Cleaning Up YouTube

A 15-year-old may accurately report that he was porn-free last week. And technically, from his perspective, he’s right. But soft porn is now embedded in everyday life, including the ever present and always needed YouTube. What if there was a way to engage YouTube without all the entanglements, without the sideshow of skin, without the search menu returning 60% titillating videos?

Enter view pure

  1. Pick a ‘strict’ or ‘moderate’ search filter
  2. Watch thumbnail videos disappear from the side bar
  3. Greatly reduce ‘ads’

 

 

“No Rescue” Parenting

Hyper parenting is in, traditional parenting is out. So how does today’s parent step back and assess the landscape? How do we make minor adjustments, so as to parent better?

An excellent article, with embedded video, defines four types of parents:

Tiger Parent – Strict rules and high expectations

Helicopter Parent – Hovering over all aspects of a child’s life

Snowplow Parent – Removing every obstacle that stands in the child’s way

No Rescue Parent – Allowing kids to fail, experiences obstacles and feel consequences

The saying, “a child who always forgets has a parent who always remembers,” captures the essence of how we’ve gone too far. In our hovering tendency, we often deal with the symptoms while ignoring the underlying problems. If a child has a one time mistake, no big deal. But repeated patterns can often be reinforced by our cultural tendencies to bail them out.

Check out the article and short video here: No Rescue Parenting.

 

 

Internet Potholes

Parenting through technology-fear needs a breath of fresh air and comic relief at times. Enter Allison Slater Tate:

The question of managing screen time and who is on what screen and how to protect those in front of the screens from things they might not un-see or un-hear is a constant, exhausting issue that frankly makes me want to go full-on Amish on all of them and throw every last blinking screen away

Although our tech responsibilities often feel like an anchor dragging behind the boat, there’s a larger thing going on here. God is moving history towards an end that He has already revealed. He is not white-knuckled in fear, not behind schedule, not surprised. Someone once said that there is nothing that I can bring to the table that God is not already in possession of.

Notice how Tate works through our unprecedented reality:

…my generation of parents are pioneers here, like it or not. We’re the last of the Mohicans. We can try as hard as we want to push back and to carve space into our children’s lives for treehouses and puzzles and Waldorf-style dolls, but in the end, our children will grow up with the whole world at their fingertips, courtesy of a touch screen, and they will have to learn how to find the balance between their cyber and real worlds. It is scary. I don’t think I even believe there is a “right way” to parent with technology. But acknowledging that what we are doing is unprecedented – that no study yet knows exactly what this iChildhood will look like when our children are full grown people – feels like an exhale of sorts.

Nice combination. On one hand we parent, repeat, we parent through the ever-changing landscape. But on the other, we honestly admit that living in unprecedented times requires a broader perspective. A quieting of sorts. Here’s a set of verses I often quote in the silence of my own spirit:

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained (Philippians 3:15,16)

When CS Lewis said, “it takes two worlds to make sense of one,” I doubt he could have envisioned our current parenting reality. But it’s a life-giving perspective in an age of Internet potholes.

You can read Allison Slater Tate’s full article here.

 

Do You Get It Yet?

The mechanic slammed the hood of the truck, “better tow it to the dealer, no idea what’s wrong…”

The kid was fiddling with his phone and spreading his fingers to enlarge the words. “This make sense to you?” he asked, handing the phone to mechanic.

A wrinkled expression hit the man’s face before he returned the phone and crawled under the driver’s door. The sheet metal trapped a muffled expression before the kid heard, “try it now.”

The key turned, the ignition fired, the exhaust pipe hummed its mellow tune.

The mechanic scooted out and stood and knocked the gravel off his pants, then gave the kid a hard stare.

Parent-Dox

Brennan Manning once referred to himself this way, “I’m an angel, with an incredible capacity for beer.”

Paradox.

And so the parent lives life with the kids planted firmly in the front row- the closest observers of the ongoing struggle for authenticity. To become like Jesus involves subtle and gradual growth through the seasons of life. It involves working with paradoxes, things seemingly absurd yet true.

Enter technology.

One teacher recently emailed:

In speaking with a colleague, we both commented the issue of technology and how it’s use is being taught in homes. I thought her quote was very telling…”more is caught than taught.”  This gives credence to the idea that kids are just imaging and mirroring what they see at home. Obviously this isn’t always the case but as a teacher I have found that this seems to be a fairly accurate description of why things turn out the way they do.

One recurring paradox for us is the absurd, yet true pretending, that life can come through a screen. When we catch our kids in tech’s dark sectors we often miss the subtle connections that they learned from us. It’s why the transparent and authentic life is indispensable. For it creates a vacuum into which kids are drawn. They must see our flaws and they must see what we’re doing about them. They must be able to measure movement.

The absurdity that Brennan Manning- theologian, lover of mankind and legendary story teller- struggled with alcohol throughout his life is okay for me. Why? Because he was transparent and authentic. Because he made movement and brought a richer understanding of ‘grace’ to the world.

We’ll need to do the same with our technology. I’m currently tracking my energy and positivity as I contrast my increasing screen time to my diminishing outdoor time. What about you?

Notice the ongoing challenge for our attention (mind) and affections (heart):

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God…” (Colossians 3)

Parental Controls

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.

PARENTAL CONTROLS:

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.

 

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY:

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”

…and…

“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.