In recent editions of this column I have been encouraging readers, particularly Christian parents, to wholeheartedly commit their lives to: self-sacrificing servitude to Jesus Christ; pure devotion and the commitment of time to their spouses and children; and working at all cost to avoid the snares of temptation that can destroy us, as well as those who love us.
I want to carry on with a related theme by examining an area that affects almost every home: cyberspace.
First, I want to emphasize how important it is for parents to be proactive in keeping watch over their children’s time on the Internet. My friend, Bedford (Va.) County Sheriff Mike Brown, who pilots Operation Blue Ridge Thunder (the code name for the undercover cyberspace patrol that cracks down on child pornography distributed over the Internet and other computer-related crimes), says parents must painstakingly shield kids from potential harm. The organization reports, “The exploitation of children over the Internet is greater than we know, than our government acknowledges or statistics express.”
The sad fact is that there are many bad people patrolling the Internet looking for innocent victims, so we must constantly take a hands-on approach in protecting our children.
In addition, we need to ensure that our kids aren’t locked in their own private world of texting or IMing, alienating themselves from the rest of the family. The Nielsen Company has reported that an average teen completes about 80 texts per day, which amounts to 2,272 a month. That’s an amazing figure.
I read a press release this week by Dr. Jimmy Myers, director of the Timothy Center in Austin and author of “Toe to Toe with Your Teens,” in which he said, “Setting down a set of rules, which both the parent and teen can agree to and live by, is essential to guiding families through these potential mine fields.” In other words, parents, our kids need our direction; we have to be willing to take charge and set up these types of rules, for our kids’ sake.
Second, the Internet can actually be a great place for parents and children to learn and grow together. Some outstanding sites for both young and old include:
- WallBuilders, which examines “America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built.”
- The Christian Hall of Fame, hosted by the Canton Baptist Temple, where you can learn of history’s great champions of the faith and the price many paid for following Jesus Christ.
- The Creation Museum, where kids can learn about the 70,000-square-foot Answers in Genesis facility, which “brings the pages of the Bible to life.” The website has many great features.
- Baseball Chapel, where you can learn about Christian players, past and present, which is especially pertinent as the World Series approaches.
- Christian Children’s Book Review, an excellent blog page for Christian moms who want to share their love of reading with their children.
- The Spiritual Gifts Questionnaire, featuring a 90-question survey designed by Dr. Elmer Towns to help people discover their spiritual gifts and strengths.
There are many, many more wonderful websites. Search them out and allow the Internet to become a great resource for helping you learn and grow as a family.
Finally, I want to again encourage parents to be prayerful leaders in your homes. Ask God daily, as I do, to guide you, protect you and strengthen you in this vital role.
I believe that any moral turnaround in our culture will have to come through the next generation of Christians. So it behooves us to invest in our children now, equipping them to become vocal servants of, and articulate apologists for, Jesus Christ.