It’s with you right now and it follows you nearly everywhere you go.
The internet: it’s supposed to simplify and enrich our lives and in some ways it does. In fact if it weren’t for the internet I wouldn’t be sharing my thoughts with you right this moment, so how can I deny its benefits?
Despite the perks of having such a wealth of information so readily accessible and being able to connect so easily with people I love who live in other time zones, I must admit that I am thankful that the world wide web wasn’t really a part of my life growing up.
When I was a teenager, I might have qualified for being technologically savvy because my babysitting ventures funded my own private landline, cordless and all. Did I mention that I was so “cutting edge” that I also had a personal answering machine? My only experience with the internet beyond watching the movie “You’ve Got Mail” was receiving a lesson in chat rooms from my neighborhood friend Kat as she chatted with her fellow Smashing Pumpkins fans.
Growing up, I had an honest desire, fueled by my genuine love for God, to measure up to the Christian teenage code of ethical living. This proved challenging at times, as after my father passed away and my home church split apart, I struggled with teetering back and forth between obedience to God and indulgence in little snippets of sin. Although I was a “good kid” by most anyone’s standard, I knew that God did not want me taste-testing forbidden fruit. I shudder to think of how I might have been impacted if I had also been bombarded by everything that the internet has to “offer.”
Today, as a mother of four boys, I see clearly the campaign that is being launched against our youth. While the internet itself is neutral, we are all aware that there is a web of people, behind the scenes propositioning our children and teenagers with the tantalizing lure of pornography. Far from a harmless past-time, pornography robs them of the right to an innocent train of thought, trampling their purity and replacing it with shame.
If pornography doesn’t appeal to them, they can be snagged in other ways. Whether it is sending sexual images via texts or the not-so-subtle influences that promote rampant promiscuity, the accessibly that we all love about technology undeniably has its drawbacks.
Purity is a laughable concept in today’s culture and if we are not careful we might give in to the worldview and just submit to what we are made to believe is inevitable. Let us be reminded that we do NOT have to conform to the standards of this world–even if every child in the cul-de-sac has cable and internet in their bedroom, even if every adolescent is freely using their smart phone to surf the web unsupervised, even if our kids swear they are the “ONLY ONE’S IN THE WORLD” who can’t do or have (fill in the blank.)
I love my sons. I want them to remain pure in heart. I understand the fact that I cannot ultimately control the choices that they make in life, but I will NOT hand them temptation on a silver platter.
So then where exactly will I draw the lines? To be honest, I am not completely sure. I cannot pretend that I can predict the situations that technology will present me with as my boys grow. But I am making this commitment right now: I will not take the lazy avenue when it comes to safe-guarding my kids against the internet and other media sources.
I will pray diligently as they grow that God will give me wisdom and guidance. I will search His Word for insight and direction. I will ask for courage when I need to set critical limitations that may seem harsh and unnecessary to my children, thus making me unpopular with the people I love the most. I will also ask for discernment so that I do not impose ridiculous restrictions on my kids based off of unhealthy fears of my own or desires to feel in control at all times. I will, when necessary, take this one TV show, one movie, one video game, one electronic device at a time. I will not make blanket assessments just because it is easier on me. I will accept that there will be times when I will drop the ball and choose wrong, but I will never allow that to be an excuse to throw in the towel.
I know what you’re thinking: this all sounds like so much work. I agree, but since we are told to pick our battles, this one is worth picking- and the best posture for this battle is going to be on our knees in prayer.
I John 4:4-6
“You, dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”