Some weeks ago, a friend of mine told me something that gave me the chills. She said her 3 year old daughter was watching something on her husband's phone and portraying unusual facial expressions. My friend noticed her girl's facial expressions were strange so she decided to check what her daughter was watching. She saw her baby watching porn! How she got to the site remains a sort of mystery yet we can not deny the fact that a kid seeing that is devastating.
Friends, many more kids are exposed to pornography now in our world than we can ever imagine. This is due to the over-availability of electronic devices for kids especially in the developed world. I have seen one too many kids punching on cute-looking phones or tablets while their parents or caregivers engaged in something else. This is certainly not cute!
Research states that a girl who is exposed to the internet very early will see her first porn at the age of 13. Meanwhile, boys who are exposed to the internet early get addicted to pornography by their late teens. (I got this info from the Moms Conference I attended.)
We cannot deny the fact the audio-visual has a high impact on our society today and our kids are definitely not left out. Here are some ways we can deal with screens.
NEVER USE SCREENS AS A CO-PARENT
I know, it's easy to put on that cartoon channel and let the kids watch and watch while you go away to do other things. I've done this before and while it feels relieving instantly, it has not-so-nice consequences. At the end of the day, your kids have had very little physical and mental exercise and very little connection with you. They have connected with strange (and some negative) characters in cartoons and children become who they watch. If you must let them watch TV for a while, let it be only for some minutes and not for several hours. Don't let the screens babysit for you.
WATCH KIDS' SHOWS TO KNOW THEIR CONTENT
Watch cartoons with your kids so you know when to push the power button. Look, these days, not every cartoon is kid-friendly. Because a program is colourful and has innocent-looking characters doesn't certify it as a good show for your kids. There are lots of these colorful shows out there promoting vices such as immorality, violence and disobedience to parents. If you watch and a cartoon shows something that is not right, make sure you point that out to your kids. Say something like, "S, did that kid talk nicely to his daddy?" Then go on to explain how polite talking is necessary.
DON'T USE SCREENS TO SOOTHE THEM
Sometimes a kid whines and their parent or caregiver gives them a phone or tablet to soothe them. This is so wrong. They don't get to learn anger management, patience and other virtues that are NEEDED for a healthy life. Let them learn to deal with their problems without the screen. Let them learn to sit quiet in that public place. Let them learn to soothe themselves.
USE SCREENS POSITIVELY
While screens can be highly destructive, they can also be used positively. There are many educative programs on YouTube that can help your kids grow mentally. There are also Bible stories that can help them learn more and enjoy the word of God. Make use of the learning programs and useful apps.
GO ON A TECH FAST
From time to time, put off the TV, the computer and all phones and just sit down with your family and connect. There's a lot of noise coming from these devices these days and it is expedient to consciously put them away for a while.
BE A MODEL
I discovered that while some shows may be good for me, they are not appropriate for my kids. Therefore I must not watch those shows while they are around. When I'm with them, no TV time or very restricted TV time for me. Also if you are so attached to your phone/tablet/computer you are not being a good model to your kids. They should see you use these things with moderation. A lot of kids feel like they have to compete with electronic devices for their parents' attention. Not nice.
CONNECT WITH LIKE-MINDED FAMILIES
Some families are all about the screens. Mom is checking Facebook, Dad is watching a sports game, the boys are playing video games while the girls watch princess movies. In such families, everyone is present but absent. When you allow you kids to interact with such kids, they will be influenced to do same- evil company corrupts good manners. Stick with families that believe in and practice tech restrictions.
DON'T BE SCARED ABOUT BEING ODD
Look, the way of those that do right is very narrow while the way of destruction is very wide. As you try to moderate the use of screens some people may consider you very strict. You are not supposed to get your 11 year old that phone because everyone else is doing it. In this world, you will look odd but in the end you will be happy you chose the odd but right way.
Which of the above points resonate with you? What steps are you taking to moderate your use of technology? Please talk to me in the comments section below!