I have noticed a trend with teens: Smartphones. You may say “duh, that’s been happening for years now,” and you’re right. What bugs me is not just the fact that teens have them, but that they jumped into the smartphone realm without any thoughts or preparations, and worse, that many parents just let it happen with no considerations.
Parents need to get a hold of thier kids, and they need to realize that parents are their God-given authority. Enough of the “we’re all winners” and “I want him to make his own decisions and discover his own journey.” Enough of the journey talk already! Parents, be parents! I’m sick and tired of hearing parents who were paddled growing up talking about how they don’t paddle their own kids but then get mad when they don’t have control over them. Yet they tell their kids “if I’d a done that when I was a kid my parents would of…”
Enough ranting. What about the phones?
Teenagers don’t understand proper responsibility in many realms of life. Phones are not an exception here. You’re going to give them a device that is more powerful then the electronics in the rocket that took man to the moon? (ya, you heard that right!) Then you’re going to give them unlimited data too? That’s a recipe for disaster.
At the least, parents need to be aware of what their children are doing on their phones. I think it is very good for parents to have control over when their children get to the Internet. Also what apps and games they can download and play. Even the app store itself has all kinds of raunchy content.
All major mobile operating systems (android, iOS, etc.) have some sort of parental controls. These should be utilized to the fullest extent. I’m most familiar with iOS. It has a wonderful “Restrictions” feature (now iOS 12 calls it “Screen Time”). Check it out, you can lock out the app store, you can turn off the “news” app – and yes, bad stuff can be found there! Beyond that, you can limit adult content across the device under the safari setting…and I suggest this for ALL Christians, not just teens. For teens, I even suggest a whitelist-only website list, where every site must be unblocked for them to have access.
For Android, there are app-lockers that will prompt for a parental code before using apps you choose.
Most mainstream phone carriers have a family-safe type system that you can pay for. They are worth looking into.
If that’s all you do, then it’s much better than nothing. You can also install a third-party monitoring software and apps. NetNanny, Mobicip, and Covenant Eyes are good choices.
Computer Internet Safety
If you have 5-6 hours (and I think it’s worth every minute if you love your kids,) then go here and watch these videos! They contain a Bible based system to combat the monster of technology in the home.
The Bottom Line
None of this will work if you don’t have a relationship with your kids. If you don’t have your kid’s heart, they will only see this as a reason to rebel. See more about that in the first video (zone 0) of Joseph Baxter’s series over at www.criticalarmor.com.
If you have any questions or comments, make them below!