The public service announcement of yesteryear was, ‘It’s 10 PM, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?’ Our concerns are a little different today. Maybe something like, ‘It’s Another Day, Do You Know What Your Children Are Doing Online?’ As a family we had our heels firmly in the ground as the pull of the digital toys began to reach towards us. Our oldest daughter was beginning Junior High and we had managed to duck and dodge the issue for a long time. Although the majority of her peers were already fully equipped with a plethora of digital devices, we felt like we were nestled deeply in our storm shelter fully protected from the outside world.
The first hint of some required change came with the Junior High orientation we attended. There we began to hear how deeply the digital change had taken root in our suburban culture. They told us their textbooks were digital, their assignments would be digital, and even a significant amount of the in-class work would be digital. The first day of school confirmed all of this to be true. We had to make a change in our approach. She acquired an iPod Touch.
As the school year has now come to a close, we have found all of the initial ideas were true. She needed to get online to access her textbooks, she regularly had classroom assignments that required internet searching, and she was also required to watch YouTube videos necessary to complete assignments. The entrance of that device into our home has probably changed our parenting more than any other reality we have experienced.
Although not as savvy as some, as parents we knew the power of that device. I strongly believe this is one of the greatest delusions amidst our culture. As parents we believe our kids are good kids and they make good choices. We think they are safe under our supervision within our home or they are safely enjoying time at a friend’s house who has very nice parents with whom you have spoken on multiple occasions. We have bought into a lie that these ideas equate to protection and safety for our children because many of us grew up in a day where that was, in fact, the case.
What if it was possible for more bullying, more sexually inappropriate activity, more abusive behavior and relationships to happen in the quiet confines of your home? If you think that I am trying to scare you here then you might be catching on a bit. Honestly, I would prefer to call it a reality check for us as parents. Literally everything our WORLD has to offer is at the fingertips of those with the internet in their hands. It is not only the reality of what they may find, but the delusion of digital anonymity facilitates some really heart-breaking realities.
I know you have the best and most trustworthy children our world has ever known. Still, PLEASE love them well through just a few very practical actions.
- Deconstruct your personal delusions. Understand that this has nothing to do with