Several years back the Pastor at the church that I was serving at asked if I would have a frank and down to earth conversation with parents about the dangers of parenting teens and youth in a digital and social media drenched world. At the time the number one visited online site for children of grade school age was YouTube.com, iPhones were in their infancy, and NetFlix had not become a household name. During the seminar we talked about apps, Wifi, online gaming, firewalls, content filters, current online social behaviors and a host of other topics. Many of the parents brought more questions than we had time to approach answering. The short of the conversation for parents is that days of being able to point to the things that we want our children to stay away from are gone. The dangers envelope them and if we ware not diligent, cautious and proactive our children will be exposed to things that we wish they knew nothing about.
I would advise churches to do more than have a purity commitment for our teens once a year and parent/child dedication ceremony for parents once in a lifetime. Dedicate at least one week a year to address these issues with parents directly. Help them understand what is happening in the world of their teen and grade school students. Equip them with tools to protect their home. Provide them with an understanding of how character is formed at a young age. Show them a pathway for teaching their children how to protect themselves, their integrity and their character. The things that go onto the internet live forever and the majority of our students are not ready to deal with that reality.
If your church or civic organization would like more information about the Parent Tech Classes offered by Mission in Motion or materials to use in teaching your own class please get in touch. Together we can reframe the conversation and help people win.