WT 023: How Do I Set Limits on Technology?
SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram—our kids are growing up in a different world than we did. Technology makes a lot of moms feel fearful and out of their element, but it doesn't have to be that way. On this week's episode of Wire Talk with Karen Stubbs, Karen and Sunny dive deep into your questions on how to manage your kids and technology.
Question 1: “My husband and I are very intentional about keeping an eye on how much screen time our kids have and what apps or websites they use… but I can’t be next to them monitoring every second and I’m worried that somebody will them something that I want to protect their innocent hearts from. What are your tips for this? Both how to monitor screen time and also how to monitor my fears. ”
Karen’s Answer: You are a wise mom! So glad that you are aware of the dangers. But, like in all things, we cannot allow our fear of things control our actions. We must be proactive as moms, and more importantly “teach” our children of the dangers that are out there. Teaching is so very important, our children need to be at a place in their own life to where if someone does show them something, they have the confidence and courage to say, “I don’t want to look at that.”
This experience came a little early for me, when Taylor was in 2nd grade a little girl in his classroom showed him a picture from a pornographic magazine. Taylor was just sitting in class minding his own business. Taylor told a friend of mine and then we all talked about it together, Greg, Taylor and I. Taylor said it really bothered him, and he didn’t understand what they were doing, and Greg and I had to share how yucky the magazine was and we were so sorry that he was shown that. This started one of many conversations with Taylor.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your children, and the younger the better. I think it helps when your children aren’t blind sided with things, then we as parents feel we are playing catch up. It’s better to stay ahead of the game.
Question 2: “ I want to set limits with my children on technology - but they need to use the internet for most of their homework. Many times I think they're doing work, but they're really on social media. It's difficult to delineate between school work and socializing. Any tips?”
Karen’s Answer: Keep your computers in a area in your house like the kitchen or den where you can monitor what they are doing. If your child continues to get on social media, tell them they will have to do their work the old fashion way.
I promise you aren’t the only mom dealing with this—it happened to me all the time! I would think Abby was studying hard in her room only to realize she was look at Instagram for 3 hours. I finally just let her figure it out herself, she was in high school, and if she got a bad grade I’d take away her phone or ipad.
Question 3: “It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about my middle schooler seeing internet pornography - but I also know that there’s going to be a day where it happens either through social media, a text message, or just an accidental website click. I want to have the conversation with him about what it is and why it’s wrong before he has exposure to it – but I also am kind of nervous about peaking his curiosity by talking to him about it. Is that crazy? Should I have this conversation?”
Karen’s Answer: If your son is in middle school, I can go ahead and put your mind to ease that his curiosity has already been peaked. So yes! Have a conversation. Sooner rather than later, and realize it’s one of many conversations.
I went through this as a mom too. Taylor is no different than any other boy. Boys are visual. That is the way God created it. It’s hard for women to understand it, but it’s true. Greg and Taylor went through a book together, Every Young Man’s Battle when Taylor was in middle school. Greg still checks in with Taylor on a regular basis.
Question 4: “My teenage daughter is a really great kid. I know she has strong morals and has never given me a reason not to trust her. With that said, I feel like I should monitor what she does on her phone. How do I do this without making her feel like I don’t trust her? I don’t want to be big brother, I just want to protect her. Also, at what age do I stop monitoring her? She’s fast approaching 18!”
Karen’s Answer: think you should stop monitoring her now, especially if she’s 18. :) Abby is in this age and I never check her phone. I ask God that if Abby is getting into trouble will he please give me discernment and let me find out someway.
I’ve never been a big fan of spying on your children. I never wanted my mom to read my diary, and I think your phone is like a diary these days. How can my child trust me, if I’m not willing to trust them? Now, I’m still the parent, and I gave my closest friends permission to tell me if my children were getting into things that were not good. We also live in a small town and I am pretty connected, so I would tell my kids that I had spies everywhere so be on their best behavior.
Trust your daughter. She sounds like she’s proven herself to be trustworthy. IF you do find out she’s been doing something bad, take a breath, realize she’s not perfect and guide her through it. Great way to give her grace and show her love.
Generation iY by Dr Tim Elmore
Growing up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Filled World by Arlene Pellicane and Gary Chapman
Every Young Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn