The end goal of parenting in a high tech world is kids who take responsibility for their own faith. Several necessary factors contribute to this process: 1) parental controls, 2) conversation and accountability, and 3) personal responsibility on the part of our kids.
Be Web Smart: For the Analog Parent in a Digital World – Notice the two features for iOS7 users on how to block content and certain contacts
Mobicip – For multiple devices that access the internet
Covenant Eyes – Notice that this Internet filtering site still emphasizes ‘conversation and accountability.’
CONVERSATION & ACCOUNTABILITY:
Ideally, this happens within the family structure. Virtually every study ever conducted highlights the power of a parent-child relationship in terms of a safe passage to adulthood. Obviously this becomes strained during adolescence. The historic quote,
“the weening process has never been particularly attractive; not to the weenie, not to the weenor”
is often attributed to the late H. Stephen Glenn. Nevertheless, parent-child dialogue is the gold standard in terms of influencing our kids. And remember, dialogue is not ‘talking at our kids.’ It’s a mutual adventure of authenticity and conversation about shared struggles in life between people at different stages of development. To build on top of this unique power comes the whole idea of ‘intermediate influencers.’ Find people who are 2-5 years older than your kids and who embrace your worldview. Influence now comes in waves.
No internet filter and no amount of conversation/accountability can overcome a refusal on the part of the emerging adult to own his or her own faith and development. This becomes the core of our daily prayer for our children. The good news is that this develops in parallel with the considerations mentioned above.
Notice the creative way one mother writes about how technology has forever changed the way we parent:
“Technology and social media permanently altered the way we raised the first generation of children who were already out in the world, long before they left our homes”
“The irony of cell phones is that my kids are not as present when they are actually with me but are far more present, when they are away. At home they are often distracted by their phones but at school, they will text, send photos and answer questions at all times, including in the middle of class”
Parental controls are good but not as stand-alone solutions. Their power comes in the broader context of conversation, accountability and personal responsibility.