In a world where teens spend more than 7 ½ hours a day in front of some kind of electronic stimuli—much of which is engaging more than one device at a time—how can a parent expect much more than a “Stepford child” for a teen?
The only problem is that too often the only things these “Stepford teens” actually do submit to are themselves, the electronics they are addicted to and perhaps the devil. Kids today are too often being parented by Hollywood, Madison Avenue, MTV, rock and rap stars, and other teens.
Because parents know that their kids are in the “safety” of their own homes and not out drugging and drinking and having sex, they feel a sense of security and peace about it all—just the way the devil wants them to feel. What parents often aren’t aware of is the degree of indoctrination going on in the minds of their kids via the internet, TV, cell phones, iPods, CD’s, videos and video games, etc. Parents couldn’t imagine that the sex and drugs and other deviant behaviors of so many other kids may have already taken place with their own kids before they got home from work. So, they wouldn’t connect the dots that when their kids aren’t being indoctrinated by Snoop Dog, Christina, Brittney, or Lindsey’s worldview in the privacy of their own bedrooms that they could possibly be planning their next encounter after school before mom and dad get home tomorrow. This plotting and planning is often done while dad is watching the news and mom is preparing dinner just down the hall.
Parents need to be advised that as our world changes into an overload of techno-sensory devices, they need to adjust their parenting tactics accordingly. There is no “safety” within the four walls of your own home anymore. Every bit of poison that used to be reserved for the seedy side of town can now be pumped into the privacy of your kids own bedroom and cell phone 24/7. The child can make a parent think it’s all very innocent, because at the quick inconspicuous click of a button the garbage can turn into a homework project or a Sunday school lesson before a parent’s eyes can reach the screen. Some kids can hold conversations with their parents two feet away while viewing porn or having a pornographic conversation of their own at the same time, and mom and dad will never know it. It happens all the time.
Parents need to set time limits and determine locations for media and technology use in and outside the home. Only about 14% of parents actually do this. This isn’t easy, but it is essential. One of the keys is to start this while the kids are young. Kids need to view media and technology as a privilege and not a right or a habit. Kids actually do well with boundaries. The problem is we usually start about 15 years and 150 pounds too late. Parents would be wise to say, “If I can’t hear and see it, neither can you, Junior.” If not properly monitored, media and technology encounters can become appetites; appetites can become habits; and habits can become addictions. I see it regularly.
If your kids are determined to thrash their minds, emotions, and spirits with garbage that other kids and adults expose them to at school, or in situations you have no control over; then at least they can never come back to you down the road and ask you why you didn’t attempt to intervene. You will always be able to stand before your kids and God and say that it didn’t happen on your watch!