family, with the Lord’s inspiration and strength!

Tracy Levinson, best selling author of unashamed-candid conversations about dating, love, nakedness & faith   www.tracylevinson.com

Lynn

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