I am sooooooooo thankful we didn’t have smartphones when I was in high school!!!!!!!
I don’t want to imagine the tangible trail of turgid travesties I would have traipsed across the internet!
Thankfully, that wasn’t a temptation I had to avoid (I had enough trouble avoiding plenty of others).
Not the First
Listen, I know I’m not the first to sound a siren call about young people and the threat technology represents. But I hope you’ll be patient with me for just a few moments as I share some insights I’ve gleaned from counseling teenagers addicted to sexual sin.
- Lust doesn’t need technology to flourish. Job tells us that he had to make a promise with his eyes not to lust after girls. Job is a book written about a family that predates Abraham! Lust exists in the heart of man, and sexual lust in particular needs only two things – a mind and an object. Please do not think that your children are safe from the temptation we’re discussing here simply because they don’t have a device.
- Technology is to sexual sin what airplanes are to world travel. They don’t make it possible, they make it easier. While driving down the road traveling about 45 miles an hour, I’ve often marveled at the amazing speeds we travel compared to the transportation of the past. Horse and buggy have nothing on today’s worst cars. As we’ve already seen, lust doesn’t need technology, but technology sure makes it easier to access it. When before a young man would have to sneak a copy of a dirty magazine, today he can anonymously view whatever forms of vile filth he wants from the comforts of his own bedroom.
- Too many parents are ignorant to what temptation technology affords. Did you know that the most grotesque scenes of human sexuality were available to anyone with an internet connection? Did you know your child can send and receive texts you will never know about? Did you know someone could send your child a nude picture of themselves, and you’d never be billed for it?
- Too many parents trust their children with technology. We don’t trust toddlers around ovens, scissors, and pools because of the inherent risk each poses. In addition, the proportionate immaturity of the child to the enhanced danger of the object increases our prohibitions. Yet we hand pre-pubescent, hormone-ridden, spiritually-immature young people a device capable of beaming wicked images into their brains, and we somehow justify this decision because our culture condemns us for not trusting our kids!
- When sin is finally found out (generally after much disaster has been wrought), parents cut the wrong cords. I’ve seen plenty of parents remove the child’s devices and cut all digital communication with the outside world. But the cord of lust is too often left untouched.
These are the problems I encounter nearly every time I counsel a young person engaged in sexual sins. But let’s not stop with the observations.
I think it’s fair to say I disdain criticism that provides no viable solutions just as much as you do. So please humor me a moment more while I address the very simple ways we as parents can help our children battle tech-tation.
Some Spiritual Solutions
- Understand lust. Smell its presence on your children’s breath. See its shadow on their bedroom floor. Watch how they interact with their peers. Do they touch each other? Where are their eyes resting? Understand the biblical root of lust, the consequences of lust, and the cure for lust. Did you know that sexual sins scar a person in different ways than others sins? Did you realize that last statement was Bible-truth (Proverbs 6)?
- Come to grips with the fact that when you hand your child a mobile device, you’re not merely making it easier to contact them. Understand the inherent dangers of the device. You would baby-proof a home; teenage-proof the phone.
- Research! There are a plethora of up-to-date articles like this one that are written specifically for parents to know how to protect their children, and what to protect them from.
- Stop trusting babies around the oven! Nowhere in Scripture is it mandated that a parent trust their child simply because they’re a teenager. Trust is a facet of love, but trust is never unwise in its trusting. You teach your children to use a knife before letting them wield their own. You teach them to drive before handing them the keys. Teach them about the device, teach them about lust. Let them mature, and the bless them with trust equal to their worthiness.
- Children need accountability. They need to be taught to live a Christ-honoring life in the middle of this corrupt world. Joseph didn’t need to be taken out of Egypt, he needed to worship God in Egypt. The device isn’t the real issue; the heart is. It may be necessary to cut the cordless device, but don’t ignore the deeper, more significant issue. Get counseling. Root out the lust and help the child desire what is right and good.
And just for making it this far, here’re two bonus points!
- Friend, follow, like, digg, and pin your kids. No, that wasn’t an admonishment to psycho-babble, espionage, digging graves, or voodoo dolls. You need to hang out where your kids hang out. Know who they know. Read what they read. Listen to what they listen to. How else do you hope to lead them through the mine field that is this life? Every single time I’ve encountered a young person feeding the flesh on social media, I’ve found a young person whose parents don’t know what Snap Chat or Instagram is. “I don’t use Facebook.” is not a legitimate excuse that somehow gets you off the hook! Is your child on Facebook? Then that’s reason enough for you to have an account . . . or at least to share a login with your child.
I know a set of parents who never would have known a boy in their daughter’s school was soliciting sexual favors from her had all of her incoming texts not also gone to their phones. Is that a scary proposition for you? Good.
- “Friend” your child in real-life too. Once again, no psycho-babble is intended here. What I mean is make these steps in their sanctification a you-and-them-together experience, not a you-against-them confrontation. Love them. Disciple them. Be on their side for God’s glory.
What’s at stake in this conversation is the spiritual life and Christ-honoring relationships of your children. Do not naively allow them to undergo the painful temptation technology brings to bear on their lust? Help them know what lust is and how to defeat it in their life with the truth of God’s Word. And then equip them with the spiritual weapons necessary to fight tech-tation.
For Your Consideration
"he txtd me"
He txtd me
and said that I was cut3!
Then he asked me for a pic;
I clicked a selfy.
He txtd me
and said that I was "hott"
and told me how he feels
when he c's me at skool.
I told him he was weird.
He txtd me
and asked to see me in
my new swimsuit.
The bois at the pool will see.
He txtd me
and said the picture "trnd me on."
He said my body was gr8.
He asked for another.
He txtd me
and cmplimentd me a lot
and I felt btfl.
He said he wanted to kiss me.
He txtd me
and wanted to see me nude.
He txtd me
and said he thought it might be fun . . . .
I felt kinda weird.
But it might be fun.
How did I get here?
I never wanted this. I wish
he never txtd me.