Our Children and “Smart” Phones/Devices??

Parents, are “Smart” devices controlling you, or are you controlling them? Don’t hide from this issue!

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Hmmm . . . Should I do this or not????  Well, here goes nothing.  It’s controversial Random Thoughts time!  Hey, we need to challenge each other, right!

Should our children have “Smart” Phones/Devices?  I’m going to take the position and boldly say, “No!”

Why would I say this?  My response is probably not the reason you may be thinking.

No, it’s not the cost of owning a Smart Device.

If you have never owned an iPhone before and you are getting into a plan for the very first time, expect to spend at least $1,500 on the cost of the plan itself during that two-year contract. That is if you stick with the cheapest plan available through AT&T.” [1]

No, it’s not because it is almost universally accepted that playing games on these devices impact your child’s verbal skills.[2]

And it’s not because our 8-18 year olds are now exposing themselves to nearly 11 hours a day (In a 7.5 hour time period.  Multi-tasking at its best!) on these device, TV and other technology while reading less than 20 minutes a day.  (Never mind that the majority of the reading they’re doing ‘iz n bkn inglish n there moor then 500 texs thay du a dey!’ [3]  Have you read any text messages or Facebook posts recently??  We’re becoming increasingly illiterate.)

My reason is something more insidious.  It’s one simple word.  Pornography!  A major study shows that:

“almost all boys and two-thirds of girls over age 13 have been exposed to online porn. Most exposure happens between the ages of 14 and 17, but thousands of children 13 and younger are exposed to sexually explicit images daily.”[4]

I’m writing this because I just had a conversation with a youth pastor who told me about their recent Missions Trip.  Nearly every young man in his youth group was convicted while serving and at some point during the trip every male confessed that they were struggling with pornography.  Every one of them had access to it on their Smart phone!

The impact that pornography is having on our society is unbelievable.  Do some research for yourself, it’s not hard to find statistics on what it is doing to our culture.  One simple article that I found lists 7 Negative Effects of Porn.[5]  (It’s a pretty blunt article on a topic that many don’t want to talk about so read at your own risk.)

Parents, you may think that you’re showing love to your child by putting the latest cool device in your child’s hands.  May I humbly suggest that if you’re not monitoring these devices, you’re not doing them any favors.

In a world where “sexting” is now commonplace among youth[6] and we’re told to start teaching children between 7-9 years old about sending inappropriate pictures of themselves![7]  Something’s not right!  (Is that an understatement or what?)

If I were the parent of a teen or pre-teen today I would probably allow them to have a “dumb” phone.  I’m talking so dumb that it wouldn’t even allow texts!  But, if you make an informed decision to allow your child to have one of these devices knowing all of the issues associated with them here’s a few things I would suggest.

1.    Have some sort of Covenant Eye’s, Disney Circle or integrityonline monitoring on their device to help know what they are involved in.  There’s a very good article on how to protect your children who are on the internet here.  Check here for some more options.

2.   Have them check their phone or turn it OFF when they got home.  There’s no reason that children need to have a phone at home.  They can use the home phone that is in a public place.  You can then give them their phone when they leave the home for school etc.

3.    Set time restrictions on usage of all media.

4.    Do not allow unrestricted access on computers or pads that are connected to the internet in their rooms behind closed doors.  As a minimum have restricted internet access and/or password protection in addition to the time constraints.

5.    Put the computer in a public place.

Call me boring, mean or out of touch, but we’re in a war parent.  Remember the verse that we started off with,

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Cor. 15:33

What is the tool that is allowing the “evil communication” into our children’s minds?  You have to make that call, I can’t do it for you.  My experience is that this evil communication is coming into our homes in a major way from technology!  By the way parent, do you monitor what you’re watching?  It’s not just the youth that have issues here!!

As a minimum I pray that this will at least get you to have a conversation with your child about the dangers of the devices and think about what you’re allowing them to have access to.

Let the flames begin!!   Let’s talk about it.  Give me your idea’s, but most importantly . . .

Stay Bold!

Carl Kerby

[1] The Real Cost of Updating Your iPhone, http://cellphones.answers.com/
[2] http://www.whattoexpect.com/wom/toddler/0505/study–smartphone–educational-games–don-t-increase-tots–verbal-skills.aspx
[3] http://www.techaddiction.ca/media-statistics.htmlhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/education/20wired.html?_r=0
[4] http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/Whats-the-impact-of-porn-on-kids.html
[5] http://theresurgence.com/2011/11/19/7-negative-effects-of-porn
[6] http://www.nspcc.org.uk/help-and-advice/for-parents/talking-about-sex/sexting/sexting_wda96795.html
[7] Sexting lessons for children aged nine: Pupils to be warned against suggestive photos, By Laura Clark, 6 July 2014

Carl Kerby

Carl Kerby is an inspiring, motivating and highly respected Christian speaker. With more than 20 years of ministry experience, Carl shares his extensive knowledge and understanding of God’s creation in his presentations, outreach events, books and other resources as the President and founding board member of Reasons for Hope, Inc.