This phone belongs to my 14 year old daughter. It’s charging on my kitchen counter. At 9pm, every single night, her phone shuts itself down and she brings it here.
Why? It’s how I keep her safe.
That phone is free of social media. She has an app that allows her to chat with a handful of friends and family. I know every person she talks to and I check her phone and messages regularly.
Why? It’s how I’m keeping her safe.
My nearly 12 year old son asked me two days ago if I would connect his PS4 to the internet so he could play with friends outside of the house. I said no.
He had a persuasive argument, it was filled with many things I agree with him about.
Unfortunately, the good does not outweigh the bad. So, I stuck with the original “no.”
Why? It’s how I am keeping him safe.
These devices, left unchecked, will allow people into our homes at any hour of any day. There is no escape. And I’ve created this home to be an escape.
It’s a safe place for my children. No matter what happens out in the world, I want this house to be their respite, their safe haven, their fortress.
Opening the door to unmonitored internet access allows anyone to enter our home at any time. I’m locking that door.
When it comes to internet access here there is zero privacy. ZERO.
I’ve listened to arguments about privacy and I’ve not heard a single one that made me rethink the safety of my children.
It’s not only their physical safety we are called to guard! We must guard their hearts, their eyes, and their ears until they can make their own rational decisions.
I’m doubling down rather than easing up on this issue. Why? Because I’ve read countless stories of parents who wish they could undo what’s been done.
There are children- CHILDREN- sending pics, videos and other sexual content of themselves to “friends” online.
And it’s not happening out there somewhere- it’s happening in good, solid Christian homes. It’s happening right under our noses.
But I call bull. We are excusing life altering behavior by assuming that it’s “just what boys do.” No longer is it magazine photos of girls they will never meet- it’s nude pics of girls in their schools.
This is not fear mongering or helicopter parenting, it’s simply common sense.
Check the phones. Monitor their online presence. If you allow social media make sure you’re one of their most engaged followers.
They probably won’t like that. You’ll get some pushback. Parent anyway.
I tell my children all the time “I’m not here to make friends. It’s okay with me if this makes you unhappy.
Why? It’s how I’m keeping them safe.
This piece originally appeared at Sprinkles in My Closet, published with permission.