I'm a bit late with my Media Monday post.. okay a LOT late, but I guess the old adage 'better late than never' has its merits. This week Courtney dealt with Media and our Parenting. Let me tell you, what she has written hits home HARD! Make sure you check out what she has to say on this topic.
MEA CULPA! Media is a big obstacle in my parenting.. I admit it! I am so busy all the time that I often don't pay attention to what my children are up to on the internet. I do know that they spend a lot of time on Facebook. In fact, I had a talk recently with one of my girls about how she needs to be careful what she fills her mind with. It’s impossible to serve to masters. You can’t straddle the fence and say you're serving God but be involved in questionable things via the internet.
My husband and I have been too flexible in this for too long. My hubby, the techno man (well, at least he is compared to me) had installed a couple of years ago a system to block certain types of websites from being accessed. We also didn't allow our third daughter to have a Facebook account until very recently, after she turned fourteen. All in all though, monitoring their use of the internet just wasn't being done. We are now trying to be more aware of what they are doing since they do stay up later than we do. (My older girls are 20, and 18 )
I know of parents who take away all media from their children before bed time and take it to their rooms.. no cellphones or laptops are allowed and they shut down access to the internet at night. This may seem drastic to some, but lets face it.. our children are curious by nature and we all know what kind of stuff is available on the world wide web! Let's not talk about what's done on cell phones!
Cell phones have become a vital part of my parenting. I like the security of knowing my children can reach me whenever they need to. It’s become my lifeline to them, if you will. Getting calls from them while at school because someone is ill or school is letting out earlier is a must.
I remember one time a few years ago the phone's battery ran down while I was out and I couldn't be reached. That happened to be the day that my eldest got a bad cut down at the swimming pool and had to be taken to the doctor for stitches. Thank God one of my friends was there and took charge, but it left me with a paranoia about keeping my phone charged and always being available.
There is, of course, a down side to cell phone usage. I have often been concerned about the continued research done on the physical dangers of cell phone usage. These things are like appendages to the body for most people, they're kept in pockets or clipped on to belts. My own girls have in the past kept them in the breast pockets of their uniforms..I shudder to think what that may have done!
The fact that cell phones make our children constantly and instantly accessible to others is also more than disconcerting. I know of many stories about young girls being in inappropriate relationships via texting and cell phone calls. There are boys who store 'you know what' on their phones. Smart phones make the internet accessible anywhere. These things spell DANGER!! Our young people are exposed to too much in the way of inappropriate knowledge and temptation.
As for television... my last two children have watched far too much of it! I found myself a busy mom with no help and the easiest thing to do was to put on a television programme for my daughter so I could cook or do some other chore. This started with my third daughter who I would pick up from school mid morning and find that I had to finish cooking so I'd let her watch tv. It used to break my heart that most times she'd fall asleep right there in front of it while I did my chores.
You'd think I'd learn from that with the last one.. but life became even more complicated with more trips on the road and more chores to do. I found that I couldn't get everything done with her underfoot so the tv became her babsitter too. It took me a while to realise I was making the same mistakes and we've since pulled up on the use of tv.. not enough, but its a step.
The bottom line is that we as parents need to be aware of what is going on around us. It helps to keep our fingers on the pulse of what's happening in the world, especially with our teenagers. It isn't pleasant hearing horror stories about other people's experiences, but it helps me to know what to look out for. My husband and I realise that we have to stay on top of technology as our girls are learning it in school and know more than we do.. at least that is true of myself, if not him!
We have to hold ourselves and our children accountable for how we use media, know the down-sides and avoid the pitfalls if we can. Media can be a wonderful resource for our children. I had to break myself out of the mold of wanting them to look in an encyclopaedia for information instead of clicking on google. As a book lover myself, I wanted them to continue appreciating the written word, but boy am I hooked on google search myself. Its so convenient!
As Courtney continues to point out, our use of media is what makes it good or bad. Let's pray that we can resist the temptations of the bad side.