Large studies have been done showing the terrible damage done to our children from the Internet. I will not reference them here. Anyone can find them from a search engine. Some of the leaders in Hi-Tech are now forbidding their children and teens from unsupervised internet use and strictly limiting the time. There are two primary concerns.
The first is that the use of the Internet is addicting. This addiction actually alters the brain and limits the ability for normal human interactions. In this, it undercuts the ability for human intimacy. It also hinders the attention span for normal reading instead of quick snippets. As such it undercuts the development of the ability to weigh evidence and come to the truth on many subjects. The evidence of destructive brain alteration is now quite strong. The children become merely conditioned organisms.
The second reason is pornography. This also alters the brain and eventually makes true sexual intimacy impossible. Pornography works like heroin in this alteration. Since pornography is only a click away, most teens have or will access it; and many pre-teen children have accessed it as well. This is a far distance from my days in high school. A rare classmate would bring a black and white pornographic story with black and white pictures of intercourse. The cost was $10, a lot in those days. You could hardly see the black and white pictures but strained to see what they contained. Playboy pictures were bad, but not nearly so graphic.
How does this affect the children of disciples of Yeshua? There are several alarming effects. One is that it terribly dulls spiritual sensitivity. There is a loss of a desire for the truth or an ability to worship. The world is the internet and truth beyond it becomes irrelevant. Secondly, in some, there is a loss of interest in life. Gaining greater depth and appreciation of life through reading, art, great music, sports is abandoned. There is a decline in interest in general. In addition, the internet teaches our children to accept every bizarre approach to life, every kind of sexual orientation. The young person becomes disinterested so much of what gives joy to life. Sadly, the children of Yeshua/disciples are accessing pornography as well.
I plea for parents to take these radical steps.
- Either preclude all use of the internet or strictly limit it to times when you are there with the child. Make these times very limited if at all. Be especially careful that your children do not sneak and use your devices.
- If you buy your child a phone, buy one that has no internet access.
- If your children go to friends’ homes, only allow it if the parents will enforce your internet standards.
- Require your children to read books and continue this into teen years until they are drawn to reading. This will replace internet entertainment. Require them to report on them. Great stories, including biographies of great people including spiritual leaders, is key. Make a goal that your children will be readers.
- Do not let them play video games beyond strict limits.
- Take your children to hear great music, great musicals and more. Explain these art forms so they grow in appreciation.
- Have your children take music lessons and learn to play one or more instruments.
- Have your children participate in team sports. Relationships and comradery are great teachers. Learning the joy of victory and graciousness in defeat are great lessons. We call this sportsmanship.
- Take them to see sporting events and explain why sports are a great thing.
- Read the Bible together regularly. Have the children read. Read spiritual books together.
- Play old fashioned board games as a family where you interact together.
- Take hikes, camping trips and more to enjoy nature. Teach your children the wonders of nature, plants, animals, mountains, lakes, and seashores. Learn to use plant classification guides and bird guides.
- Of course, I assume that you are limiting your internet use to fruitful purposes.
If you have already lost your children to the internet, there is hope through prayer and the breaking through of the Holy Spirit. Take your children to meetings where there are miracles and the manifest presence of the Spirit so they can break the habit. This is the key. Seeing them born again and baptized in the Spirit can bring deliverance. It is never too late. Don’t give up. Pray, pray and pray some more. Fast and pray. You are fasting and praying for their deliverance.
If you have younger children, you can begin the disciplines above, some of which are greatly enjoyable when they acquire the taste. Actually the internet robs children from the joys of living. If you have seen the negative evidence in your older children, do not go down the same route that you allowed to your older children. Don’t allow the excuse that there is nothing to do. There is much to do in all the things I listed above.