PARENTS? Would you toss your kid to sharks?
You say, “Of course not! Silly question!” Then, let me ask you some some other questions, as a dad who is try to save my own son from some very real sharks.
- Do you let you kids have Shapchat?
- Do you not have a filtering on their Internet?
- Do you monitor their texts, chats and web browsing?
The sharks are out to get your kid. If you don’t believe it, you are living in intentional ignorance. Scripture says,
BE ALERT AND SOBER-MINDED. YOUR ENEMY, THE DEVIL PROWLS AROUND LIKE A ROARING LION, (aka Sharks!) SEEKING SOMEONE TO DEVOUR. 1 PETER 5:8
Are you leaving your children unprotected? As a pastor, I’m disheartened by parents who give up – “It’s just too hard.” As a father I get angry because it makes it harder for me to lead my own son when I hear, “but my friends parents let them,” and these are Christian parents.
Is is hard? Yes.
Is it worth it? YES.
Parents, especially those I know – I can’t do this alone. We need to be a team. We need to FIGHT THE ENEMY, not our kids. Our kids need us to be strong and bold and unmoving when it comes to standing against the advance of the world against our kids.
Yes, we have to be in the world, but we do not have to be of it.
Every parent must make their own decisions and choices – I respect that. But please make some. Making none is surrender, and there will be a spiritual price to pay if you do not proactive choose to protect your kids from the sharks out to devour your kids.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Rather, WHAT MUST YOU DO?
#1 Filter the Internet in your home. If you need help, let me know. Most Internet providers will do this for you. It’s simply a matter of settings. If you need it stronger, there are many options available. Many are even free. It’s worth a little effort to protect your kids. (And perhaps even yourself.)
#2 Filter the Internet on your child’s device. If your child had a celluar enabled device, phone or tablet, your filtered WiFi is no longer enough. You have to protect their cellular Internet access as well, and when they are on OTHER WiFi networks. I use SaferKid.com. It is pretty powerful. Bark.us is another. Circle is yet another.
#3 Monitor your child’s online activity. All of it. If they text message, monitor it. SaferKid allows that. If they have Instagram, install it on your phone too so you see everything. So I can see anything on it. I can turn off his Internet or apps with a single click from miles away to interrupt anything that is wrong or needs coaching. My son doesn’t like it. Too bad. I tell him it’s my phone. When he complains, I joke, if he wants privacy get his own phone, his own Internet and own phone service. But seriously, I tell him I have no privacy either. My wife has all my passwords and can monitor anything I do online too. So join the club. It’s called having a family that loves you and cares about you. And, oh yea, God can see everything too. He’s your Heavenly Father. I’m just here to help Him out. KNOW ALL YOUR KIDS PASSWORDS. No exceptions. If they change a password, they lose their device. It’s that simple. (iPhone Screen Time can prevent password changing.)
#4 DO NOT ALLOW SNAPCHAT. Never. Ever. Ever. Please. Why on earth would you expose your child to a platform you can’t monitor, where people can send them images that disappear in seconds with no record or trace? That’s literally insane. It is a source of porn, sexting, bullying, blackmail, and child exploitation. It has caused countless cases of child humiliation, depression, negative peer pressure, drug use and even suicides. I question the judgement of any parent who would allow this app on their child’s phone. If it was ignorance, well, now you know. Yes, it has cool filters. I’ve heard that too. And I’m sure that uncle you knew read Playboy for the articles too. Oh, and delete TikTok too. I really shouldn’t have to explain this to adults. And I’m not even talking about the factors of addiction or negative effects of endless pointless screen time.
In the middle of typing this tonight I was interrupted by a call from a friend who is a dad and also a youth pastor and so we ended up talking about these apps. He said something that really struck me.
“I don’t see a lot of happy kids who are deep in to using these apps. Social media breeds more opportunities for drama and bullying.” – Pastor Matt, Children and Youth Pastor and Father of two middle schoolers
We talked about how choosing to delay the use of social media for your kids is choosing to provide space for your students to have peace and distance from the troubles and worries of the day. You are not a bad parent if you wait. Your kid will have plenty of years to use and eventually loathe social media. What’s the rush?
Let’s help create happy, healthy kids who are swimming safer in a dangerous world. If my kid is swimming near yours, can you please help keep the sharks away?
Luke’s dad, first. Kids pastor, second.
Pastor Karl Bastian