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Smartphones, Tablets, and Christian Parenting

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Smartphones, Tablets, and Christian Parenting

I have lots to be grateful for, but one of my recurring thoughts of gratitude is also really sad. I am grateful to God that, as a Gen-Xer, I came of age right before the digital revolution.

That’s because I know that I would have been swept away in a world of temptation that I could not have handled. And I’m not sure what that would have done to me. I say this is sad because I know that my children’s generation, and every generation hereafter has to contend with temptations I didn’t know. As I think about this, I am increasingly perplexed by professing Christian families giving their children smartphones and tablets with unrestricted Internet access.

It’s not that we don’t have the data to know what happens when sexually-forming minds are exposed to pornography. And it’s not that we don’t know the kind of pull to temptation, especially among young males, that comes with the promise of sexual “fulfillment” with the illusion of anonymity. It’s not that we don’t know about the way unsavory characters use the Internet to troll for naïve children to exploit.

So why would you put your child in a situation of that sort of peril?

Given what we know about a.) sexually developing adolescents and pre-adolescents and b.) the Internet itself, it is impossible to rank unrestricted access to the World Wide Web in a category with allowing your child to watch television or to freely roam the neighborhood. It’s more akin to sending your adolescent son to a strip-club for the night because you trust him not to look up from his Bible, or allowing your adolescent daughter to grow marijuana in her room because she likes the bud as a decoration.

We ought to know better than this. By “we” I don’t mean that Christians ought to know better. It’s worse than that. We as human beings ought to know better. It doesn’t take the indwelling Holy Spirit to know that turning a teenager or pre-teen loose with unrestricted Internet access is insane.

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