cyberparentingYour boy is stuck to that darn game again.

You hardly see him and when you try and negotiate time away from his device, he gets cranky, irritable and well, it’s just easier to leave him be. It’s not all bad, lots of his friends do hang out with him, he’s got quite a social life. Only it’s all happening that virtual world. When your boy is present, he’s present in an alternate reality. The real-world lacks flavor. The alternate world is his new home.

Your girl rarely looks you in the eye, she just keeps scrolling.

She’s not antisocial, she just never goes out. After all there’s too much going on insider her device. Comparison is inescapable. Joy and contentment impossible. Beauty is without. Within doesn’t matter. And if she’s not in that device, she doesn’t even exist.

At school, the girls at least sit side by side, scrolling. Lol. During class they share images, via snapchat or Insta, as they sit right next to each other. ‘Sir, THIS IS really important!’ or ‘My mum is texting me!’

The boys likewise think they are masters of disguise, propping up a folder or a laptop, or staring between their legs, so they can play Fortnite or Minecraft or some derivative that is the latest ‘thing’.

As a concerned parent, what do you do?

Do you ban their device in order to save them and your family?

Recently I’ve been dipping into a book called ‘Cyber Parenting’ by James and Simone Boswell.

Our Youth Pastor passed it onto us after we saw a screening of the movie ‘Screenagers’.

I’m not reading this super thoroughly, we’ve thought a lot about this kind of stuff.

I’m also kind of thankful we don’t have boys.

What is it with boys and games?

For me, I never was interested, I just loved being outside. I like being with people too. Screens make me tired and generally leave me feeling yuck. But we are in the computer internet world now, so I have to use them…but I won’t miss them, let me tell you, come the day to ‘power off’. So, hey…think of these blogs as service to y’all. I really do have to make the effort to be in front of a screen. But many boys…well hey, it’s the preferred place to be, right…nerdsville. Shoot ‘em up. Race the car; The need for speed and action; whatever. Or just procrastination, avoiding work. School boys will constantly flip between what they are supposed to be doing and some game on another tab…and they think teachers aren’t up on their antics. No, we’re just exhausted trying to force you to do the right thing by yourself.

I don’t really get the value people ‘get’ out of gaming. Seems like a very poor trade to me. Somebodies getting duped big time. But a lot of boys love it…so maybe I missed that bus.

Girls and images?

I don’t really get that either. Why subject yourself to a bunch of images you can never live up to, that have been curated to make an ‘envy show reel’?

Maybe we all just want that recognition, that affirmation that we are something and somebody?

Maybe it is creepin’ up on us males. Male concern with body image is on the rise, I mean a couple of men hair salons just opened up in my suburb so that’s kind of a ‘sign of the times’. We boys are becoming more concerned with how our looks are perceived. Insta here we come!

Shall we ban the device?

Lots of talk in schools these days about banning or not banning phones.

I don’t think banning is the solution. But it might be necessary in some cases for some ages

It's a matter of trust

Here’s the key question we need to start with… can we trust our kids?

I think this must be our goal.

We remove the tech, so that we can establish agreed boundaries and teach our kids self-control.

Ideally, we want them to choose the right thing, not force them.

But when they are young or addicted…its time to step up and in and be a little tougher for their sakes

As they grow older, they should be given and expect more responsibility…but our relationship with them should be developing trust in other areas, so that tech is just part of that.

Kids need to see and believe in the benefits of self-control for themselves, not because the school or parent says so. It’s a matter of resisting the flow, the tide or tsunami of uncontrolled access to tech and teasing it out in doses that enable kids to be responsible, have a life off tech and help them see the benefits of self-control.

That’s developing trust.

Trust comes from relationships, strong ones. It won't prevent sin, breaking faith...but when relationships have strong ties, kids are less likely to 'break faith'. Think of the weak bond between Adam and Eve and God. They hadn't developed into maturity, they hadn't learnt to trust and obey. They were free and trusted to obey, but they chose poorly in their immaturity to enslave themselves. They got lost, they hid, but it was God who found them. There was no digging themselves out of that hole. But first their freedom in the garden was limited...they were told to leave.

Kids need our loving parenting and so when they do fail, we need to graciously dig them out, but sometimes we'll have to cut off their access to the freedoms they just blew out the door.

Trust doesn’t come from just handing over the keys to the wheel and saying go for it.

We need to gradually let out responsibility, so our kids learn trust and obedience within a loving relationship.

Let's pool our experiences...

How do you or have you built trust around screens in your home?..let me know by shooting me an email.

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