Since the A&E reality show Duck Dynasty shot her family to fame a few years ago, conservative Christian mom Missy Robertson has been known for faith, family, and holding to strict values as she and husband Jase raised their three kids. Their two boys are now adults, but the Robertsons still have a teenager, thirteen-year-old Mia, living at home. Recently Missy spoke to the Christian Post about parenting kids in the age of technology and social media, and once again she does NOT disappoint with her strong opinions.
Photo: Missy Robertson on Instagram
If you have read this website for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me go on and on about how social media is bad for kids, tweens, and young teens (and probably a lot of adults, but we will keep the focus on kids here.) Robertson agrees, telling the Christian Post,
“Kids today are under a tremendous amount of pressure. A lot of that pressure comes from social media. I think that is the main problem; you’re comparing yourself to all the perfect people. Of course, they’ve been through 45 filters and you’re comparing yourself to that unrealistic body image and flawless makeup. We’re seeing a lot of negative effects from that.”
She goes on to say that a big mistake parents today make is giving their kids tech too young and then letting their kiddos have free reign with it. “Kids are getting phones younger and younger, and I’m seeing toddlers throwing fits when they can’t get on their parent’s phones,” she said. “Parents are trapped, they don’t know how to take it away. We’re starting them out young, and the scary thing is, we don’t even know what it’ll look like ten years from now. As a mother, I would encourage young parents to remember that they’re in control and they need to stand up, because parents around them aren’t going to. It’s going to get harder and harder.”
As a mom, I can tell you that Missy is 100% correct about parents giving their kids tech too young. Like it or not, tech is addictive! Science even says so at this point. One of my children is in a therapy program for some of his learning issues and kids who are in the program are limited to one hour of screen time per day. One of the #1 topics in the Facebook support group I am in with other parents whose kids are in this program is the TECH BATTLE. The SCREEN TIME battle. We’ve given them too much too soon, and especially for kids with certain issues, that addiction can be HARD to beat.
That, combined with the popular yet misguided notion that kids are entitled to privacy, can make things go down hill REALLY quickly where kids and tech are concerned. Robertson continues,
“There’s this misconception out there that children deserve privacy. That’s not true. They don’t have a right to privacy. They’ll have it when they grow up and move out. We have two boys that just left, but when they were in our house, they didn’t have the right to privacy. That’s why you’re the parent; not because you want to lord over them, but to protect them and you want what’s best for them, guiding them in situations they find themselves in.”
Photo: Missy Robertson on Instagram
My own fourteen-year-old son (not the one who is in therapy) recently got his first cell phone (a “dumb” phone, thankyouverymuch) and every night he plugs it in at a charging space in our dining room when he goes to bed. My husband and I check it a couple times a week, because MONITORING his interactions is our job as parents, NOT giving him his privacy. He knows that while he lives here (whether he’s paying for the phone or we are) that that is the way it goes. Even though he doesn’t have social media, he texts his friends A LOT – we’ve talked to him about how people often say things on text they wouldn’t say to someone’s face, and that alone is enough reason for us to check up on his interactions.
The bottom line, giving our kids and teens privacy is DANGEROUS, as is being their pal instead of their parent.
As Missy Robertson says of raising her three kids,
“We can walk in to their rooms at any time and ask for anything we want or anything we’re suspicious of. They might not like it, but they never balked at it because it’s just what happened in our house. Anything we thought needed adjusting in terms of attitude and behavior, that’s our right as parents. We’re losing that in culture, so we need to take control because we want our kids in Heaven. It’s not about this earth, it’s about preparing them for eternity.”
It’s really NOT about this earth, parents…but sometimes, we’ve got to do what’s inconvenient to protect our kids while we’re on it.
Thanks Missy, for being willing to say it out loud!